Garage & Gears '95, Television's Automotive Correspondent, Dale Ashmore.
Hello! And welcome to Garage & Gears. It's been 6 years since Mitsushita launched their luxury brand, Cordia and I must say we like them very much. They combined luxurious feature with Japanese reliability and also reasonable price. Their success have been so strong that established German manufacturers have been reconsidering their luxury market strategy. Cordia has to do something to stay ahead.
After shooking the market with the executive Nobile and the luxury compact Aspero. Cordia introduced the luxury coupe Spada to the US market in 1993. We raved about it a lot then. And for 1995 model year, Cordia has updated the car to be even more comfortable, luxurious and prestigious.
The first time we saw the Cordia Spada, we were in awe of it's looks. Introduced in 1991 as a Mitsushita Spada for Japanese market, it arrived on our shore as a Cordia in 1993.
Outside the car still have the same sleek and stylish body. It's definitely a Japanese design with it's simple, functional and very modern design. And it comes with pop up headlights, who could resist such a great feature?
It's the inside that's different for 1995. Cordia developed this great new entertainment system for the Spada. Featuring many watts and a lot of speakers. Making this leather clad interior a lot like your personal concert hall. There's option for both 2 seats and 4 seats available.
The ergonomics' great. It's expected from a Japanese company. The seats are electric with memory function, it's pretty much perfect for every drivers. The steering wheel also moves away making entrance very easy, and it's also electric adjustable. In fact, pretty much every single thing in this car is electric.
The engine's still the same one as before. The 25 model have a 2.5 litre Inline 6 engine. While our test car comes with 4.2 litre Inline 6 DOHC Mitsushita 4J-SS motor, producing 320hp. We still have no news of a V8 option. But we can confirm that it's already quite adequate with the 4J-SS motor. Coupled with 4 speed Automatic, 0-60mph is dealt with in 5.9 seconds, the top speed is limited to 149mph. There's also a 6 speed Manual option, the same transmission as on the hotter Turbocharged Mitsushita.
It might only be a 4 speed. But the endless torque and horsepower make sure that the Cordia Spada 42 won't feel slow. The engine also feels buttery smooth as an Inline 6 should be. 50-75mph overtake test is done in 3.3 seconds. Quite good for passing lesser, slower cars.
What's really important is the recently introduced Mitsushita Active Suspension. MAS as they call it. This highly advance technology use sensors and computers to detect and adjust the perfect ride for you. When you're going softly, the suspension is incredibly smooth, and yet when you drives like your hair is on fire, the suspension firms up making the ride very controlled.
It's benefit is clearly seen in the slalom test. With the car cornering incredibly flat. The steering is power assisted, and maybe lacking a bit in feel. But the car will make you turn with a lot of confidence and safety.
In the emergency manoeuvre test, the front end turns very well, and the back end follows very progressively. And as you can see, it corners very flat. But it doesn't feel like it could do that, the ride is very supple when you're not going like a maniac.
EPA rating is irrelevant, but if you so wish to know it's rated at 14 city 19 highway. We somehow average 20mpg on our 100km loop test, but that doesn't really matter in a car like this.
To conclude. We liked the previous Spada. And we like this MY1995 Spada very much. The old one's been a great reliable luxury coupe with potent punch and accommodating interior. This 1995 model with optional MAS suspension is the near perfect California cruiser. But if you wish to buy one with all the option as shown, you have to fork out $54,000! For a Japanese car! Is that worth it? Well, imagine if this has been badge as a Bavaria, I would imagine y'all would snapped them up very quickly.
As for it's rival, there's the Carlotta U140 Coupe which is a lot more expensive, but also a lot more luxurious, if such a thing is possible. It also comes with a V12 option, which is not an option for the Spada. Maybe it is too high a tier.
There's also the Bavaria UWOT31, a similarly sleek and stylish coupe. Also available as a V12, however no more powerful than the Cordia. It's a better drive, however. But also a lot more expensive.
Last but not least is the near 20 years old design, but still feel contemporary and very old world British luxury. Ocelot EXS-12. It's due to be replace soon, but it's still a characterful car that we like very much at Garage & Gears.
Incredible, isn't it? If you had tell an average joe in 1975 that in 20 years time you'd be able to spend 54 grands on a Japanese car, he'd laugh of as if it's a very dumb joke. Fast forward to today and not only that it's a reality, it's also the one worth experiencing.