Magna's new nip and tuck
2003 TL Magna: ES variant
Powered by 155kW and 163kW petrol engines
Sat Nav is available for those who want it
It's been on the cards for quite some time now, and finally
Mitsubishi has announced that its updated TL Magna and KL
Verada line-up will launch in early July.
In a similar evolution to the Commodore - from VX II to VY
- the new TL Magna has newly styled front and rear ends, a
smattering of mechanical changes and an upgraded interior.
But the first thing that most people will pick up on is the
Gone are the angular lines of the superceded model, replaced
by what Mitsubishi's new global head of design envisions as
the Mitsubishi corporate face, a style that will eventually
be part of every Mitsu that rolls off its numerous production
The new look was created by Frenchman and ex-Mercedes designer
Olivier Boulay, now in charge of making all Mitsus look pretty.
The frontal appearance of the Magna/Verada range has a distinctive
divided grille with a large chrome three diamonds symbol on
the front of the car, which can also be seen on the new turbocharged
Evo VIII sedan
and Colt (aka Mirage) small car.
When he first commenced work with Mitsubishi approximately
two years ago, Olivier Boulay said that his main thrust was
to make sure that anybody who looked in their rear view mirror
would know if a Mitsubishi was following them.
The new TL Magna has two design levels one for the
volume models and one for the more luxurious or sporty models.
Apart from the grille area, the front guards have a more
swoopy appearance, with much bigger and more recognisable
triangular headlamp assemblies.
The front bumper is a new design to fit in with the smooth,
flowing lines that continue through to include the side sills.
The triangular front light assemblies have a black background
for all Magna models and Verada GTVi, while Verada Ei and
Xi have chrome backgrounds to highlight their more prestigious
The frontal appearance of the sporty VR-X has a smooth, integrated,
but aggressive look only normally achieved in expensive European
While the rear hasn't been altered as much as the front end,
there is a newly designed bumper (including a unique, more
aggressive rear bumper for VR-X - more on this in future),
boot lid, and cleaner badging on all models.
The boot lid has adopted a smoother, flatter line than in
the past, and garnishes have also been changed to integrate
them better with the overall look. New light assemblies have
also been included into the rear design.
models get new wheel treatments: Magna ES has a new design
full-size wheel cover, while all other models have their own
uniquely designed alloy rims as standard. A 15-inch alloy
rim is optional on ES.
VR has its own 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheel, VR-X unique
17-inch five-spoke alloys, while Verada Ei and Xi have their
own distinctive 16-inch 10-spoke and 15-spoke alloys respectively.
Verada GTVi has carried over its 7-spoke alloy.
Speaking of the Magna ES, there are now new model designations
too. The aforementioned Magna ES is the entry model that replaces
the Executive, LS replaces Advance, VR replaces Sports, while
VR-X remains unchanged, as does Verada Ei and Xi. The sporty
Verada GTV is now called the Verada GTVi.
The new Magna/Verada range also benefits from a reinvigorated
interior: There has been considerable attention paid to the
centre console area, with a re-arrangement of the audio and
air conditioning controls.
New audio head units have been introduced into the range,
and climate control is now standard on all models. The controls
adopt the simple three-knob arrangement that was recently
introduced in the popular Pajero range.
The floor console has been redesigned and raised to accommodate
air conditioning ducting to the rear passenger compartment.
This has meant the redesign and relocation of the console
box, which now falls more easily to hand, and the relocation
of the power window switches to the centre console (except
in the case of all Veradas where they are still located on
the door pulls).
The console box has a number of new and innovative features
too. The underside of the box lid will take a small box of
tissues (a nod in the direction of the BA Falcon's tissue
box holder), while the box itself has a mobile phone pocket,
an accessory socket (to recharge mobile phones) and a compartment
to hold six CDs.
The instrument binnacle (speed/tach dials) also gets a facelift,
with black background, white markings and orange needles for
Magna ES and LS, white background with red markings and needles
for VR and VR-X, and high contrast meters for all Verada models.
Comfort hasn't been overlooked in the Magna's mid-life upgrade,
and as such a power driver's seat is now standard on all models,
which is quite something.
The TL Magna benefits from a number of safety upgrades as
well, which now sees all models meet the latest Offset Deformable
Barrier (ODB) and Dynamic Side Impact requirements. Front
driver's and passenger's air bags are standard, as are side
air bags, which are contained in the sides of the front seats.
The new Magna line-up, while slightly more expensive than
the superceded model, is extremely impressive, both in terms
of its new visage and standard features. One may even go as
far to say that Boulay's time at Mercedes (and in designing
the million dollar
Maybach) is having a favourable effect on the inspired
new Magna, particularly in terms of safety and comfort.
Furthermore, even the audio systems on all models have been
upgraded: ES, LS and VR get a security coded, high power (30W
X 4) electronic tune AM/FM radio, an independently adjustable
tone control, a single CD player and six speakers (in four
positions) for ES and eight speakers (in six positions) for
LS and VR. Telephone mute is also a feature.
Meanwhile, VR-X and all Verada models benefit from a rather
tasty premium sound system, incorporating a high power (35W
X 4) electronic tune AM/FM radio with a six-disc CD in-dash
stacker and 6-speaker front stage and 4-speaker rear stage
for a total of 10 speakers (in eight positions). Again, telephone
mute is also a feature.
Interestingly, while the wheelbase of the TL Magna hasn't
changed, rear legroom has been increased by way of reshaping
the rear of the front seats, the rear seat back and cushion,
as well as careful re-arrangement of the rear seat hip points
Moving onto the mechanical side of the new Magna/Verada range,
and the drive-train for all models remains largely unchanged,
which is no bad thing. The smooth and progressive 3.5-litre
single overhead camshaft, 24-valve V6 engine develops 155kW
of power at 5250rpm and 316Nm of torque at 4000rpm on Magna
ES, LS, Verada Ei and Verada Xi models.
Magna VR, VR-X and Verada GTVi get a more powerful engine
with a tuned exhaust note that develops 163kW of power at
5250rpm and 317Nm of torque at a higher 4500rpm.
Mitsubishi hasn't forgotten the LPG model either, with the
monofuel LPG engine available in ES and LS models. It delivers
maximum power of 143kW at 5000rpm and maximum torque of 296Nm
Although the drive-train remains unchanged, the driving enjoyment
has been enhanced with steering rack revisions, and spring
and damper rate changes in the suspension set up, combining
to provide more sporty ride and handling, but without sacrificing
the Magna's impressively compliant demeanour. Rear stabiliser
bars are now fitted to all sedan models as well.
At the end of the day, the superceded Magna was always a
solid buy in its own right, and now with the new features
and modern styling cues, perhaps buyers will show more enthusiasm
towards what is often the 'forgotten' Aussie large car.
The prospect of an AWD Australian-built large car is also
quite appealing, and it will be interesting to see how the
new 2003 TL Magna will be massaged to fit the 4WD underpinnings.
With its new global styling, and impressive list of standard
features on all models driver, passenger and side airbags;
power drivers seat, power windows; power steering; power
external mirrors; independent suspension; automatic air conditioning
with rear seat ducting; increased rear legroom the
2003 Magna represents solid value and should give the Falcon
and Commodore something to think about. It goes on sale in
early July, 2003.
Mono-LPG is $800 extra)
Mono-LPG is $800 extra)
new TL Magna and KL Verada 2WD variants go on sale in