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Statistics

How much? £11,999
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1193cc 12v three-cylinder, 79bhp @ 6000rpm, 78lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 11.7sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 65.7mpg, 100g/km
How heavy / made of? 845kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 3710/1665/1490mm
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 2 out of 52

Handling

Rated 2 out of 52

Performance

Rated 2 out of 52

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 2 out of 52

Readers' rating

Rated 2.5 out of 52.5

Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

By Ollie Kew

First Drives

28 May 2013 12:30

Bye-bye outdated Colt, hello fuel-sipping new Mirage. Mitsubishi’s new five-door only supermini is the most aerodynamic car in its class, but is a slippery shape all the Mirage has going for it? We drove the top-spec Mirage 3 to see if class honours remain an unobtainable oasis on the horizon…

Does the Mitsubishi Mirage cut through the air like its French fighter jet namesake?

The slim front grilles, over-size roof spoiler and slab-sided flanks all contribute to the Mirage’s 0.27Cd drag coefficient. It might sound like the sort of silly USP that did for Saab, but decent aero should make the Mirage efficient, quiet, and stable at speed. It doesn’t do the front-end styling a huge favour (there’s an unfortunate ‘Nissan Micra’s nice-but-dim brother’ look about the face) and the whole car loots a tad under-wheeled, even on the 14in alloys on the ‘3’ model.

Do you feel the benefits of that boxy shape inside?

Do you ever. The front quarters offer decent space, but it’s the rear where the Mirage really plays its trump card. The featureless rear bench seat offers good headroom and plenty of room for a six-foot plus passenger behind a similarly lanky driver. The catch is a meagre boot: at 235 litres, it’s 16 litres smaller than the Up/Citigo/Mii.

The dashboard certainly looks and feels more premium than the Toyota Aygo/Citroen C1/Peugeot 107 trio, and so it should – the once-commendable PSA trio is knocking on now, with the cheap and once-funky cabin really betraying the years. Of course, our test Mirage (the 3 model with glossy ‘piano black’ dash, climate control and leather steering wheel and gearknob) makes the best impression a Mirage could, so watch out for lower rent trim in cheaper models. This range-topper also gets keyless go, electric windows and parking sensors.

Is the Mirage any good to drive?

It might share a name with a military jet but the Mirage is no laser-guided weapon to drive. Worst is the steering: it’s too light, and very slow, at 3.2 turns lock-to-lock. At least the steering does afford the Mirage another class victory: tightest turning circle in its class, at 4.6m. Such slow, mute steering anesthetizes the car: it feels lazy in town where it should be spritely and nippy. It’s reason enough for even moderately keen drivers to throw their money at the VW Group’s VW Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii instead.

The 1.2-litre engine makes all the right lusty three-pot noises, and has a decent slug of power: its 79bhp and 78lb ft outstrips the most powerful VW Up and Citroen C1. It adds a much-needed dollop of character to the Mirage, where a droning four-pot would’ve nailed its coffin shut.

Ticking off the other dynamic disappointments: the clutch pedal action is too light and short to easily moderate city-creep driving, using the handbrake lever feels like you’ve reached down and clicked a biro, and the squidgy ride means the Mirage leans over like a windsurfer trying to regain its balance. The VW triplets nuke the Mirage, and even the dated PSA trio feel more chuckable, stable and fun, though their gearshifts are baggier than the Mirage’s fairly tight ‘box.

What’s the cost?

The Mirage starts from a pound under £9000 for the entry-level 1.0-litre model: a Hyundai i10 is £8345, a Kia Picanto cheaper still at £8045 for its 1.0-litre version. Our Mirage 3 test car weighs in at £11,999: more expensive than its Korean rivals again and the top-dog £11,275 VW High Up. However, for Mirage-comparable passenger space you’d be looking at a VW Polo - £13,920 in equivalent spec.

It’s worth remembering that opting for the Mirage 3 means you don’t dodge road tax: it produces 100g/km of CO2, while all other versions score 96g/km. The official economy claim is 65.7mpg: our test car hovered in the high 40s, with a best of 49.3mpg. The Mirage encourages you to save fuel with its eco-meter in the instrument binnacle, which adds green bars when you're cruising and an angry orange blob if throttle pedal meets bulkhead.

Verdict

Likeable as the Mirage’s thrummy engine, generous equipment and spacious cabin is, it’s too below-par to drive and noisy at speed to recommend in a class that contains the VW Up and its brethren, and it feels the heat too from the better-value Korean opposition. We’re spoiled with the capabilities of even the most basic city cars these days, and in such a competitive market, low aerodynamic drag figures aren’t enough for the Mitsubishi to topple the deserved class-leaders.

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Average rating: Rated 2.5 out of 52.5 (11 votes)

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Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

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MrMan

MrMan says

RE: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

 I own one. I bought it as it is cheap and I needed a car for when I dont use my motorbike

Plus points. Seats 5 full-sized adults. Have even had 3 lads and 3 birds in it! Turning circle. Fuel economy is brilliant. Parking is so easy. Larger inside than you can imagine. Rear seats fold down and can fit my mountain bike in it.

Negatives. Styling not to everyone's taste. It SERIOUSLY needs an anti-roll bar (I think the Aussie market insisted on it - why not UK? ) It needs larger radius wheels. It is very light and you can tell that from the thinness of the metal and lack of noise deadening material - heavy rain on the roof sounds like you're in a tin can. It's not a drivers car.

 

I do like my car - it does exactly what I want it to do. It whizzes through city traffic, is staggeringly economical (how the testers got 40 to the gallon i  don't know) mine hits over 50mpg without even thinking. Stereo is decent enough. The only thing I hate about it is the suspension - and I'm seriously looking at having an anti-roll bar fitted though can't find anyone to do it. This car is so light that you can coast along with the clutch in and it hardly drops any speed - in city traffic that really increases the fuel economy (though may be illegal in certain countries). I don't live in the UK by the way. It's definitely value for money.

 

 

 

 

24 October 2013 02:08

 

Fadyady

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Fadyady says

RE: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

@kubrick

There's no rush. Take your time.

04 June 2013 23:20

 

kubrick

reward badgemoderatorstaff

kubrick says

RE: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

 Fadyady, I'm afraid I still don't see the light. And neither do I own an Up, or any even vaguely VAG-related product.

04 June 2013 14:42

 

Fadyady

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Fadyady says

RE: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

@kubrick

Sometimes we see when we stop trying too hard.

Both the Up and Lupo put function over form and are excessively utilitarian - a bit like a block of flats - slab-sided and drab yet extremely commodious.

If you own either, then let me say that I understand that for you it may be the world's best car. Not because it is, but because association makes it so for you.

That however does not make it the best car for me. That doesn't even make it a good car. I test-drove it and found demerits that go deeper than lack of visual appeal.

As far as the second part of your comment is concerned, I do not remember comparing Up or Mirage with the Aygo/107/C1 triplet in any of my posts.

04 June 2013 14:23

 

bertandnairobi

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bertandnairobi says

RE: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 (2013) CAR review

There is a view in the arts that there is no such thing as progress, only change. For car design, progress exists in the technical aspects not the aesthetic. Only inasmuch as an idea is "better" expressed in a later car compared to another car or an earlier car can there said to be anything like progress though I´d just call it improvement. What we see in car design is technical improvement (in some areas such as manufacturing and materials) and aesthetic change driven by fluctuations in tastes. Some of the change is driven by technical demands such as when a production process is revised and some it is just styling: one year a rear lamp is square, three years it´s a free form effort. The fatuous part is when a designer tries to sell meaningless change as improvement.  The best we can say is that this or that design is a well-handled expression of its core idea, if we can guess what that idea might be. The nicest designs have a clear idea and it is well expressed; it could be rational or it could be expressive or some combination of these. The Mirage seems to be a design that is not especially clear in its intent and does not seem to have been expressed with much resolve. It´s a vague theme handled indifferently.

04 June 2013 07:42

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