Top of page

HOME >  Corporate Info and IR >  Press Release >  Products



New regulation mini-cars from Mitsubishi Motors

5 October 1998, Tokyo

5 October 1998, Tokyo. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announces the introduction of a fully redesigned mini-car series that reflect the changes in regulations governing the category in Japan, which came into force on 1 October this year. Realizing major improvements in safety, in environmental acceptability and in occupant-friendliness, the new TOPPO BJ*1 and MINICA go on sale at Mitsubishi mini-car dealerships, and the PAJERO MINI at Galant dealerships throughout Japan on Monday 5 October.


In line with the revised mini-car regulations, the TOPPO BJ, MINICA and PAJERO MINI are all 100mm longer and 80mm wider, and use Mitsubishi's RISE*2 safety body. Safety features distinguishing the new models include conformity with the new Japanese legal requirements for 50km frontal and side impact occupant protection, and fuel spill prevention in the event of a rear-end collision. They offer omni-directional crash safety - offset, oblique and communication pole impacts included - to realize sub-compact levels of crash performance as required under JNCAP*3 and new European safety regulations.

The new models also offer significantly better environmental acceptability. All models, excluding turbocharged versions, are powered by a new member of Mitsubishi's innovative MVV leanburn engine series. This enables them to return better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than their predecessors, despite their larger body size. Features reflecting the company's Innovation in Motion corporate slogan include: the engine is tuned to deliver gutsy low-end torque for more relaxed and comfortable journeys, the use of a new Clean Air Filter and the anti-bacterial treatment of interior upholstery and trim to keep the interior fresh and clean, the use of more recycled materials to reduce environmental load.

The new Mitsubishi mini-car models represent outstanding value for money. The improved safety levels resulting from the new safety regulations, and the use of the MVV*4 engine make them much more competitive, while rationalization of the basic structure and other exhaustive cost reduction measures means Mitsubishi Motors is able to offer them at prices that are lower than for the series they replace.

*1 Big Joy
*2 Realized Impact Safety Evolution
*3 Japan New Car Assessment Program
*4 Mitsubishi Vertical Vortex


1. Conformity with revised regulations

(1) Better safety performance

  • In keeping with the revised safety regulations for mini-cars in Japan, the three new models are 100 mm longer and 80 mm wider than their predecessors, and use Mitsubishi's advanced RISE safety body. The crash energy-absorbing front and rear ends and the rigid passenger cell construction of the RISE body enables the new models to meet the new safety regulations for 50 km frontal and side crash occupant protection and for prevention of fuel spills in a rear end collision. Mitsubishi's RISE body also meets the JNCAP 55 km front, and the new European 56 km offset, crash requirements. With cabin deformation 40 percent less and occupant injury index 25% to 30% lower than in their predecessors, the new models offer sub-compact levels of safety.
  • Mitsubishi believes that vehicle safety starts with enabling the driver to constantly ascertain what is going on around his vehicle and with realizing a driving environment that facilitates operation of his vehicle. With a high-set eye point, extensive glazing area and large exterior mirrors, the new models provide outstanding visibility, and with a class-topping minimum turning radius of 4.4 m (4.8 m for PAJERO MINI) they offer excellent maneuverability.
  • A SRS airbag is standard on all models (available in van body types), providing the driver with supplementary protection in the event of an accident. This feature is also available for the front passenger on all models.
  • For improved vehicle control and obstacle avoidance capability under emergency braking, power assisted anti-lock braking is available on all models. (Power assist only on PAJERO MINI).
  • All models (van body types excluded) have rear seat belts that enable the secure location of a child safety seat. Power windows are fitted with Mitsubishi's anti-trapping device.

(2) Better environmental performance

  • With its ultra-low fuel consumption, the mini-car has always been environmentally friendly. Now, for the first time in the mini-car category, the new models feature the innovative MVV engine that realizes a 10 percent reduction in CO2 emissions over the previous series despite the increase in body size. To maximize the environmental benefit, the MVV engine is used to power all the new models, with the exception of turbocharged versions. The new leanburn engine offers outstanding cost performance and represents the ideal power unit for next-generation mini-cars. Applying the air-fuel mixture forming and combustion-control technology developed and honed in the Mitsubishi GDI ecology engine, the new MVV power unit employs a very simple design to realize stable leanburn combustion without requiring any add-on devices or equipment. The MVV engine also enables the new models to meet the low-emission vehicle levels specified by several metro-politan and prefectural authorities in Japan.
  • The new models incorporate a number of features designed to conserve natural resources and to improve recyclability. These include the use of recycled industrial materials in the head lining, carpets and air cleaner case, and the more extensive use of recyclable materials in the bumpers, interior trim and door handles.

(3) Occupant-friendly

  • The packaging design provides extended interior length and greater headroom to realize a more spacious and comfortable interior space, and make getting in and out easier.
  • The engine is tuned to generate ample low-end torque for strain-free and relaxed driving.
  • Other features enhancing occupant comfort include a new Clean Air Filter, as well as the anti-bacterial treatment of steering wheel, shift knob and other frequently handled areas in the interior.
  • For the first time in a mini-car, the new models feature Mitsubishi's Multi-mode Keyless Entry system that also enables remote operation of the power windows.
  • For improved maneuverability, engaging reverse gear causes the rear wiper to sweep two or three times, when set to intermittent operation, giving better visibility when reversing.
  • All models are fitted with an automatic headlamp-off system that turns the headlamps off 30 seconds after the driver has removed the ignition key, exited the car and closed the door.


  • The development theme for the TOPPO BJ was the creation of a "Simple-to-use, fun-for-all roomy wagon". It realizes outstanding levels of utility, as well as an open, airy and comfortable interior that encourages communication between members of the family, or friends.
  • In its packaging, TOPPO BJ features a door opening height of 1,520 mm, and a flat floor design for improved entry and egress. With the effective interior length stretched to the limit and with class-topping interior height, the living space offers roomy and comfortable accommodation for four adults. The high-set hip point helps provide excellent visibility in all directions.
  • The exterior design has been developed to a "Big cabin styling" theme, giving a visual foretaste of the spacious and comfortable interior. The long roof - short nose proportions and linear styling provide excellent visibility and realize an open, airy interior.
  • TOPPO BJ is offered with a choice of two power units: the 3G83 3-cylinder 12-valve SOHC unit, a new addition to Mitsubishi's innovative MVV leanburn engine family; or, the 4A30 4-cylinder 20-valve DOHC intercooler-turbocharged unit.
  • A choice to two transmissions is available: a new electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual. Both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models are offered, the latter employing Mitsubishi's proven lightweight and compact HCU (hydraulic coupling unit) full-time system.
  • The fully reclining front seats and reclining rear seats realize a comfortable living space. The split rear seatback enables a variety of luggage space configurations.
  • The reargate has an opening glass hatch, convenient for loading or unloading small items when shopping and other times.
  • Generous small item stowage is provided, with a total of 24 spaces that include a box set into the luggage compartment floor, a new overhead console-type tidy for sunglasses and expressway tickets, as well as door pockets, quarter pockets, cup holders.


  • The new MINICA has been developed to a "Simple-to-use basic sedan" theme. Priority was given to creating a vehicle that, offering outstanding economy and utility, is just right for commuting or for popping down to the shops.
  • The packaging realizes interior space on a par with a larger size category by increasing overall height to 1,510 mm and using chopped-tail styling.
  • The exterior design is basically linear in tone, with styling that injects a strong European flavor using the glassy look to project a "Chic and intellectual" image and accent the airy and open cabin.
  • All models in the new MINICA series, vans included, are powered by the new 3G83 MVV lean-burn unit, a 3-cylinder 12-valve SOHC engine.
  • Power is fed to the wheels by 3- or 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmissions. Both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models are offered, the latter employing Mitsubishi's lightweight and compact HCU full-time system.


  • The new PAJERO MINI has been developed to a "Fun-to-use mini-car with lively all-round performance" theme. The styling is designed to project a reassuring sense of stability, and on the move MINICA realizes outstanding handling stability and ride comfort.
  • The wheelbase has been extended by 80 mm, this giving better stability and an extra 60 mm of leg space that realizes a roomier interior. The 44-degree approach angle, 47-degree departure angle, 23-degree ramp break angle and minimum ground clearance of 195 mm make the new PAJERO MINI equally at home off tarmac as on.
  • While retaining the PAJERO styling identity, the extended wheelbase and wider track add a greater visual stability, and the heterogeneous twin-lens headlights and other styling elements add a quality, sporty dash to new model's sophisticated overall appearance.
  • PAJERO MINI is powered by the new 4A30 4-cylinder 16-valve SOHC MVV leanburn engine and 4A30 4-cylinder 20-valve DOHC intercooler-turbocharged engine.
  • Power is fed to the wheels either by a 5-speed manual gearbox or, for the first time in the PAJERO MINI, by a new electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic transmission that realizes enhanced levels of dynamic performance, economy and quietness.
  • Four-wheel drive models feature Mitsubishi's Easy Select all-wheel drive system that enables the driver to select two- or four-wheel drive modes, with high or low range, at the touch of a lever.
  • All models now have driver's seat height adjust, enabling smaller drivers to obtain the optimum driving position. Rear seat head restraints tilt down at the touch of a button, and the luggage space can be arranged in a number of configurations.
  • Standard on all models, compound lens exterior mirrors provide a more extensive field of view downwards for improved maneuverability and safety.
  • A 43-liter fuel tank and the 4-speed automatic transmission realize an extended cruising range for the new PAJERO MINI.

5. Special Versions


  • A derivative of the TOPPO BJ M trim level, (two- or four-wheel drive with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions), the TOPPO BJ Marble takes "A mother's tender love for her child" as its theme. Features exclusive to this designed-for-women-by-women version include: seat upholstery made of flame-retarding, anti-bacterial, odor-control cloth, step-free rear seat cushions, a baby-view mirror that lets the driver keep an eye on her child in the rear seat, baby car seat anchor points, water-repellent covers, curtains, a melodious audible alarm to warn when a door is not closed properly and its own interior color scheme.


  • This special version features a detachable-panel sun roof with a tilt-up wind deflector, enhancing further the open and airy feel to the PAJERO MINI interior. Available on all new models. Goes on sale on 3 November.

NEW REGULATION MINI-CARS: Principal Specifications

(Japan Spec.)

End of main body
Return to top of page