MITSUBISHI STARION REVIEW

Ford Capri not your bag? Then what about a rival 1980s coupé from the land of the rising sun that offers power and reliability? We look at the pros and cons of owning a Mitsubishi Starion

The street racing scene as we know it was a long way off in the early 1980s, but the kind of turbocharged coupés that would give birth to scenes like those in The Fast and the Furious were beginning to rear their heads.

Mitsubishi’s Starion (reputedly an amalgamation of the phrase ‘Star of Orion’) was one of the first of a series of hot coupés to storm out of the Far East. Along with the Supras and RX-7s of its day, the Starion brought edgy styling and supercar-humbling performance to the table at a fraction of the cost. Decent examples are scarce in the UK, but if you can track one down, few classics can offer as much performance for such little outlay. 


VITAL STATISTICS

Mitsubishi Starion 2000 Turbo Widebody

Engine                                    1997cc/4-cyl/OHC 8-valve

Power (bhp@rpm)                  177bhp@6000rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 214lb ft@3500rpm

Top speed                                133mph

0-60mph                                   6.9sec

Consumption                            19mpg

Gearbox                                    5-speed manual


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

The Mitsubishi Starion came in both narrowbody and widebody guises, the latter giving the car more road presence and stability, but adding a slight weight penalty. Front spoilers are prone to scuffs and stonechips, or even being torn off completely, so pay extra attention here. 

The Starion is also susceptible to its fair share of rot, though thankfully corrosion seems to be limited to the obvious places. The rear arches and the sills are the most common problem points. 

RUNNING GEAR

Like the engine, the five-speed manual gearbox is no less reliable than you’d expect from a Mitsubishi. Cars sold in the US and Japan were available with a four-speed automatic unit and some of these made their way to the UK. Again, the self-shifter is robust enough as long as it’s been looked after and the fluid changed regularly. 

Watch out for a slipping clutch on the test drive. This is often a sign of hard use and, given the Starion’s rarity, most of us could do without the resultant hunt for replacement parts. 

BRAKES

 Ventilated discs all-round mean the Starion is far from short of stopping power, so be wary of anything that requires a lot of effort from
the middle pedal. Handbrake cables are notoriously prone to sticking, which isn’t a serious malady, but offers a good haggling point. 

INTERIOR

The calculator-style 1980s switchgear isn’t of the greatest quality, so try before you buy. Give everything a good prod for durability purposes and be sure to test anything and everything electrical (windows, blowers, etc.). 
Parts are neither the easiest nor the cheapest to come by, though the owners’ club forum is a good bet for sourcing rarer items. The leather seats are likely to have worn heavily on well-used or neglected cars, so you should budget accordingly for a re-trim.


OUR VERDICT

Brutally fast and with precise handling and impressive refinement for its era, the rear-wheel drive Starion is excellent value and an alternative choice of 1980s coupé. It has motor sport cred aplenty, too, having enjoyed success in the World Rally Championship, American endurance racing and more. We’d also wager that the Mitsubishi will fare better than its British rivals on the reliability front.  

Recently Added

Flavia 1Sponsored Ad
1970
£15,995
  • 80,778
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107884
A gorgeous original Flavia coupe, 4 speed, PAS, leather in classic colours.
13
01424 793 500
View details
Img 5283Sponsored Ad
1995
£69,995
Tornado
  • 3,824
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1098885
GT40 MK1 Gulf replica by Tornado sportscars
38
01992 827 157
View details
Img 4355Sponsored Ad
2002
£9,995
XJR
  • 62,387
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1107879
Jaguar XJR August 2002 '52' reg One of the last few built Anthracite Pearl with Oatmeal leather...
19
07845600278
View details
Jaguar e type xke v12 roadster maroon red 01Sponsored Ad
1973
€108,500
V12 roadster
  • 12,546
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107878
Jaguar E-type V12 roadster automatic LHD
28
+31 (0)26 442 99 37
View details
50791 1Sponsored Ad
1971
€9,900
  • 70,308
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107004
Lederen bekleding, Lichtmetalen velgen, Tochtraampjes, Toerenteller, Originele Datsun 240Z van bo...
49
0031 594 516604
View details
50790 1Sponsored Ad
1971
€12,900
  • 67,176
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107003
Getint glas, Lederen bekleding, Lichtmetalen velgen, Tochtraampjes, Toerenteller, Zeer vroege Dat...
73
0031 594 516604
View details
50789 1Sponsored Ad
2000
€10,900
  • 141,260
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107002
Airbag bestuurder, Anti Blokkeer Systeem, Anti Slip Control, Boordcomputer, Buitenspiegels elektr...
47
0031 594 516604
View details
50144 1Sponsored Ad
1973
€13,900
  • 98,025
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1106113
Getint glas, Lederen bekleding, Toerenteller, Wij importeerden deze Datsun 240Z rechtstreeks vanu...
99
0031 594 516604
View details
50142 1Sponsored Ad
2012
€5,900
  • 78,378
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1106281
Achterbank in delen neerklapbaar, Airbag bestuurder, Airco, Alarm klasse 1(startblokkering), Anti...
42
0031 594 516604
View details
50141 1Sponsored Ad
1973
€19,900
  • 53,232
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1106280
Blauwe Kentekenplaten, Tochtraampjes, Een legendarische klassieker deze Citroën Azu van bouwjaar ...
92
0031 594 516604
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale