In 1983, Mitsubishi Motors Japan introduced a 5-door, five-seven seat compact MPV called the Mitsubishi Chariot. The Chariot was based on the SSW concept revealed for the first time in 1979 at the 23rd Tokyo Motor Show. The name of the vehicle is coined from the battle chariots used by the ancient Romans and Greeks. The Chariot was sold under different names in different countries like Mitsubishi Space Wagon, Mitsubishi Nimbus and Mitsubishi Expo. In North America, it was marketed as the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista Wagon, while it was sold as the Eagle Vista Wagon in Canada. The Chariot was manufactured under the license as the Hyundai/Galloper Santamo, Kia Carstar, and Mitsubishi Savrin in Asia.
First Generation (1983-1991)
In May 1983, the first generation Chariot (D0#W series) was introduced. It was powered by SOHC straight-4 powerplants, i.e. 1.6-L 4G32 to 2.0-L 4G63 engines. However, in October 1984, a 1.8-L 4D65T turbodiesel engine paired with a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission was added in the lineup.
As of external dimensions, the Chariot had a wheelbase of 2625 mm (103.3 inch) with a total length led between 4295 mm (169.1 inch) and 4485 mm (176.6 inch) based on the target market and specs used. A permanent 4-wheel drive was added in the lineup in 1984. The Japanese market also received its share of 4G62T engine in MR Turbo version in July 1983.
The Chariot was sold as Nimbus in Australia with model codes of UA (1984, UB (1986) and UC (1987). It was declared winner of 1984 Wheels Car of the Year award as well.
Second Generation (UF; 1991-1997)
In 1991, the second generation Chariot was launched with relatively larger size than its previous model. It had longer wheelbase, and enlarged length, width and height. The 4G63B continued to be used while 4G37B was dropped. Also, the new 1997 cc 4D68T engine used in place of previous turbodiesel. In 1993, a new 2350 cc 4G64 was also introduced. A 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission were the available options. The high end models received an INVECS electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic transmission with ‘fuzzy logic’.
The GLX model was manufactured with manual or automatic transmission at Mitsubishi Porirua plant situated in New Zealand from 1992.
Third Generation (UG; 1997-2003)
On October 17, 1997, the third generation of the Chariot was introduced as last generation. The third generation model was even larger and heavier than the second generation models. In the Japanese market, it was marketed as Chariot Grandis, taken from the French grandiose to emphasize the importance of the vehicle’s large size. The previous ladder frame of the car was now transformed into monocoque construction based on the Mitsubishi’s RISE safety body. A gasoline direct-injection 4G64 engine replaced all the previous straight-4 engines. The company also released a new 1972 cc SOHC 6G72 V6 powerplant equipped with GDI. The only transmission offered was the INVECS-II 4-speed semi-automatic.
The Mitsubishi Grandis replaced the Chariot Grandis on May 2003.