1982 was a notable year for Mitsubishi; after the introduction of the Lancer Turbo, with its advanced engine technology, the company spread the turbo influence throughout its range, with Turbo versions of the Galant, Sapporo, and even the little Colt. Their final card was the Starion coupe, introduced - unusually for a Japanese car - at the Geneva Show. Family traits were shown by the wheelbase, which at 95.9 inches was similar to that of the Lancer, but the track was wider and the car could be viewed as a totally individual model. The car was of front-engine / rear-drive layout and the all-round independent suspension used MacPherson struts with coil springs at the front, located by transverse arms and trailing links, and a similar coil-spring/damper assembly at the rear with fabricated lower suspension members.
Gas-filled dampers and anti-roll bars were fitted both front and rear. Recirculating ball steering was employed, with a power option, and ventilated discs were standard all round. An optional extra was an ABS-type anti-lock system. The engine was Mitsubishi's well known four-cylinder with twin counter-rotating balance shafts, in its 1997 cc form. fuel injection was used, together with the company's own electronic control system which used ultrasonic waves to measure the incoming air. A knock-sensing device was also fitted. The engine produced 125 kW (170 hp) at 5500 rpm and 245 Nm (180 Ib-ft) of torque at 3500 rpm. Drive was through a five-speed manual box and a limited slip diff. was available as an option.
The body was a 2-door coupe with a hatch-back and folding rear seats. Some 174 innches long, it had the angularly sloping front end and retractable headlamps then fashionable on up-market Japanese sports coupes, and performance to match its racy looks - a top speed of 220 km/h (136 mph) and a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 7.6 sec. Equipment was very complete, with an adjustable steering column and seats which adjustted in no less than six different ways. The front seatbelts were mounted in a unique manner in the doors, improving access to the rear of the car, and trim throughout was very good, with leather seats.
Less than four years after its first apppearance, Toyota's first front-wheel drive car, the Tercel, took on a new shape. More than just the styling was transformed however, and excluding the engine this was a completely new car, built on more compact lines. Wheelbase was reduced by 2.75 inches to 95.7 inches, and overall length was 152.7 inches - down by 3.9 inches. Thanks to an increase in track, interior space was improved all round. Suspension was by MacPherson-type struts on all four wheels. The body had a plunging grille and headlamps reminiscent of the Carina allied to a four-door hatchback rear-end with six side windows.
The transversely mounted engine with gearbox underneath easily lent itself to modification to provide four-wheel drive. Externally, to Toyota designers gave the Tercel a higher roofline and a redesigned rear end carrying larger side windows and a fully opening, sill-less hatchback. Length of the vehicle was 11.4 inches longer at 164.1 inches but overall weight was only 33 Ibs greater at 2006 Ibs. Power came from a 1452-cc unit producing 52 kW (70 hp), which replaced the standard 1295cc 48kW (65-hp) engine. The drive went through a six-speed box equipped with a rear-facing coupling. The Tercel 4 x 4 made use of the standard front suspension of the sedan, and the rear suspension and axle mounted coil springs with four locating arms, a Panhard rod, and an anti-roll bar.
The transmission did not make use of the traditional transfer box, with high and low ratios, but was modelled on the lines of that used in the VW litis, a standard gearbox (five speeds in the case of the Tercel) with an additional extra-Iow ratio for use in diffficult conditions and only usable when four-wheel drive is engaged. The ratio was 4.714, compared to the 3.667 of the normal first gear. The Tercel could be used in two- or four-wheel drive at will, selection being made by means of a lever at the driver's side, but there was no provision made for locking the differentials. Capable of a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph). the Tercel was trimmed more for road comfort than cross-country efficiency, with comfort levels comparable with a family sedan. Power steering was fitted and there were such gadgets as an indicator to show the angle of slope being traversed, both fore-and-aft and side-to-side.