Almost cars returns with the help of the Mitsubishi Space Star I in the realm of budget cars. So, if you have less than 1000 euros in your pocket and want an exceptional daily driver, then it’s worth clicking on this article.
Mitsubishi Space Star I? What on earth is that? Why haven’t I heard of it, and why should I care?
Mitsubishi Space Star I has at least an interesting history. Launched in 1998 as a mini minivan, the first Space Star is a Mitsubishi built on a Volvo platform and uses Renault engines. Basically, a kind of Pitbull in its youth or a kind of Pitbull on a budget or a kind of Pitbull in its youth and on a budget, a Pitbull at 16 years old.
We are in a zoster zone… I mean, in a very interesting area of the automotive world, namely the realm of cheap and relatively good obscure cars. If you’ve heard of the Pajero Pinin, then you have some automotive inclinations, but the Mitsubishi Space Star I is as far away from regular people as Brian Johnson is from talking truth. We’re in that zone where cars like the first gen Ignis, Fiat Bravo, or the mk II Citroen C4 reside. Cars that no one knows about, and not much is known about their reliability. Although I can’t escape… I mean, I can’t escape the burning desire to compare the Mitsubishi Space Star I with the first Ignis or the Suzuki Wagon R, or both together. Although I’m not sure if they match because the Mitsubishi Space Star I belongs to the mini-minivan class, an automotive genre that was pretty much non-existent in Europe in 1998 because it started gaining traction with the arrival of the Meriva and B Max. In fact, that was Space Star’s competition – Meriva, B Max, Wagon R, probably the Renault Modus, and that’s about it.
However, it’s easy to see why a small-class minivan didn’t fare well in a world where you already had mid-size and large-class minivans like the Espace, Sharan, or Galaxy. Plus, it’s the ’90s, an era of excess, where a family car had to be at least a Disco or Patrol, although it was preferable to have something even larger. So, the Mitsubishi Space Star I didn’t find its place in that world. Mitsubishi Space Star I – the healthy food of the 2000s, it was good, it was cheap, and nobody was interested.
Mitsubishi Space Star I Engines
- 1.3 MPI 3A90 with 82 and 86 horsepower – Surprisingly reliable and powerful for the Space Star’s body, this engine only has issues with cold starts, usually caused by the fuel pump. And if it’s not the fuel pump, it’s the spark plugs. In any case, the total cost is around 10 pounds including labor, so you won’t break your bank account anytime soon.
- 1.6 MPI 4G92 with 98 horsepower – Probably the most balanced engine for the Space Star and overall reliable. Hydraulic lifters might wear, but that’s about it. The engine: 0 issues, 0 enthusiasm. If it were a character from The Matrix, it would take the blue pill and go on living life anonymously, working at a desk, with nobody knowing their name.
- 1.8 MPI 4G93 with 112 and 122 horsepower – The 112-horsepower version belongs to the 4G93 generation, just like the 1.6 MPI, and they’re both quite reliable engines. The 122-horsepower version is the famous Mitsubishi GDI (well, not that famous) which constantly gets dirty and needs an annual cleaning of the intake manifold and throttle body. Something you probably won’t do for a Space Star you bought for 600 euros.
- 1.9 DI-D F9Q with 102 and 115 horsepower – The first common-rail engine from the French, the F9Q was the village bicycle of the auto industry. Put in everything, from the Volvo V40 to the Nissan Primera to the Suzuki Vitara to the Renault Laguna, and somehow it ended up in the Mitsubishi Space Star. A sort of French 1.9 TDI and roughly the same age, this engine only occasionally has issues with the EGR valve. However, it’s aged, so issues can arise everywhere, although it’s unlikely to have this issue in a Space Star that’s driven only a few thousand kilometers a year.
Mitsubishi Space Star I General Issues
- Pay close attention to rust accumulating around the chassis, especially in the fron. That’s if you care about rust and don’t follow the classic “it runs as it is” approach.
- The petrol engines are old-school Japanese engines. This means a few things. First, the fuel economy is unimpressive. Then, these engines are high-revving, so if you constantly drive at 2000 RPM, you’ll feel like you’re not in a Space Star but in a Moulinex Maginix, only cheaper. Finally, there’s the appetite for oil, which these cars develop later in life.
Mitsubishi Space Star I Verdict
It’s a low-cost car in the mini-minivan category. Basically, it’s ideal for those who are 50+ and live in rural areas where neither money nor interest in car maintenance is impressive. It’s the kind of car that gets you around on the cheap, and that’s about it. Sure, there’s nothing spectacular about this car, but not all cars are meant to be spectacular. Some cars are like potato soup – they get the job done, and that’s it.
Which engines do I recommend? For gasoline, I think I’d go for the 1.6 MPI with 98 horsepower, and for diesel, clearly the 1.9 DI-D with 115 horsepower just because you can. I’d really like to see a Mitsubishi Space Star I with 115+ horsepower.