Mitsubishi Pinin

Mitsubishi Pinin by Robert Mountjoy lr
Mitsubishi Pinin by Robert Mountjoy
 
By Tim Saunders
 
A Mitsubishi Pinin Elegance features in a new children’s book.

Bad Company - the Parrot Said written and illustrated by Robert Mountjoy features an illustration of his cherished off-roader. It is a traditional tale Robert has retold through rhyme and illustrated initially for his grandchildren.

The author bought the small off-roader brand new in 2001 because “I was doing a low mileage at the time and wanted a vehicle that could tow a boat and would cope with occasional off road use,” says Robert, who is also an established painter. “It’s also easy to park in town. It is still a joy to drive - it has the smoothest automatic gearbox and I believe it would climb trees if you asked it. I would certainly recommend it.”

It’s an extremely robust four wheel drive vehicle that is fitted with all the mod cons including electric mirrors and windows, power steering and air conditioning. There are even cup holders. Aside from being capable it is also safe, according to Robert. “I once had a near accident when someone pulled out in front of me on a country road. I was doing about 50mph at the time and despite hitting the breaks as hard as I could, piling into the side of the car seemed impossible. The car was fully loaded with passengers whose mouths were open and eyes popping as I careered towards them. But the anti lock breaking came to my rescue; I was able to steer around the back of the car by mounting the grass verge before dropping down on the side road behind the stationary car, pass behind it, up the verge again and bump back down on the road to continue my journey shaken but all in one piece. Looking in the rear view mirror one passenger had got out and was leaning against the side of the untouched car … she didn’t look that well. No other car I have ever driven would have survived that. It has remarkable breaking and suspension. I can’t really believe that I did that.” Robert’s three-door Mitsubishi is serviced regularly by his local garage and has never let him down. However, the built in sat nav screen has just started playing up “but apart from regular service replacements nothing else has ever gone wrong”. He believes his Pinin is worth about £1,000 and due to poor economy of 30mpg he drives a Toyota Yaris for his day to day work as an artist. The father of a friend of mine owned an early Pinin and used it for trekking across their 30 acres of land. I remember it being a typical well-built Mitsubishi that tackled anything that was thrown in its way be it up or downhill. I was envious of Tristan, who was only a few months older than me because he had learned to drive this vehicle aged just nine. There is limited boot space in the three-door version. “When it comes to the rough stuff, the multipurpose Shogun Pinin is a real RAV4 rival with proper 4x4 hardware including a low-ratio gearbox and a diff lock,” writes Parkers, the used car experts. “It’s not bad on-road either; small enough to weave through urban congestion, with a reasonably composed ride and good all-round visibility, but is left wanting at higher speeds. The Pinin tag refers to Pininfarina; the Italian design house that penned the shape, giving it a robust interior and chunky looks, despite the compact shape. Due to its need for plenty of revs, the Pinin can't really hack it as a tow car and struggles a little when pushed too hard. It is ideally suited to off-roading and more than capable at it, but you shouldn’t expect too much performance on motorways at high-speeds.”

Facts at a glance

New price range: £12,440 - £19,495

Used price range: £502 - £3,143

Engine: 1.8-litre petrol

Transmission: 5 speed manual

0-60mph: 9.9secs

Top speed: 104mph

Economy: 31mpg

Power: 118bhp

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