Used-car review: 1998-2001 Mitsubishi Adventure

One of the truly reliable AUVs from decades past
by Leandre Grecia | Mar 16, 2020
PHOTO: Ruth Veluz
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History

Before the advent of stylish and tech-loaded crossovers and midsize SUVs, Philippine roads were once dominated by the mighty Asian utility vehicle, or AUV for short. Our very own Niky Tamayo wrote a beautiful adieu to these models a few years ago, and it never fails to bring back a lot of good memories from decades past.

That said, while several nameplates from that segment have already faded into memory, there are some that still continue to roam our streets to this day. The legendary Mitsubishi Adventure is a primary example of that. It’s a pretty old model, but it’s easily one of the most dependable vehicles Mitsubishi has ever built.

Here in our market, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) ceased Adventure sales more than two years ago, but you can still see a handful of them around the nation’s capital on a daily basis, most of them functioning as public transport vehicles (PUV). The fact that it continues to be used as a PUV is a solid testament to just how much more practical and reliable of a vehicle it is compared to the other newer models in the Philippine automotive landscape.

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Decades after its arrival in our market, the Mitsubishi Adventure remains a viable option for those looking for a utilitarian people-hauler. The vehicle we have here, albeit with its fair share of aesthetic upgrades, is the first iteration of the Adventure in the Philippines. It was purchased back in 2000 and has already surpassed the 350,000km mark as of this writing. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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Value and costs

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This Mitsubishi Adventure Diesel Super Sport model was produced from 1997-1999 and shared the spot as the top-spec variant along with its petrol-powered AT sibling. At launch, the vehicle was priced at P720,000. The price tag may seem pretty hefty for the time, but take note that this is the top-of-the-line model we’re talking about. Now, two decades in, models like this one fall around the P235,000-P280,000 range on average. Of course, like all older vehicles, the car’s value can easily deviate from this price point depending on its condition.

Parts for this model are easy to come by, especially since there are still a number of Adventures plying our roads. This applies both inside and outside the capital, as the nameplate remains just as popular in the province as well.

Exterior and interior

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The Adventure’s design encapsulates the AUVs of its time, in that it has that rugged and boxy physique with minimal curves. The paint on this one sports the original two-tone colorway, but the blue-green finish has replaced the gray that came as the stock secondary color. The original 185/70 R14 wheels, on the other hand, have been swapped with limited-edition 195/65 R15 Rota alloys that were available with the 2011 Mitsubishi Adventure Grand Sport.

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On the inside of this unit are a few aftermarket upgrades, such as the steering wheel and the modern infotainment system. Everything else, however, has never been modified. The wood-like plastics that highlight the cabin are still there, and the fabric materials on the seats and side panels are just as old as the vehicle itself. Speaking of the seats, it’s worth noting that they are still comfortable cushions despite their age. Meanwhile, the A/C controls on both the front and the rear remain intact and operational.

Engine

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This Adventure is powered by the legendary 2.5-liter 4D56 diesel engine—the naturally aspirated kind. Turbocharged versions of the same engine can be found in other older Mitsubishi models like the Pajero, L200, and even the Montero Sport. For the Adventure, the 4D56 engine generates 83hp at 4,200rpm and 165Nm of torque at 2,500rpm, and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. At the time, a four-speed automatic was also available.

Driving impressions

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The Adventure isn’t as floaty as the other legendary AUV, the Isuzu Crosswind. It’s more planted to the ground and feels more agile. It won’t wow you with its maneuverability, but it is not too much of a chore to drive around the metro. It doesn’t offer the most comfortable ride in its class—especially when filled to the brim—but it makes up for it with a spacious cabin.

Of course, this thing can’t go from zero to 100kph in a jiffy like newer SUVs, but given time, it can still reach and maintain speeds even north of a hundred. The transmission still feels smooth and the clutch is easy to operate. All things considered, the throttle remains pretty responsive, too. As for fuel consumption, this Adventure still does 9-10km/L in the city and 13-14km/L on the highway. For a really old diesel engine, that’s not too shabby at all.

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Verdict

Even with a lot of miles under its belt, this Adventure is still a pretty reliable machine. It might not turn heads anymore like it did in its heyday (if it ever could, that is), and it won’t ever cure anyone’s need for speed, but the core traits that make the vehicle are ones that we Filipinos are always looking for. It has a spacious cabin that’s comfy enough for passengers or big enough to load some cargo. Most important, it has as an ultra-reliable engine that, when given tender care and proper maintenance, can easily stand the test of time.

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2000 Mitsubishi Adventure Super Sport Diesel

Sold: 1998-2001
Price new: P720,000
Price now: P235,000 to P280,000 (estimate)
Engine: 2.5-liter 4D56 diesel
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Power: 83hp @ 4,200rpm
Torque: 165Nm @ 2,500rpm
Economy: 9-10km/L (city); 13-14km/L (highway)

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PHOTO: Ruth Veluz
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