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A fan-tastic trip down memory lane

MY VERY first car was a Mitsubishi ... way back when they were cool.

Back in the 90s any self respecting wide boy got themselves tooled-up with a Mitsubishi Colt, or failing that a Honda Civic.

Throw in a decent stereo and a peroxide blonde on the passenger seat and you ruled the road.

The famous three diamond badge was so cool that a party pill was dedicated in its honour. But it all ended in tears, or at least mine did when my beloved Colt was nicked from outside my house, ironically while a house party was in full swing inside.

Devastating enough was the missing car, but I had an entire collection of Oakenfold CDs in the glovebox, which were probably immediately used as some kind of currency around Skanger Central.

And that was the problem with Mitsubishi Colts. Folk like me who liked to think they were cool and trendy (man), and people who liked to steal things loved the car in equal measures.

A little bit like Liverpool FC.

You are as likely to find a Liverpool supporter who will happily pick through the musings of Chomsky and discuss the merits of the Labour movement, as you are to find one climbing through you kitchen window at 4am with your favourite flatscreen under his arm.

Anyway as soon as the insurance came through and I got myself a more sober carriage, a VW Golf, and so my beloved Mitsubishi became a long and distant memory.

Many years later I still get a warm rush through the veins whenever I take a Mitsubishi out for a few days. And so last week I found myself behind the wheel of the Lancer.

Now, the first thing you’ve got to understand about the Lancer is that it will cost you €18k.

And ‘eighteen g’s’ for a family car, even if it’s being pulled by a two tone horse with a gypsy on the back is serious value for money.

For such a cheap motor the Lancer looks more up-market than you would think. It’s got a pretty cool nose up front, and a nice rear.

And then you step inside and things start to go a little downhill. The Mitsubishi is about as bog standard as they come, once behind the wheel – but don’t forget, it costs just €18k.

You see, my problems began as I drove off the forecourt and came to a halt for the first time.

As I met my first red light I brought the car to a standstill, only to be met with a roaring whirring sound, giving the impression that I was in a helicopter gunship over the Iraqi town of Tikrit.

The sound was the fan belt working overtime to cool down the rad, a noise I haven’t heard in a new car for years, and somewhat amusing.

Throughout the week I became used to the sound of a fan coming from the front of the car, and managed to turn up the stereo at the appropriate times.

Apart from that, the 1.5 litre engine performed ably on its 109 bhps, and that was completelyfine for such a reasonably priced car. Comfort was a little industrial though.

Look, the bottom line is that if you’re going out to buy a family car with €18k in your hand, you are getting a capable, stylish car, with a completely unremarkable performance.