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Mitsubishi 380 VRX Sedan
  |  First Published: March 2006



The Mitsubishi 380 VRX is a sporty sedan with plenty of comfort and power. It also recently received an award as one of the top three large cars in Australia’s Best Car awards.

I was impressed with the 380’s refined appearance and performance. Smoothness seemed to prevail everywhere: smooth suspension, smooth five-speed automatic gearbox, smooth handling and smooth road holding.

Now for the big question – could it tow a boat? A 4.5-4.8m boat would be easy, with the car’s tow ratings for 570kg unbraked and 1600kg for a braked trailer. Using those specifications my 5.5m glass boat and 90 E-Tec on a braked trailer would be fine.

The amount of interior room within the 380 was surprising. All passengers have an ample amount of head and leg room. The boot is quite deep.

IMPRESSIVE LIST OF FEATURES

There are five models available in the 380 range. I reviewed the VRX, which is second from base and has been advertised as the sports model, but it certainly didn’t lack many of the features of its bigger brothers.

Standard features across the whole 380 range are: four air-bags, automatic climate control air conditioning for all passengers, ABS brakes, power windows, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, a 10 function trip computer and keyless entry amongst other features. Extra features offered for the VRX are tuned sports suspension, sports style bumpers and mesh grille, integrated fog lamps rear spoiler, the driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically, six disc CD (MP3), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Traction Control System, 17” 6 spoke alloy wheels and body hugging sports style seating.

The entire 380 range offers bluetooth connectivity for hands free operation of compatible mobile phones.

SNAPPY GEAR BOX

The test vehicle was fitted with a five-speed automatic gearbox (Invecs II Smart Logic) along with a sports style five-speed manual clutch free gearshift. This can be activated by simply flicking the selector to the left and shifting the lever forward or back to change gears.

With a boat on the back and a dodgy ramp to contend with it would be easy to select the chosen gear manually and then activate the VRX’s traction control system for the ramp.

The 380, powered by a 3.8L V6 SOHC 24 valve engine, is a well balanced and very capable vehicle. There is 175kW of power and 343Nm or torque on hand for towing.

Mitsubishi says that the 380 can do 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds and 80-100km/h in 2.8 seconds, which makes for snappy overtaking performance.

SPORTY HANDLING

The 380 is a front wheel drive so the engine’s weight is positioned directly over the front wheels offering improved tyre grip as the car is ‘pulled’ through a corner rather than being ‘pushed’. The 380s suspension set includes McPherson struts up front with multi-link low mount arrangement in the rear.

IN ALL

Test runs returned 11-11.5L per 100km with a mix of city and country driving. There is a five year/130,000km new vehicle warranty, 10 year/160,000km power train warranty and five year perforation corrosion warranty as well.

With a list of standard items that will impress, high comfort level, plenty of storage spaces and drink holders throughout the Mitsubishi 380 is sure to impress.

The Mitsubishi 380 is priced from around $34,500 for the base model and $38,500 for the VRX (prices exclude on-road costs, etc.).

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