The new Carisma looks sharper, but it is still dull!

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK are now introducing the second generation of their European manufactured Carisma medium sector saloon and hatchback models. The new look models will be in dealer showrooms from the 1 August, well in time for the V registration plate change due from 1 September in the UK. The 2000 year Carisma model line-up has been substantially changed. It includes ABS braking as standard, air conditioning as standard on most models, a totally new interior design, significant changes in the uprated suspension and a wider front track A sharp new front end and softer rear significantly alters the shape of the car from every angle, but does not make it look exciting. Why do they not take a leaf from the understated, yet pretty Galant styling?

Life style names such as Classic, Equippe , Elegance and Sport replace specification letters such as GL/GLX/GLS. The second generation Carisma is on average 2.9% lower in price when compared specification to specification with the models they replace. Retail prices for the new second generation models start at just 12,995 (UK) and all models are backed by a 3-year Unlimited Mileage Warranty, 3-year Inter Euro Recovery Service and a 6-year Anti-corrosion Perforation Warranty.

The Carisma Range Engine Options
There is now a wider range of five-door hatchbacks and four-door saloon variants with 100bhp, 1.6-litre petrol, 90bhp, 1.9-litre turbo-diesel power and the revolutionary 125bhp 1.8-litre GDI petrol engine - the cutting edge of engine design technology, form the basis of the range with the direct injection petrol engine (GDI) being the most significant.

Depending upon which power mode a GDI engine is driven in, this Mitsubishi pioneered technology can give up to a 20 per cent saving in fuel consumption, a 10 per cent increase in power and up to a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases, when compared to a conventional 1.8-litre petrol engine. These are all manufacturer claims however. GDI direct injection petrol engine technology is certainly the flavour of the moment for automotive manufacturers around the world.

The Carisma was the first Mitsubishi model in Europe to incorporate GDI engine technology. The 1.8 GDI unit replaced Mitsubishi's conventional 1.8-litre MPI engine in 1997. Immediately, the GDI engine earned recognition for its contribution to the environment. Recently the Carisma 1.8 GDI scooped the Environmental Award in Fleet World magazine's annual industry awards for its clean running and low emissions.

Detailed Carisma GDI Engine Changes
In 2000 model year specification, the Carisma 1.8 GDI powerplant has also gone through an evolution process. To enhance fuel economy further, the compression ratio is lowered to 12.0:1 and an electronically controlled throttle body is used. This drive by wire technology ensures an ideal air-fuel mixture is maintained and the throttle response is immediate in whatever mode the engine is operating. It also allows cruise control to be used with a GDI engine for the first time.

Certain to be bought by fleet buyers with an environmental streak

All three engines in the Carisma range give above average fuel economy. The 1.6-litre MPI petrol engine returns 48.7 mpg , the frugal 1.9 Turbo Diesel 57.6 mpg and the 1.8 GDI 51.4 mpg, all over the Extra-Urban cycle.

The Range
The complete model line-up and their on-the-road prices are:

  • Carisma 1.6i 5-dr Manual: 12,995
  • Carisma 1.6 Classic 4/5-dr Manual: 13,995
  • Carisma 1.9 TD Classic 5-dr Manual: 14,695
  • Carisma 1.6 Equippe 4/5-dr Manual: 15,225 / Automatic: 16,205
  • Carisma 1.8 GDI Equippe 4/5-dr Manual: 15,955 / Automatic: 16,905
  • Carisma 1.9 TD Equippe 5-dr Manual: 15,955
  • Carisma 1.8 GDI Sport 5-dr Manual: 16,495
  • Carisma 1.8 GDI Elegance 5-dr Manual: 17,995 / Automatic: 18,945

Exterior Changes
Changes have been made to the front and rear end of the car to give it a sharper and more purposeful look. This includes the adoption of a chrome grille, revised clear headlights and indicators, a new bonnet line, plus black body side rubbing strips and a redesigned tail to include fresh rear tail- lights and a revised boot line incorporating a spoiler. New wheel trims and seven spoke 15 inch light alloy wheels (dependent on model) are also fitted. All 1.8-litre models now have 15 inch road wheels instead of the previous 14 inch size. A roof mounted flexible radio antenna is standard on all models too - praise the Lord!

Revised Interior
The interior of the new generation Carisma has been changed significantly and the high specification and trim is reflected in the four available levels. Common throughout all is two tone trim, new woven fabrics on the seats, with partial leather trim on Elegance models, and a soft-touch dashboard. Other detail touches, dependent on model, include the use of wood effects and leather and the inclusion of a six-way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar control. Three point seat belts are fitted to all five seats. Air conditioning is standard throughout the range with the exception of the entry-level 1.6i model, and a larger floor console box with a retractable armrest is fitted to Sport and Elegance models, while all benefit from improved oddment stowage space.

The 4-door Carisma

For security, the rear seats of the Saloon and Hatchback can be locked to secure the contents of the luggage area. A GDI 'Eco' light tells the driver when the engine is operating in ultra-lean combustion mode for minimum emissions and maximum fuel economy. The centre display console on petrol engine models houses an information system which tells the driver the vehicles average fuel consumption, average speed, outside temperature, radio data, date and time. This unit is also the information display for the air conditioning and navigation systems when fitted. (The navigation system costs 1,400!).

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