Rare Rides: The Colt Vista from 1989 – a Handy Captive Import MPV

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A couple weeks ago we took a look at a tidy, light blue Nissan Stanza Wagon, which we determined was a very early example of the crossover breed that would heat up decades later. I can happily report the Stanza was quickly snapped up by an automotive enthusiast who plans to take good care of it. Since that little light blue square is off the market, I found a different vehicle of the same general purpose (and color).

Let’s trot on over and take a look at the Colt Vista.

The Dodge or Plymouth Colt Vista was a captive import at a time when Chrysler had substantial tie-ups with Mitsubishi. The little van-wagon wore many different names in North America, but between 1983 and 2003 it was always at heart a Mitsubishi.

Only the first generation, which stayed on our shores through 1991, wore the Colt badge individually. For 1992, the branding fun expanded. Mitsubishi had their version, the Expo LRV. Dodge called it the Colt Wagon, Plymouth added a Vista to that name, and Eagle had its own version — the Summit. It’s almost difficult to see exactly why such duplicity couldn’t last forever.

Assembled in Japan, this Colt came with a wide variety of available options. Like the Stanza Wagon, front- or four-wheel drive was on offer.

Power is provided here by a 2.0-liter inline-four producing (when new) 96 Colt-like horsepower, delivered to the front wheels through a three-speed automatic.

This particular example is fitted with seven seats, making it a full-on minivan. We’ve researched 0-60 times with seven American passengers on board. Sources say: maybe.

The interior is clean and tidy, and the added luxury touch of plastic tree across the dash cannot be ignored. Power mirrors have been provided, though power windows are lacking. This Colt does not appear to have A/C, so your arms will get used to winding those windows — just as well, as you can’t really afford the power sap air conditioning causes.

For sale at a dealer in the Seattle area, this clean Colt is asking $3,499. While the price sounds high, the Colt has just over 80,000 miles, and it’s almost a case of “Don’t like the price? Go find another one.”

Yes, it’s great.

[Images via seller]

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