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Mitsubishi Chariot
Mitsubishi Expo (US)
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Also called Dodge Colt Vista Wagon
Hyundai Santamo
Kia Carstar
Mitsubishi Expo
Mitsubishi Nimbus
Mitsubishi Savrin
Mitsubishi Space Wagon
Plymouth Colt Vista Wagon
Production 1983–2003
Successor Mitsubishi Grandis
Class Compact MPV
Body style(s) 5-door minivan

The Mitsubishi Chariot, is a five door, five/seven seat compact MPV produced by Mitsubishi Motors of Japan from 1983 to 2003. It was based on the SSW concept car first exhibited at the 23rd Tokyo Motor Show in 1979,[1] and named for the battle chariots used during the times of the ancient Greek and Roman Empires.[2] Internationally, it has been sold under various names, including Mitsubishi Space Wagon, Mitsubishi Nimbus and Mitsubishi Expo. The Chariot has been sold as the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista Wagon captive imports in North America, and as the Eagle Vista Wagon in Canada, and has also been manufactured under license as the Hyundai Santamo, Kia Carstar, and Mitsubishi Savrin in Asia.

First generation (1983–1991)

First generation
Mitsubishi Space Wagon GLX (Germany)
Also called Mitsubishi Nimbus (Aus)
Mitsubishi Space Wagon
Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista
Eagle Vista Wagon (Canada)
Production 1983–1991
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan
Porirua, New Zealand
Layout Front engine,
front-/four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 1,597 cc G32B I4 (D02W)
1,755 cc G37B I4 (D05W)
1,795 cc G62B I4 (D03W)
1,997 cc G63B I4 (D08W)
1,795 cc D65T I4 turbodiesel (D09W)
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
5-speed manual

The first generation of Chariot (D0#W-series) was produced from February 1983 to May 1991 with a choice of SOHC straight-4 powerplants ranging from the 1.6-liter 4G32 to the 2.0-liter 4G63 petrol engines, or the 1.8 liter 4D65T turbodiesel (from October 1984), mated to a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission.[3]

The Chariot's wheelbase was 2,625 millimetres (103.3 in), while overall length ranged from 4,295–4,485 millimetres (169.1–176.6 in) depending on market and equipment level. From June 1984, a version with permanent four-wheel drive was also offered,[3] while Japanese customers could also get the 4G62T engine in the MR Turbo version from July 1983 until the 1987 model year (1,795 cc, 135 PS/99 kW at 5,800 rpm).[4] This version could reach 175 km/h (109 mph), and was also available with the 3-speed automatic.[5]

In Australia, where it was marketed as the "Nimbus", it won the 1984 Wheels Car of the Year award in its debut year.[6] The Nimbus model codes were "UA" (1984), "UB" (1986), and "UC" (1987).

A single 1.8-litre GLX version, with manual or automatic transmission was assembled from CKD kits in New Zealand by importer Todd Motors (later Mitsubishi NZ Ltd).[citation needed]

The rebadged Dodge and Plymouth Colt Vista, or in Canada, the Eagle Vista Wagon, were introduced in 1983 as a 1984 model. Slotted below the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager as Dodge/Plymouth's entry-level minivans, they were offered in North America until 1991. The Colt Vista was available with the 2.0-liter 4G63, producing 98 horsepower (73 kW) in US trim, and either front-wheel drive or permanent four-wheel drive. Top speed was 155 km/h (96 mph), 150 km/h (93 mph) for the 4WD.[7]

Second generation (UF; 1991–1997)

Second generation
1991-1994 Mitsubishi Chariot (Japan)
Also called Hyundai Santamo
Mitsubishi Expo
Mitsubishi Nimbus
Mitsubishi Space Wagon
Production 1991–1997
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan
Porirua, New Zealand
Layout Front engine,
front-/four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 1997 cc I4
2350 cc I4
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

The second generation, from 1991 to 1997, was enlarged in every dimension, offering a longer wheelbase, and greater length, width, and height. It retained the 4G63B engine, but phased out the 4G37B and replaced the old turbodiesel with a with a newer 1997 cc 4D68T powerplant, and in 1993 a 2350 cc 4G64 was added to the range. A five-speed manual, or four-speed auto could be specified, and in high-end models an INVECS electronically-controlled 4-speed auto with "fuzzy logic" was also available.

Again, from 1992, a single GLX model was assembled in New Zealand, with manual or automatic transmissions, at Mitsubishi's Porirua plant.[citation needed]

Third generation (UG; 1997–2003)

Third generation
2001-2002 Mitsubishi Nimbus (UG) GLX van (Australia)
Also called Mitsubishi Nimbus
Mitsubishi Space Wagon
Production 1997–2003
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan
Layout Front engine,
front-/four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 2972 cc V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed semi-automatic

The third and final generation was introduced on October 17, 1997,[2] and was larger and heavier again. It was now known in its home market as the Chariot Grandis, after the French grandiose, to emphasise the increase in the car's size and quality as it moved from a ladder frame to monocoque construction,[6] using the company's RISE safety body.[2] Mitsubishi discontinued all other straight-4 engines in favour of a single gasoline direct injection version of the 4G64, while introducing a new 2972 cc SOHC 6G72 V6 powerplant, also GDI-equipped. The INVECS-II four-speed semi-auto became the only transmission option.[2]

The Chariot Grandis was finally superseded by release of the Mitsubishi Grandis on May 14, 2003,[8] although production of the older vehicle continued until the following year for overseas markets.[9]

Production and sales

Year Production Sales
Domestic Export
1995 41,943 figures unavailable
1996 33,648
1997 59,448
1998 88,251
1999 63,010
2000 26,734 22,821 10,092
2001 15,907 10,472 7,018
2002 10,595 3,724 7,310
2003 4,043 49 4,536
2004 138 - 208

(Sources: Fact & Figures 2000, Fact & Figures 2005, Mitsubishi Motors website)


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Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
  1. "The 23rd Tokyo Motor Show". Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Mitsubishi Motors Launches Chariot Grandis New-generation SUV", Mitsubishi Motors press release, October 13, 1997
  3. 3.0 3.1 (2007) Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 11, '80s Japanese Cars (in Japanese). Tokyo: Nigensha, 216. ISBN 978-4-544-91018-6. 
  4. (1986) Auto Katalog 1987. Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG, 238–239. 
  5. (1985) World Cars 1985. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books, 361–362. ISBN 0-910714-17-7. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Nimbus 1984-2002", Bruce Newton,, May 10, 2005
  7. (1990) in Mastrostefano, Raffaele: Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1990 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A, 194. 
  8. "Mitsubishi Motors Releases New Grandis", Mitsubishi Motors press release, May 14, 2003
  9. Fact & Figures 2005, Mitsubishi Motors website