Surely it’s the car most underrated by the market in recent times.
Born into a market already spurning large cars with their lust for increasingly expensive fuel, and where a haze of Holdens and Fords hangs thick, the Mitsubishi 380 failed to be the linchpin needed to secure local Mitsubishi production. For used buyers the reliable and refined 380 could be a bargain.
What you get
Weak resale values for Magna, the model the 380 replaced from October 2005, and high initial pricing of the newcomer worked against sales success.
But equipment levels were comprehensive across the range and included four airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), cruise control, multi-disc CD and climate control.
There were five specification levels initially in the sedan-only line-up, including the sporty VRX and range-topping GT. Minor refreshing of equipment and cosmetics in mid 2006 and 2007 are denoted respectively as Series I and II.
Most 380s have a V6 engine mated to the INVECS adaptive, sequential shift, five-speed auto, although a five-speed manual could be had in some models.
How it drives
The responsive 3.8-litre single overhead cam V6, with claimed outputs of 175 kW and 343 Nm, is a convincing performer with excellent driveability, thanks to strong mid-range torque. The engine’s smoothness combines well with the improved auto to produce a refined large car.
Sensible driving should yield respectable fuel economy compared with other large sedans.
The front-wheel-drive 380 has a solid feel on the road and admirably treads the tightrope of blending ride quality with poised handling. Sports versions get slightly firmer suspension tune.
With increased height, width and wheelbase compared with Magna, the cabin is spacious but doesn’t quite match Holden and Ford rivals.
Equipment omissions include a split-fold rear seat (ski-port only) and, on Series I and II base models, traction control.
Ergonomics and safety each take a blow courtesy of the tilt-only steering column and lack of dynamic stability control on any version. The diamond-brand’s big-car scores a four-star ANCAP crash rating.
With their good reliability record, buyers shouldn’t be entering a world of pain, but check for proper servicing including oil changes, and timing belt replacement when due in the 90,000 km service. Most used 380s should have the balance of a new car warranty.
Under the pump
The 380 will use between 8.0 litres and 13.1 litres of fuel every 100 km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.