September 06, 2014 @ 05:33 PM

Mitsubishi Mirage - tree-huggers will love this car

Saving the world a litre at a time! By Jerrica Leong

Saving the world a litre at a time! Jerrica Leong.

The Mirage is Mitsubishi’s return into the B-Segment hatchback. It was marketed as an affordable entry car with focus on fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness. Mitsubishi did their best to stay true to their safety philosophy even with the low cost.

Surprisingly the exterior of the car is really solid and tough, despite its price. It sounded like substantial metal when you knock on it. I feel that the finishing could have been better, the gaps are glaring, the paint job looks a little unfinished around the corners of the rear door and the rubber strips along the side skirts are unevenly cut. You can even see right through the firewall when you open the glove compartment. But, really, should I be expecting more when the car costs only RM64,090 OTR without insurance?

I can’t help but feel that the Mirage was designed and aimed at ladies in their early 20s looking for their first car. The vanity mirror is only available in the driver’s side visor. There is space under the front seats for ladies to stow away handbags and laptops from prying eyes.

The test unit came with a Kenwood radio that blasts music from six speakers and glows in different colours even when in standby mode. It serves to liven up a mostly plain interior.

The ergonomics could be further refined. The steering wheel comes in between the air-conditioning vents and the driver. My fingers were nigh on catching frostbite before the car actually cooled. The front seatbelts are inconveniently out of reach, I had to twist and turn to reach and buckle the belt.

Despite the tiny size the interior space is impressive. It could easily fit five adults without needing them to, god forbid, squeeze. The drawback of prioritising on cabin space has unfortunately left the boot no bigger than a shoebox – it barely fits a large suitcase. So unless you’re a light packer, I wouldn’t recommend bringing the Mirage on long weekend trips.

The Mirage is incredibly fuel efficient. It is capable of doing 21km per litre of petrol. Admittedly, I don’t have the lightest foot but after three days the fuel gauge reads that I have only burnt less than half of the fuel tank. Unfortunately, being a fuel efficient car, don’t expect a good pickup. That saying, the car accelerates smoothly from say 60kph to 100kph on a highway. But if you are going from a standstill, expect a loud protest from the engine before the car spurts forward. This means you’re going to hate speed bumps until you get used to the car.

Another point to note is that the steering wheel requires you to muscle your way around corners. I tangled my arms a few times when driving around a parking lot and when making a U-turn. However, the adorable Mirage is easy on corners when going at a speed. It remained steady when I chucked it around the corner and passengers didn’t need to “brace themselves”.

A little caution when braking, the brakes did not bite as much as I would have liked. I later remembered that the Mirage only had two disc brakes in front and two drums in the rear, so the need to step harder on the brakes could be a characteristic of that. None the less, the car is equipped with ABS and EBD, perhaps we could ask for a change to solid disc brakes when the Mirage gets a face-lift?

The thousand dollar question when it comes to the Mirage is: should we expect more from it? The entry-level price is easy on the pockets, while the fuel-efficient factor meant that you wouldn’t need to cough out too much at the pumps, even though it is a let-down when it comes to the finishing.

For more pictures click here.

To the point
     Has a compact design yet so much space
     The colour choices. You can't be creative with it
   Verdict (3/5)
     You get what you pay for, a good alternative to buying local car

     RM64,090.65 (otr without insurance)
     1193cc, 3cyl, mivec, 76bhp@6000rpm, 100Nm@4000rpm
   On sale

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