If you are reading this piece, you likely saw the headline. And if you saw the headline, you likely scoffed at the absurdity of the notion that a carmaker would deliberately be making terrible cars. I did too, but after eliminating all the other options, I had to go with the only remaining one.
After all, there is no way that you can, in this day and age, come up with a range of cars that is consistently bad by accident. Even Nissan makes the GT-R. Ford makes the Mustang and its trucks, which are annoyingly good for trucks. Acura makes the NSX. Mitsubishi makes nothing. I can barely believe how uncompetitive its entire lineup is.
I actually wish they were worse, because I can easily talk about really terrible cars (I still vividly remember the appalling 2012 VW Beetle that is mercifully being killed off, or the awful Fiat 500X that tried to shatter my tailbone). But Mitsubishi does not have anything to talk about. The Beetle was heroically awful, with an interior full of cheap, smelly plastic and a strip of piano black plastic on the dashboard that burned your fingers in the summer. The Fiat had a jerky, stumbling transmission, a wheezy engine, a laughably stiff ride, and a rock-hard seat with a hump in the middle, digging into your rear end. Those cars were about as tolerable as being cemented into cinder blocks and thrown down a marble staircase. However, I would have them over any Mitsubishi, because Mitsubishis are dreary and drab and depressing.
Mitsubishis are astonishingly uncompelling, so much so that they make the Toyota Camry feel like a Lamborghini. The best thing I can say about a Mitsubishi is that I would rather ride cross-country in one than walk. Maybe. And when it comes to the hateful and borderline dangerous Mirage, I cannot even say that. What I can say definitively is that I would rather crawl everywhere than get there in a Mirage.
Mitsubishi sits in the world of cars like the Monkees sit in the world of rock music; like a really bad joke.
How the mighty have fallen: links to Doug DeMuro’s video for the brilliant 1990 Eclipse GSX and Mitsubishi’s webpage for the abominable new Eclipse Cross are above.
The sad part is, it wasn’t always this way. Mitsubishi used to make the Eclipse, and the Galant VR-4, and the Starion, and of course, the Evo. Now, they make some boring, ugly, and outdated crossovers and a modern day reinterpretation of the Geo Metro. And, Evo aside, every single Mitsubishi made in the 21st century has been so consistently bad that I really do think they could be doing it on purpose. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you think about it, it makes sense.
Many car buyers are not what you would call discerning customers. If it has four wheels, some bodywork, and does not spontaneously combust, they are happy. And if they have very low standards, there is simply no point spending lots of time and money trying to make a good car, when they will be just as happy with a bad one. All Mitsubishi had to do was make a “good enough” car, give it an attractive price, and make some ads to tell people it is “sporty”, and they will start flying off dealer lots, especially if they are crossovers.
Hyundai and Kia used to occupy this niche before they got good, and now Mitsubishi have taken over. And unfortunately, the strategy seems to work, so I cannot see them changing it any time soon.
Rory Cahill is a teenage car enthusiast who, apparently, is considered an influencer despite not being old enough to drive. GM has loaned him cars including a Cadillac CTS, a Chevy Corvette, and a Cadillac ATS-V. He also wrote this entire paragraph in the third person. The snob.