Mitsubishi Sigma

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Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Sigma

1977 - 1983
Country:
Japan
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
2555 cc
Power:
73 kW
Transmission:
3 spd. auto. Optional 5 spd. man.
Top Speed:
163 km/h
Number Built:
n/a
Collectability:
1 star
Mitsubishi Sigma
At its introduction in late 1977 the Sigma was the same car as that was made and sold in Japan, but attention to customer feedback enabled Mitsubishi to tailor the Sigma for local conditions. Inside and out, the range underwent significant improvement over the years.

But it was the 4th generation model released in 1980 that represented the most significant improvements for Australian conditions – it even taking out the Car of the Year award in New Zealand.

The basic model was the 1.6-liter Sigma, then the GL and SE which came fitted with a 2.0 liter Astron and the optional 2.6 liter. There was also a five-speed manual version of the 2.6 liter available. Outside there was a new black plastic grille, and Falcon-style bumpers, Scorpion-style dual quartz halogen rectangular headlights, and new tail lights provided a more aggressive and upmarket look.

Changes to the sheet metal gave the car a 'flat-nose' look. Inside, square dials replaced the previous models round ones, and the dashboards were color-coded. The top of the line SE now also featured a digital clock, stereo tape deck, and a fuel-pacer light on the bonnet as standard.

One of the most common complaints about the earlier Sigmas was directed at the handling and steering response. A major rebuild of the steering box has reduced by 35 per cent the amount of steering-wheel movement required for any manoeuvre. Sloppiness had finally been eradicated, but unfortunately so was any real feel for the road; however, it is an acceptable compromise.

The front and rear springs were variable rate; that is, in driver only situations the springs were softer than on previous models while under load the spring rate increased and stiffened up the ride. This also helped reduce front-end dive under heavy braking.

A substantial increase in pad area and disc diameter has likewise improved the braking; and economy was further enhanced by changed differential ratios and a taller wheel-tyre combination.

Some of the changes could be questioned on grounds of taste, such as the square dials or the thin steering wheel, but there was indeed little argument from the consumers. Ultimately it was the 4th generation Sigma that was thoroughly sorted for Australian conditions, and this made it a much better car than its predecessors.

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