The "Starion" name is claimed to be a contraction of "Star of Orion." It was also widely believed that the Japanese intended the name to be "Stallion", but due to lack of "l" in Japanese, the name was spelled with "r" instead.
The Starion's appearance in 1982 occurred during a period in which a number of Japanese Grand Tourer (GT) sports cars were increasing in popularity. The Starion's turbocharged four-cylinder engine enabled it to be very competitive.
During production, the Starion was produced in both a narrowbody and widebody, in later years ('86.5-89). The design proved durable and few changes were made between models, with only simple improvements demarking the change from one model to the next. In the United States market, there was only one major change when the car was upgraded to the ESI-r (Conquest TSi) model; this model features an intercooler and five-bolt wheels, replacing the four-bolt wheels it had inherited from the rear wheel drive Mitsubishi Galant Lambda.