Mitsubishi Mirage review
The new Mitsubishi Mirage is efficient and well-equipped, but suffers from flawed handling and low rent interior
The Mitsubishi Mirage is an efficient supermini that 's designed to rival value-for-money city cars and superminis such as the Dacia Sandero, Kia Rio and Fiat Panda. It comes well-equipped and is available with a choice of 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, both of which emit less than 100g/km of CO2. However, the Mirage isn't without flaws. The vague steering and poor handling place it at the bottom of the class for driving dynamics, while the interior looks and feels cheap. It's also quite expensive to buy and lacks the refinement and practicality of the best cars in the class.
Our choice: Mirage 1.2-litre '2'
The Mitsubishi Mirage replaces the Colt in the Mitsubishi line-up, and dispenses with the old car's upright design in favour of something more rounded. Yet while the slippery shape delivers a class-leading drag coefficient of 0.27Cd, it lacks the stylish and modern looks of the Kia Picanto. All versions get colour coded bumpers and door handles and a sporty tailgate spoiler, while the range-topping '3' adds 14-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps. The generous specification continues inside, where you'll find electric windows, a USB connection and a simple trip computer. Go for the '3' and you'll benefit from big car features such as climate control and keyless entry. Sadly, none of this desirable kit can disguise the extremely cheap feeling materials and uninspiring design. It's solidly screwed together at least, although it comes nowhere near rivalling the VW up! for upmarket appeal.
With its lightweight construction and comapct dimensions, the Mitsubishi Mirage should deliver eager performance and nimble handling. However, both the 70bhp 1.0-litre and 79bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder engines feel strained and breathless when extended, plus they suffer from an uneven power delivery - the Skoda Citigo and Suzuki Swift are smoother and perkier. Yet it's the Mirage's lacklustre handling that is the biggest cause for concern. The steering is lifeless and slow to respond, there's lots of body roll and very little grip, meaning the Mirage lurches disconcertingly from corner to corner. It also trails its class rivals for refinement, with road and wind noise becoming intrusive on the motorway. Around town the Mirage crashes into potholes and thumps over expansion joints, and the ride only settles down on the open road.
Mitsubishi has an excellent reputation for reliability, so the Mirage should prove dependable and sturdy. However, it's worth noting that Mitsubishi finished in a disappointing 19th place in our 2012 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. And while all versions are backed by a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, you get more peace of mind from the lengthy guarantees offered by Hyundai and Kia. There's certainly no shortage of safety safety equipment, though, with all versions getting an over eager stabiity control system, six airbags and a pair of ISOFIX mountings for the rear seat.
The Mitsubishi Mirage has 235 litres of boot space, which is a big improvement on the Colt's 160 litres. Yet it's a lot less than the VW up!'s 251-litre capacity and only 10-litres more than the Hyundai i10. And although this figure grows to 600 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded, the Mirage still can’t match the five-door up!’s 959 litres. The Mitsubishi is also hobbled by a high loading lip, which makes it tricky to lift heavy items in and out. Unlike the Skoda Citigo or SEAT Mii, the Mirage is a five-seater. However, occupants in the back get no more head and legroom than other city car rivals, while the flat rear bench is a little uncomfortable. Still, there's a decent amount of storage in the cabin, with a number of useful cubbies and cupholders.
On paper, the new three-cylinder engine design helps make the Mitsubishi Mirage one of the most economical cars in its class. When combined with the 845kg kerbweight, aerodynamic design and standard stop-start system, the 1.0-litre unit promises to return 70.6mpg and 92g/km of CO2. Even the larger 1.2-litre unit manages 68.9mpg when fitted with either the standard five-speed manual or optionl CVT automatic, plus both versions dip below 100g/km CO2 tax threshold. You can also purchase a decent value pre-paid servicing pack, which takes care of maintenance for three years and 36,000 miles. It's not all good news, though, as the Mitusbishi Mirage isn't exactly cheap to buy. Not only is it undercut by the Dacia Sandero, it's also more expensive than the much classier and more composed Skoda Citigo.