The entry-level A-segment in South Africa is both hostile and cut-throat. Contenders doing battle in this volatile segment generally come heavily armed with standard features, improved quality and competitive pricing. That said, new contenders have lots of convincing to do to make a significant sales impact and the recently launched Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback aims to do just that.
Despite being marginally under-gunned in the power department when compared to similar competitors, the Mitsubishi Mirage still has lots of value to offer. I spent a week with the range-topping Mirage 1.2 GLS to see if it will stand the test of time in this competitive segment.
Fun to DriveFitted with a 5-speed manual gearbox, the Mitsubishi Mirage generates 57 kW of power and 100 Nm of torque from its 3-cylinder 1.2-litre MIVEC petrol engine. The Mirage wears these small numbers on its sleeve to deliver a fun and sprightly drive within the confines of the city. However, head out onto the highway and the Mirage's confidence starts to erode. The Mirage's suspension is softly sprung which translates into a bouncy ride on uneven sections with significant body roll and road noise becoming evident at highway speeds. Weighing only 825 kg, the Mirage is also easily blown around in typically strong Cape winter winds so you better have your wits about you when the weather turns nasty.
Despite these flaws, the Mitsubishi Mirage is responsive when driven with vigor and offers sufficient power for your everyday city commute and its 4.6m turning circle makes maneuvering easy. Perhaps the Mirage's strongest selling point is its fuel consumption with a claimed figure of 4.9-litres / 100km. My best driving efforts returned a combined fuel consumption figure of only 5.5-litres / 100km, which is pretty impressive. The Mitsubishi Mirage also delivers a throaty engine note when you floor the gas pedal, which should put a smile on your face.
This test model came packed with features, some of which including 15-inch alloy wheels, ABS with EBD, driver and passenger airbags, electric windows, Start button, air conditioning, climate control, USB port, a handy multi-information display, and the list goes on.
Neat and Functional InteriorStep inside the Mitsubishi Mirage and you are welcomed by a minimalist interior that's neat and easy to use. The leather steering wheel with mounted audio controls is tilt adjustable and the front seats are soft and comfortable but don't offer much lateral support. The rear bench is a bit harder on the buttocks and leg, shoulder and headroom could be problematic for taller passengers. The boot is on the small side, 235-litres, but the 60:40 split rear seats fold down to increase loading capacity.
The ECO light in the instrument cluster is a useful reminder to drive in a fuel efficient manner and there's ample space upfront for goodies in the glove-box, centre console and door panels. All factors considered, the Mitsubishi Mirage should be an easy car to live with on a daily basis.
Mitsubishi Mirage - VerdictLike most cars in this segment, the Mitsubishi Mirage has its flaws, but it's a pleasant little city car that will serve its owner well. The Mirage is built with city use in mind and will return excellent fuel economy day-in and day-out which makes it that much more attractive. A year's worth of comprehensive insurance is included in the price and should be taken seriously, you can save thousands. On the down side, the Mirage may be a bit pricey when compared to its direct competitors.
Second OpinionThe Mitsubishi Mirage seems to be a very late entrant to the market but it presents a decent offering. One year's insurance is not to be scoffed at either. You won't turn heads with the Mirage but its simplistic, no fuss build feels reassuringly sturdy. Ashley Oldfield
Mitsubishi Mirage - Price in South AfricaThe Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 GLS is priced at R144 900 while the base GL model is offered at R124 900. Alternatively, the mid-range Mirage GLX is priced at R134 900. All Mitsubishi Mirage models include a 3-year/ 100 000 km warranty and a 2-year/ 30 000 km service plan. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km, and don't forget about that one year's worth of insurance thrown in for free!
|Engine||1.2-litre 3-cylinder, 12-valve DOHC|
|Power||57 kW @ 6 000 rpm|
|Torque||100 Nm / 4000 rpm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||35-litres|
We Dislike - Bouncy ride - Body roll at higher speed - Road noise - A bit pricey