1993 Plymouth Colt Vista

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Vista by Lake Superior


Mar 95

Northern Lake Superior (as seen in photo), en route to
Winnipeg, Manitoba (Mar 95, the dead of winter)

Berea, Kentucky (2x)
Nashville, Tennessee (2x)
Stratford, Ontario (Peg's theatre trips)
Sep 97 Cape Breton & Halifax, Nova Scotia
Feb 00 Detroit to Nashville
Jul 00 Toronto, Ontario


Peg's car. Also badged as the Eagle Summit Wagon or, most accurately, the Mitsubishi Expo LRV (also the RVR in Japan). It's sorta cute, and there's not many on the road, so it's fairly unusual. Basically if you convert a subcompact economy car to a minivan, you get the Vista. This car was the replacement for the Bonnie (1980 Bonneville) when it was put to sleep in January, 1995.

I read in the paper once that the Eagle Summit Wagon had the second lowest vehicle theft rate in America, at least among new cars. Since this is really the same car, that explains why no one's really messed with it much, despite that it was parked on the street in Detroit for a year. They did eventually rip off the wheel covers once, but nothing else.

We finally decided to keep the Vista, since what we owed on it and what people wanted to offer for it were egregiously mis-matched. It's basically reliable, though, and now that it's paid off, we may as well keep it until it dies completely. Worst thing we've had to fix on it so far was the crankshaft damper, which separated from itself. Evidently a normal Mitsubishi failure. Still only cost $350 altogether. (Damper, belts, labor.)

Did I ever mention the first time I did the brakes? Nevermind how hard I had to kick the wheels to get them to break loose once the lug nuts were off, the damned rotors were completely fused to the hubs. Eventually a liberal application of heat from a Mapp gas torch (hotter than propane) and a big hammer got them off. Sadly, perhaps a year later, I'm having to do it again, since the front-right caliper basically seized up. I take full blame for that, but now I can't get the rotor off at all. So if you don't like frustration, don't replace the front rotors on your Vista.

January, 2001 — The transmission blew out again, about 70,000 miles after the first rebuild. The Vista was donated to the National Kidney Foundation, whih had it sold at auction. (Beats the scrap yard.) The transmission was always the weakest part of the car, and it was part of the reason I hope never to buy another automatic.


(click to enlarge)

I failed to get a shot with a serious trailer-load. Here it's about to haul the first Concours from the Florida panhandle back to Detroit.


Configuration Inline 4 cylinder, DOHC 4-valve, transversely mounted
Materials Iron block, aluminum head
Displacement 2.4 L
Power ~130 bhp
Torque ~135 lb-ft
Redline 6500 rpm
Transmission 4 speed automatic with overdrive. Flaky.
Wheels Steel, plastic 7-spoke covers
Tires Rubber, underinflated
Curb weight  
Fuel ~14 gal
Cargo Lots. Rear seat folds down, folds up, and/or comes out.
Zero to 60 mph Zippy for what it is
70-0 Not without vibration
Lateral grip None
Top speed 105 mph or better
Standing 1/4 mi Well enough if the transmission holds on


Car Talk

Anecdote about a previous generation Colt Vista.

Car Talk Crash test results, Hoo-ee!
Cars.com Read to the bottom: “I love this car, except the automatic transmission is a piece of crap.” My sentiments exactly.

le Bulletin

(Bad yet amusing Babelfish translation )

Finally, someone else utters Colt Vista, Nissan Axxess, and PT Cruiser in the same breath. (Third paragraph. It's French, but says, basically, that they fooled around with the Axxess and Colt Vista in the 80's without success. But now the PT Cruiser provides the same thing: small, holds a lot stuff or people, doesn't cost that much.)

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Last updated: 1 Feb 2001
Copyright 2001