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We first bought our Mitsubishi Space Wagon GLi - 2 litre petrol engine - in April 2002.
At the time, we had a Rover 214SLi which we were very happy with, but we took on a business as 'the bookman' - leaving sample books and gift items with offices, factories, schools, etc, for a week and collecting and supplying orders a week later. We needed something to carry a lot of stock.
First thought was, keep the Rover and buy a secondhand van. Then, we thought, insurance costs, two vehicles to tax, need to register for VAT to claim back on fuel for the van, etc. Too many downsides.
The company who were to supply our stock were pushing us to get started, so, as we looked around and our thoughts moved away from vans, by chance we saw this P reg Space Wagon on the forecourt of a Skoda dealer we knew and trusted. We did a good deal on the trade in and purchase and were pleased we had.
Not needing seven seats, we had the rear seats removed to give us substantial extra usable space. When we come to selling the vehicle, it just means replacing the seat and inserting two bolts, so no problems.
The Space Wagon doubled nicely as a workhorse for the business and as a very acceptable car for personal use, which, at that time included taking my elderly, disabled mother out for occasional rides. There was more than ample room to dump the wheelchair in the back. One of the first personal journeys was a long distance run to see my nephew graduate with his MPhys degree, over a hundred miles away on a July day.
After one ride, Mum had already decided the trip would be in our car, not my sister's Vectra. the high seats made it much easier for her to get in and out. Luckily, the day was not too hot, otherwise the lack of air conditioning would have been really serious for Mum. As it was, we made the journey both ways without problems - four of us in comfort and style.
After an unsuccessful year with the books company - that could be another story - we decided if we were not going to make much money from our stock, it would be stock we had chosen ourselves, not had dumped on us. So we now do craft fairs, indoor markets, boot sales and the like, which still means taking bulky stock around with us.
If you know the sort I mean, the car takes up to twenty collapsable boxes full of stock, with three tables a collapsable stand and a few odd boxes. Unloaded and spread out sideways the stock covers over 25 feet frontage at a boot sale.
The car was previously owned from new by a doctor and had the very low, genuine, mileage of 26,000. It now has over 53,000 and has never given any serious trouble. Twice we have had warning lights come up while running. The first time, it was just a short in the wiring and was fixed under warranty. The second time, we were travelling home from a market, forty miles from home, and had to call out our rescue service. The driver would not allow us to risk travelling with the light on, though he said probably no problem.
Next day, using the call-out service again, we got the go-ahead to drive to the nearest Mitsubishi dealer, who said there was a fault, but, as the light had gone off by then and the fault only involved something to do with the carburettor changing from electronic to mechanical control, no need to get it fixed unless the light came on and stayed on. It hasn't so far.
So, in all, a very reliable workhorse vehicle. Over and above this, compared with normal cars, the Space Wagon has the height and visibility advantages that all MPV's have. Comfort on a long run compares favourably.
The things I look for in a vehicle are, comfort, economy, reliability. I want to get from A to B without hassle, without breaking any speed records (maybe limits, but I shouldn't say that these days (-: ). Looks don't matter - it's not going to get cleaned very often, but I don't want rust.
The Space Wagon fills the bill on every count - have you ever seen even an old Space Wagon looking tatty?
I do have two criticisms. First is the driver's seat. Even on a comparatively low mileage, it is no longer as comfortable as it was when we first had it. I use a foam cushion and a back support, which solves the problem, but, maybe it shouldn't be necessary. This one feature drops my rating from five to four stars. Maybe newer versions have a better quality seat. Second is the turning circle - not good in tight situations.
If we weren't in the business we are in, we wouldn't keep the vehicle. Average fuel consumption is between 30-35mpg. Just for personal use, we would like 40mpg+. With a smaller vehicle, we would also pay less tax and insurance.
The Space Wagon experience has made us want to replace it - when we do - with another high vehicle. So much easier than saloons, hatch backs and estates. When it comes to replacement time, hopefully by then it will be for personal use only, we will certainly consider the Space Star (a five seater version of the Wagon) - we've been well impressed with our first taste of Mitsubishi quality.