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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's tough, comes in six- or seven-seat models, and has good standard kit

Against The interior is dull, the suspension struggles on rough surfaces, and fuel economy is poor

Verdict It's a comfortable family cruiser with good interior space, but lacks versatility

Go for… 2.4 petrol

Avoid… 2.0 petrol

Mitsubishi Space Wagon MPV
  • 1. The Space Wagon needs servicing every 9000 miles, which can make it costly to run
  • 2. Suspension damage is worth looking out for, given how firmly the Space Wagon rides down bumpy roads
  • 3. The brake booster unit on some early cars needed modification, so check that’s been done if you’re considering a '98-'99 model
  • 4. The quality of the interior is average in comparison to rival models, so look for broken switchgear and shabby upholstery
  • 5. Mounting the gearstick high on the centre console leaves room in the footwells for bags
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Mitsubishi Space Wagon MPV full review with expert trade views

Not to be confused with the Space Star or Space Runner, this is a proper people carrier, with the option of six or seven seats. The layout is either 2+2+2, with captain’s chairs throughout, or 2+2+3, with a bench across the back.

In or out of town, the MPV cruises happily along, making it a popular used choice for families wanting a budget runabout. The soft suspension makes it wallow about on rougher roads, and you’ll crash through potholes, but it can cope with fast, smooth trips comfortably. There’s a bit of wind and road noise at the motorway speed limit, but generally it’s a peaceful enough experience.

Excellent steering wheel and seat adjustment keep mum and dad happy, although the front chairs are a bit spongy and short of support. However, the dashboard layout is sensible, albeit very drab by modern standards, and the high-mounted gearstick gives room in the footwells for odds and ends.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Still has a strong following but feels dated now. 2.4 GDi thirsty

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

With no diesel engine, it's a choice between the 2.0-litre 134bhp and 2.4-litre 147bhp petrols. Both are fine performers, but the latter is more modern and refined, and it features Mitsubishi’s respected GDI direct injection technology. The older engine needs to be worked that bit harder to make decent progress.

Standard kit on all 2.0 Space Wagons is high, with even the basic GL getting power steering, twin front airbags, alloys, CD player, electric windows and mirrors. GLX adds air-conditioning, while GLS gets a sunroof and sidebags.

The 2.4 comes in Equippe trim, which had everything on it. All this is great for the used buyer – it means there’s no dodgy base model that should be avoided at all costs.

Source older examples from used car forecourts, while newer cars might still be in the approved used section of the franchised dealer network if you want extra peace of mind.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Has a following and best sold as 2.4 GLX or Equippe with air-con

James Ruppert
Used car guru

It may sound odd, but the Space Wagon is a desirable motor for families with three or more kids. That and its reliability have kept prices higher than average, and also means you shouldn’t lose a fortune if you keep it for a year or two and sell it on.

Poor fuel economy is one of the downsides. The 2.0-litre only returns 30mpg, while the more powerful car offers just under that. You’ll get slightly better figures out of a Ford Galaxy or Renault Espace.

Servicing could also be an issue, because the Space Wagon needs a check-up every 9000 miles, compared with 12,000 on the Ford. Insurance cover is either group 11 or 12, depending on which model you go for, which is perfectly reasonable.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Still has a strong following but feels dated now. 2.4 GDi thirsty

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

If there’s one thing you can say about Japanese cars, it’s that they are generally very reliable, and the Mitsubishi Space Wagon is no exception.

Mechanical gremlins are few and far between, although there were reports of petrol smells in the cabin because of leaky fuel tanks. The brake booster unit on some early cars requires modification to keep it working efficiently, so check that’s been done if you’re considering a '98-'99 model.

Both issues were the subject of manufacturer recalls in the UK, so ask the seller if the vehicle was affected. Splitting front brake hoses were also a fault on some cars, and it's worth looking out for suspension damage, given how firmly the Space Wagon can ride down bumpy roads.

Finally, look for broken switchgear and shabby upholstery caused by younger passengers who can’t sit still, as the quality of the interior is average in comparison to rivals'.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Has a following and best sold as 2.4 GLX or Equippe with air-con

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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