The Nimbus is a compact Multipurpose Vehicle of the Mitsubishi Chariot minivan product line. Though it may come in many names like the Mitsubishi Space Wagon, the Mitsubishi Expo, and the Dodge and Plymouth Vista Wagon in other areas around the world, the Nimbus nametag sits more at home with the Australian market. In its 20-year production life, the Nimbus has stayed through three generations (1983 to 1991, 1991 to 1997, and 1997 to 2003).
Performance-wise the Nimbus did not disappoint. It had been a go-to utility vehicle and relied-upon family car.
1st Generation 1983-1991 UA
The Nimbus debuted in 1983 as the Mitsubishi Chariot in the DOHW series, replacing the Mitsubishi Galant station wagon. It featured either a 1.6-litre 4G32 and a 2.0-litre 4G63 petrol engine or a 1.8-litre 4D65T turbo-diesel engine that came with either 5-speed or 3-speed automatic transmissions. The 1984 release came with two engine trims that sported a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine that put out 70kW of power and 140Nm of torque paired with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 3-speed automatic transmission.
The 1984 Nimbus ran on leaded petrol, but due to strict emission regulations, Mitsubishi released an unleaded petrol engine in 1985 that recorded a significant drop in power from 70kW to 62kW and in torque down to 130Nm. 1988 saw the release of the 2.0-litre version of the engine and an increase in torque to 156Nm.
In Australia, the Nimbus managed to snatch the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year award in its release year. Mitsubishi Australia adopted the following codes for the Nimbus per release year – UA for 1984, UB for 1986, and UC for 1987.
2nd Generation 1991 -1997 UF
The new generation of the Nimbus saw production in early 1991. With it came a design modification that lengthened and widened the exterior. The UF release also featured performance upgrades that included swapping off the G63B engine for the 4-cylinder 4G63 engine. The Nimbus also saw a new 4G64 engine introduced in 1993 that came coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed auto transmission. The new powertrain boosted power to a whopping 103kW and 200Nm of torque and increased engine capacity to 2.4 litres.
Concerning the body, Mitsubishi adopted the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ principle and decided to maintain the previous generation’s seating layout. This 7-seat configuration had solid bench seats in the second and third-row seats. It also allowed for the second and third-row seats to be split halfway across. The new generation came with minor upgrades like power mirrors and power windows.
The 1996 Nimbus featured a remote anti-theft alarm system and central locking for its steering wheel.
3rd Generation 1997-2003 UG
The third generation of the Mitsubishi Nimbus rolled out in 1997 October as the Nimbus GLX. It came out bigger and better with wider and slightly longer body dimensions. The GLX also saw a chassis change from the ladder frame to a Monique construction to improve load-carrying capability. It also sported Mitsubishi’s new Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution that boosted safety in the event of a collision. Performance-wise the Nimbus favoured a gasoline direct injection system to a straight-4 injection that came paired with the 4G64 and introduced a new SOHC 6G72 V6 powertrain. Sporting a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine paired with either 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox, the new generation Nimbus produced a maximum power of 96kW and 210Nm of torque and fuel consumption of 8.95L/100km.
In 1999, the new release came with a built-in trip computer, while the next-year model came with air conditioning. Consequent releases came with dual front airbags, an automatic climate control system, and an engine immobiliser.
The 2003 Nimbus release was the last one to roll out of production with Mitsubishi integrating it into the Grandis product line in May 2013.