Mitsubishi Cordia
1985 Mitsubishi Cordia (AB) GSL hatchback (2009-09-17).jpg
ManufacturerMitsubishi Motors
AssemblyJapan: Okazaki, Aichi (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
Body style3-door liftback coupé
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive
Front-engine, four-wheel-drive
RelatedMitsubishi Tredia
Mitsubishi Galant
Transmission2×4-speed Super Shift manual
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,445 mm (96.3 in)
Length4,275 mm (168.3 in)
Width1,660 mm (65.4 in)
Height1,320 mm (52.0 in)
Curb weight905–960 kg (1,995–2,116 lb)
PredecessorMitsubishi Lancer Celeste
SuccessorMitsubishi Eclipse

The Mitsubishi Cordia is a compact hatchback-coupé manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors between 1982 and 1990. Alongside the Tredia and Starion, the Cordia is one of the first cars imported and sold in the United States by Mitsubishi without the help of Chrysler Corporation, which owned a stake in Mitsubishi and sold its models as captive imports. The Cordia XP was the model sold at the Japanese Car Plaza retail chain, while the Cordia XG was sold at the Galant Shop chain. The Cordia XG model had a somewhat smaller front grille.

The Cordia was one of the first mass-market cars to offer an optional electronic instrument cluster using a liquid-crystal display (LCD).


Offered between the existing Mitsubishi Galant and Lancer models, the Cordia (along with the Tredia) used front-wheel drive and was similar in design to the Mirage, with the exception of its larger size. To further set the Cordia apart from its saloon counterpart, it received a deeper fascia which embraced the driver.[1]

Mitsubishi incorporated MacPherson strut/beam axle suspension, front disc brakes, manual or automatic transmission, and a choice of three engines: a 68 hp 1.4-litre, a 74–87 hp (55–65 kW) 1.6-litre, and a 112 hp (84 kW) turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. Some export markets also received a carb-fed 110 hp (82 kW) 1.6-litre. A US version of the 2.0-litre generated 88 hp for the 1984 model.

The cars received a mild facelift in 1983 and the option of four-wheel drive was offered in 1984. The engines were modified in 1985 to allow the cars to run on unleaded fuel with the introduction of a 1.8-litre engine in both 100 hp (75 kW) naturally aspirated and 135 hp (101 kW) turbocharged form. The Cordia sold in the United States throughout the 1988 model year. Japanese manufacture was discontinued in 1990.

The optional 8-speed Super Shift dual-mode manual gearbox
The optional 8-speed Super Shift dual-mode manual gearbox
1986 Cordia GSR 4WD (Japan)
1986 Cordia GSR 4WD (Japan)
The optional digital dashboard
The optional digital dashboard

In Australia, the Cordia AA series was released in late 1983. An update, titled AB Series, arrived with a different grille and other minor changes in 1984. The final AC model was upgraded to unleaded fuel in late 1985. Production ceased in 1988.[2] Two trim levels were available, the naturally aspirated 1.8-litre GSL and the turbocharged GSR.[3][4] The early (leaded) GSRs were fitted with 13-inch alloy wheels; unleaded cars came fitted with chrome alloy 14-inch wheels.[2] The 1800 Cordias were considered average performers in the Australian market, particularly the turbo, which produced a meagre 110 kW,[5] until both engines were modified to meet emission standards which markedly reduced the power of both the GSR and GSL. The GSR was trialled as a pursuit car by NSW Police, and later became an acceptable car with some enthusiasts.

Mitsubishi made an effort for the Cordia to compete with, most notably, the Toyota AE86 and the Nissan Silvia S12, by upgrading the old 1.6 motor to 1.8 models. The 1.8 remained underpowered as it was not a DOHC design. The somewhat awkwardly designed Cordia, Starion and Tredia fitted uncomfortably into a crowded Mitsubishi lineup which not only included the new, front-wheel-drive Lancer/Mirage saloons but also the old rear-wheel-drive Lancer EX and were never strong sellers, neither in Japan nor in most export markets due to their boxy and ungainly shape and strange handling characteristics, though people found the Cordia a very attractive design, but the US version had boxy bumpers. The only place where these cars met with limited success was in Australia and New Zealand due to lower buyer standards of performance.(Comment Australia had access to a wide range of performance models, and Australian buyers expected good performance. The success of the Cordia was based on its good performance for its cost, the much longer market acceptance of Japanese cars than in the US or Europe, the importance of reliability and good cooling systems capable of managing air-conditioning in high temperatures, and the importance of good handling on poor road surfaces. The Cordia proved to be a fast, comfortable car, and like most Mitsubishis, was reliable, handled well on poor roads, and had good ground clearance for a sports vehicle) .

In New Zealand the Cordia was assembled, with the Tredia that it is based on, first by Todd, and later by Mitsubishi New Zealand. The cars were imported as CKD kits and were built with about 41% local content including glass, upholstery, carpet, wiring harnesses and radiators. Both naturally aspirated engine models and turbocharged versions were made. NZ did not have an unleaded petrol version and when ULP was introduced in the nineties, the normal aspirated GSL ran on premium unleaded petrol without any modification.


  1. ^ Hartley, John (1982-06-05). "Putting on the pressure". Autocar. Vol. 156, no. 4459. IPC Business Press Ltd. p. 36.
  2. ^ a b Knowling, Michael (10 November 1998). "Pre-Owned Performance – Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo". AutoSpeed. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008.
  3. ^ "Mitsubishi Cordia". Unique Cars and Parts. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ Drach, Michael (1997). "Cordia Specifications". Cordia Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  5. ^