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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It has reliable mechanicals, good levels of standard equipment and plenty of storage

Against Ride and handling are poor, performance is sluggish and the car lacks versatility

Verdict It's acceptable as five-door hatchback, but it's certainly not a pleasure to drive

Go for… 1.8 petrol

Avoid… 1.9 diesel

Mitsubishi Space Star Hatchback
  • 1. Watch out for gaps in the service history, as the pricey maintenance can make owners ignore the official schedule, which may lead to problems
  • 2. Ask the seller whether the airbags have been checked before you buy a pre-2000 car; there was a known fault with one of the sensors
  • 3. The car's not very roomy and the suspension turrets intrude on the boot space
  • 4. The engines and transmission are all proven, and shouldn’t give much bother if they’ve been cared for properly
  • 5. Headroom is good and the rear bench slides to boost luggage or passenger space
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Mitsubishi Space Star Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Launched in 1998 on an S plate, the Space Star was officially on sale until 2005. It was never a popular choice in Britain, but that's hardly surprising.

On anything but the flattest road, the car gives an unpleasant ride. The roly-poly handling is very unsettling, while the steering is light and tells you nothing about what’s going on at the wheels.

Road rumble echoes round the cabin, and the tall and narrow shape creates wind noise, too. The engines get noisy once you pick up the pace, too, although they're fine at low speeds.

Overall, it's not that easy to get comfortable, as there’s limited adjustment to the driving position, but at least the simple instruments and high number of cubby holes are plus points. Headroom is good, too, and the rear bench slides to boost luggage or passenger space. However, the car's not very roomy in the first place, and the suspension turrets intrude on boot space.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Rare on the used market. 1.9 DiD models command highest prices

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

It’s rare to plug the entry-level engine, but that’s the case with the Space Star. The alternatives will cost you more and don’t offer any great benefit for the extra cash. The 84bhp 1.3-litre base car is flexible enough around town, but it will struggle at higher speeds, so the 1.6 and 1.8 are better for motorways, as is the 1.9-litre diesel.

The good news is that all versions come well equipped, with even the lowly Classic trim getting central locking, alloys, electric front windows and door mirrors, a sunroof and CD player. Equippe, which is called GLX on early examples, adds air-con, and S models get powered rear windows. Mirage trim, which includes twin front airbags as standard, was introduced in 2001.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Oddity that sells as a one off as 1.6 or 1.9DI Equippe

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Just because the driving experience is poor, don’t go thinking that anyone is going to be giving this car away. A limited supply, coupled with reliable mechanicals and solid build quality, mean strong prices in the used market place.

The cost of insurance, too, is at the upper end of the scale when compared with class rivals. The Space Star’s insurance ratings range from groups 7 to 10, depending on which model you decide to buy.

Main dealer servicing tends to be costly, too, so we’d advise you to stay away and find an independent garage specialising in Japanese models.

The 1.9-litre diesel engine offers the best fuel economy at a very respectable 51mpg, but the 1.3 car delivers a respectable 42mpg, although that will come down if you’re doing most of your miles round town.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Rare on the used market. 1.9 DiD models command highest prices

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Watch out for gaps in the vehicle's service history. If there’s one thing pricey maintenance always leads to it’s people neglecting to follow the manufacturer’s schedule properly.

Ask the seller whether the airbags have been checked before you buy a pre-2000 car; there was a known fault with one of the sensors, which could lead to the 'bag not deploying in the event of a smash. Have a good listen to the engine while it is running at high revs, too. These Mitsubishi units can sound coarse if they’ve been worked too hard and a rough one could mean that the car has been thrashed.

Beyond that, there’s really not much to worry about. The engines and transmission are all proven, and shouldn’t give much bother if they’ve been cared for properly.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Oddity that sells as a one off as 1.6 or 1.9DI Equippe

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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