QotW: What’s the greatest “green” JNC?


We’ve asked what the greatest shade of JNC green is, but not what the greatest “green” JNC is. Turbo straight sixes and V8s are sexy, but Earth Day is coming up this week so let’s limit this discussion cars with naturally aspirated engines of four-cylinder or less.

What’s the greatest “green” JNC?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?” 

1983 Mitsubishi Pajero Dakar 01

This week we saw an inspiring case made by Brad D for the box-type Lancer, pstar‘s rant about the Starion, and banpei‘s plea for the Galant Lambda. In the end, however, it was Adam Campbell‘s ode to the Pajero/Montero that won the day:

I have to say the Pajero/Montero, this is the Legend, the end all be all vehicle from Mitsubishi. The Lancer Evolution falls short of the Pajero’s success in the rally circuit and on top of that the Pajero changed the entire automotive industry AND the offroad racing world. Before the Pajero 4WD’s were slow and tractor like with really outdated suspension or weird attempts at IFS (independent front suspension) making them handle like shopping carts. The Pajero hit the ground running in the rally world and in the consumer markets, they were so solid and quiet and for a box on wheels handled more like a car than a truck. Eventually all the other automakers followed suit with a similar front suspension under the fronts of their trucks.
They came with turbo engine options, later a DOHC V6, ’98 got a GDI v6 and a MIVEC DOHC V6 in the Pajero Evolution. Mitsubishi has had a lot of really cool cars and trucks but nothing like the Pajero. Hopefully it will always be around in some form.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash


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18 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest “green” JNC?

  1. Randy says:

    That’s easy: Sprint/Swift/Metro 3-cylinder models (esp. the mpg models – XFi for ’89-’93, as I recall, and earlier, the Sprint Metro [’85-’87, maybe?]).

    With high-30’s mpg for most of them, and the possibility of significantly more (cracked 45mpg on a ’93 XFi), they save lots of gas – and money.

    Add to that, the reduced amounts of resources not needed because of the lack of need for parts replacement, and the materials savings of smaller parts, from the body pieces to the 12″ tires, and you have an all-around winner.

    I’ll probably get smoked by cars from other-than-USA, but at least here, that was it.

    It certainly didn’t hurt that “the pod” was fun, too.

  2. Kuroneko says:

    Curiously, they all are? It is sometimes thought the most efficient & environmentally sound vehicle (from Nippon or otherwise), is the one already in your garage or driveway. Provided an old car is kept in good running order, its total energy footprint is already lower than a new car. No mining, no fabrication, no injection molding suppliers, no production costs, no 1,000,000 shaft horsepower diesel shipping halfway across the world, no dealer storage, nothing.

    It’s like poooof! There’s an energy free made car already… Fuel is the easy part.

    • Randy says:

      And think of all the energy NOT used to make news parts when you go get them from the salvage yard!

      Or the energy not being used to crush them into beer cans and Volvos!

      I see claims about the “recyclable content” of cars, but how about the fact that as long as they haven’t rusted out/UV-decayed, MOST cars are pretty much totally recyclable?

    • Ant says:

      That’s not strictly true – the following study suggests that 75% of a car’s lifetime emissions pertain to its use, rather than its manufacture:


      Essentially, after a certain point it’s better to drive a car with low fuel consumption than one that’s been on the road for decades and supposedly worked off its manufacturing emissions. While it’s a lovely thought that a 40-year old vehicle is cleaner than driving a brand new one, it’s unfortunately not the case.

      However, it’s certainly better to keep an old car going in good working order than it is to scrap it in its prime.

      And not to beat about the bush, but I’d prefer to drive a cool old JNC *regardless* of its emissions or fuel consumption. We don’t need to make excuses claiming they’re greener – we should just enjoy them for their obvious entertainment value.

      • Kuroneko says:

        That’s some research paper! Thanks for the reference, and the summary. I would suppose the ratio of manufacturing emissions to consumption would depend on the size and materials.

        My original view came from a study based on a ten year old Golf, vs. a new Pious. The Pious being – at least according to one view – one of the most inefficient manufacturing ratio cars ever made. Something about the lithium battery manufacturing emissions being the worst part.

        • Randy says:

          Yeah, I read SOMEWHERE that the lithium is mined in one of the usually-in-civil-war countries in Africa, shipped to some processing facility in Canada, where the waste is so bad that NOTHING grows or lives there – to the point that NASA uses the area to test things that might go off-Earth. It’s supposedly THAT bad.

          From there, it gets shipped to China to be turned into batteries, then shipped to wherever it’s destined, to make people feel good about themselves, while they whine about the smoke from my burger grillin’.

          All-in-all, you’d have to drive the thing like, 500K before the environmental benefit outweighed it’s negative impact, “but it’s GREEEEEEEEEEENNNNNN!!!”

          I don’t remember the source of the article, but it stuck with me; I guess mostly because of the visual of the moon-scape bit.

          Now, where did I leave those tires and kerosene?

          • Ant says:

            Incidentally, the nickel processing facility in Canada (Sudbury, I believe) you mention is also a bit of an urban legend.

            The popular scorched-earth photo doing the rounds on the internet was taken in the 1970s. Since you’ll struggle to find a 1970 Toyota Prius, I think it’s safe to say that hybrids aren’t totally responsible for that one.

            Not least because the biggest proportion of nickel goes towards making… steel. People can make up their own minds on what cars are responsible for that one… (Clue: All of them).

          • Randy says:

            Fair enough, but even stripping that out, considering all the other factors, especially the halfway around the world twice, there’s a LOT of liquid fuel being used to not use liquid fuel.

        • Ant says:

          Lithium mining certainly isn’t pretty, though hybrids and EVs get a bad rap there too. Let’s just hope all those criticising them for such things aren’t doing so on smartphones or laptops, since vastly more lithium mining goes on to supply the consumer electronics industry than it does for the relatively small number of electrified vehicles!

          • Randy says:

            Well, just for disclosure: I don’t even have a smartphone; I get a phone when the old one dies, and I’m on my second PC (desktop) since 2001. How’s THAT for conserving resources? 🙂

            Not directed at anyone here, ’cause everyone’s way polite, but I gotta say that when I see these protests on the news, I always find it amusing that those who criticize industrialization would rather lose an arm than give up their i-whatever. No oil in the manufacture and transportation of THAT, right?

            I’m all for industry, btw. It’s industry and manufacturing that allows the western lifestyle. I personally don’t know anyone who wants to give that up and live in the 19th century… Or in the equivalent of Ethiopia.

            I want to see ALL forms of fuel; oil, alcohol, solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, bio, geothermal, and whatever else you can think of. I also don’t have any illusions about the fuel/energy required to make something that saves fuel/energy.

            I find being a cheap S.O.B. is often the “greenest” answer.

  3. Dylan says:

    If by green you mean fuel efficient; I’d have to go with the Honda CRX. The HF (High Fuel economy) model delivered around 40 mpg city and over 50 (some even report over 70) mpg on the highway decades before diesels and hybrids got popular. Even the high performance Si made around 30 city/35 highway. Not to mention its all around sportiness coupled with Honda’s legendary reliability.

  4. Len Kruwel says:

    Insofar as Green, I see three paradigm-shifters, each of which would represent a generation:
    I would go back to the 1975 Honda Civic CVCC. That was the car that put Detroit on notice that their resistance (to emissions standards) was futile in light of the emergence of Japanese Engineering prowess.
    The only other true paradigm changers, (as opposed to downsized standard tech like Geo Metro 3-bangers, or CRX-HF), would be the original Prius, and lastly the Nissan Leaf.

    Hmmm. 1 each for the Biggu-San (“Big Three” in Japanese?)

  5. Mike McCarthy says:

    CRX HF hands down. I’ve owned 3 geo metros… they just don’t feel like a real car.
    there is no greater economy/green car IMO. They still look so sporty that you won’t feel like a dweeb driving it. I’d have to nominate the original honda insight as a close 2nd place.

  6. Adam Campbell says:

    What about the Mitsubishi Lancer with the 8 speed transmission? it was advertised as 47MPG highway. It was sold here as the Dodge Colt Milage maker.

    Neat little advertisement from way back

    • Randy says:

      So if it ran on unleaded or regular, it had no cats? Huh… I thought they were required on EVERYTHING post-’74…

      Learn something new every day!

  7. Adam Campbell says:

    They also came in a really neat sparkle green color!

  8. Pedro giron says:

    The honda civic cvcc It was green before it was cool . It wasn’t what you wanted. it was what you need it . It has no catalytic converter . It raised the bar and sit new goals for cars around the world .

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