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Mitsubishi Verada GVTi 2005 Review

What sounds and looks like some hoon act on a suburban Saturday night is an extended test session in one of the engine dyno rooms at Mitsubishi's Clovelly Park factory.

Destruction testing of a production engine involves holding it at full revs in a sound-proofed room for hours, sometimes days. As the engine guzzles thousands of dollars of fuel, it is run with various levels and quality of coolant and oil to determine what would happen if it was abused by a careless owner.

The controlled violence of this test bed seems a long way from the unassuming demeanour being displayed by the classy Verada GTVi I'm driving along a Hills valley.

Relaxed in a leather trimmed seat, surrounded by elegant touches of chrome, the biggest decision is which CD to play on the premium sound system. The car responds delicately to steering inputs. It doesn't need much driver input. But this is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Take it out of auto drive, lock it into one of the lower gears, sink your right foot and you unleash a bit of a beast. The V6 engine is a willing revver, while the all-wheel drive makes the Verada cut through corners like a slot car.

With the sunroof open, the experience is enhanced as the off-beat exhaust note carries strongly into the cabin.

Back in the suburbs, the Verada melds into the crowd, its unspectacular styling making it what '50s hotrodders used to call a "street sleeper".

The Verada GTVi has a recommended retail price of $47,490, with the sunroof fitted to the test vehicle adding another $2000.

The V6 engine displaces 3497cc and is a belt-driven overhead cam design with four-valve heads. It has a cast-iron cylinder block with aluminium alloy heads. Maximum power of 155kW arrives at 5250rpm with peak torque of 316Nm at 4000rpm. The power-assisted steering operation gives an 11.2m turning circle with three turns of the steering wheel from lock to lock.

A five-speed automatic gearbox is electronically controlled with a sequential shift control option.

The Verada is in constant four-wheel drive with transfer through a centre diff.

Front suspension is independent, MacPherson struts, with lower A-arms, coil springs, gas dampers and jointed anti-roll bar.

Rear suspension is also independent, with multiple links, steel upper A-arms, steel dual lower transverse I-arms and a steel sub-frame. Damper units are coil spring/gas dampers and there is a jointed anti-roll bar. Brakes run ventilated discs on all alloy, 16in wheels.

The Verada is a class act. The fit and finish is superb and the paintwork as unblemished as a luxury Euro.

The all-wheel drive combines with a firm but well dampened suspension to keep the Verada sitting flat in turns. Not only does this aid safe handling but makes the Verada a comfortable car for rear-seat passengers.

The AWD system adds another 100kg of weight and means the Verada is not the fastest accelerating car around. But the 155kW motor and excellent five-speed auto hauls this 1700kg vehicle around quite briskly. The rally-developed AWD system gives this model a safety advantage on greasy, wet or dusty surfaces, as well as helping get all the power to the ground efficiently.

Nail it hard in first gear and for a split second the car threatens to rear up out of the tarmac before the AWD tames the power input. It's quite exhilarating.

The same can't be said about some styling aspects.

While the rear of the car is quite shapely in an understated way, the front looks slightly out of proportion to the rest of the vehicle. The swooping front nose design is common across a range of Mitsubishi models.

It works well on the smaller vehicles, like the Colt and Lancer, but I don't think it quite suits the larger Verada.

Pity, because that is the only complaint I have about this model. The luxury Verada is one of the most fun cars I've driven recently and one of the best performing.

And there is a certain pride factor in knowing it was built and destruction-tested in my hometown.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

Ei 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,060 – 7,480 2005 Mitsubishi Verada 2005 Ei Pricing and Specs
GTVi AWD 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,830 – 8,250 2005 Mitsubishi Verada 2005 GTVi AWD Pricing and Specs
Xi 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,610 – 7,920 2005 Mitsubishi Verada 2005 Xi Pricing and Specs
Ei 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,610 – 7,920 2005 Mitsubishi Verada 2005 Ei Pricing and Specs