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Mitsubishi motors into the mainstream with the Mirage

05.08.2014

IF YOU want to be a successful automotive manufacturer today, you need to cater for a variety of tastes and provide a variety of vehicles. We’ve seen several manufacturers step out of their comfort zones and produce vehicles in segments that are totally new for the brand. While Mitsubishi is no stranger to small cars, globally, they most certainly are, locally.

What is the Mirage?

Mitsubishi is known for its fast saloon cars (think Evo) and 4x4s (think Pajero) locally, so when it decided to bring in an entry level hatchback you know that the brand means business and wants to compete. The Mirage is Mitsubishi’s entrant to the ever-growing budget hatch segment.

What’s the competition like?

The little five-door Mirage is Mitsubishi’s answer to the Etios, Vivo, Figo, Alto, Brio, i10, Picanto, Micra and Sanderos of the world. The model line-up comprises three models which vary from basic, to more luxurious, depending on a buyer’s needs and budget.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Mirage is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder (MIVEC - DOHC) petrol engine, that produces 57kW/100Nm, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Claimed fuel economy is 4.9 litres/100km. Having driven the car around Johannesburg for a day I can report that apart from a slightly ponderous gearbox, the rest of the Mirage feels solid and that small motor pulls well. It is also light on fuel as my combined figure for the day was 5.7-litres/100km.

What’s it like in and out?

There are a few hard plastics here and there and a fairly basic radio set-up but overall the build quality is good and the interior design is modern. Due to its compact dimensions, designers have created a wedge-shaped car that means you get a roomy cabin in a segment where space normally comes at a premium. The exterior design is a bit Nissan Micra-ish; I also see the slightest hint of the brand’s older generation sports car, the Eclipse, in its front end.

How much will it cost me?

There are three variants on offer. The base model MIVEC GL retails for R124 900; the mid-range GLX comes in at R134 900 and the top-of-the-range, GLS variant, comes in at R144 900. These prices include 12 months comprehensive insurance coverage. The pricing is certainly competitive when looking at smaller competitors like the Brio, i10 and Picanto. For an additional R15 500, an accessory package can be fitted to any Mirage derivative which includes a cargo organiser, a centre arm rest console, front lower bumper garnish, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation and premium carpets.

What do I get for my money?

This little samurai comes with keyless entry, ABS brakes with EBD, dual airbags and what Mitsubishi calls, ‘RISE’ (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution), which is an impact-absorbing chassis structure. The new Mitsubishi Mirage will be backed by Mitsubishi Motors’ comprehensive three-year/100 000km warranty and a 2-year/ 30 000 km service plan.

Verdict

In such a populated and competitive segment, the little Mirage has its work cut out for it. We’ve seen consumer feedback reports stating that price, reputation, space and consumption are among the most important things when buying a car. The little Mirage ticks all these boxes but at the same time, so do its competitors.

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
05.08.2014
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