Review - Mitsubishi Mirage
March 30, 2021
Some 10-20 years ago, a bargain basement car didn't get you very much at all. Seats, a steering wheel, somewhere to put your handbag but that was about it. Even air-conditioning was optional. Now even the most affordable new car has 5 star safety, a 5 year warranty and Bluetooth smartphone connectivity. Sound too good to be true? It's time you met the Mitsubishi Mirage.
A friendly little character with a heart of gold
The Mirage is a city runabout with room for five, split-folding seats and lots of room inside, thanks to its upright body. The boot is roomy enough for all your shopping needs and the seats are soft and comfortable for long trips.
The range starts with the ES, in either manual or automatic guise, with a snazzy piano black interior, steering wheel controls for audio and Bluetooth, to answer phone calls, air conditioning and 6 airbags, as well as stability control to keep the car where its supposed to be, even in harsh weather. Cup holders, somewhere to put your phone and handback and door pockets are all part of the Mirage's clever storage options.
The top of the line LS model adds cruise control, sexy 15-inch machined alloy wheels, fog lights for seeing in bad weather, tinted windows, sporty roof spoiler and electronic climate control like you would get in more upscale luxury cars.
Whichever Mirage you pick, you are backed up by Mitsubishi's outstanding 5 year/100,000km warranty and 1 year of roadside assistance.
More modern convenience than you'd expect
In terms of interior and dash layout, the Mirage is simple and understated. There is a sea of hard grey plastic at the top, but the centre fascia’s piano black finish and buttons are a welcome touch, particularly with this top-spec LS’s electronic climate control. Another highlight are the chrome bezels around the speedometer and tacho. The LS model is also fitted with cruise control, making long journeys more relaxing.
Recent upgrades including to the suspension (which is quite soft) mean noise is pretty well contained, with not much engine noise seeping into the cabin at cruising speed. Trip information is at your fingertips too, such as fuel consumption.
Delightfully, the colour pallet resembles a packet of jelly beans, with sugary blue, an orange that bursts with flavour, two crimson reds as well as white or black.
Taking price into consideration, the Mirage is an affordable, easy to drive, comfortable and safe car to own and drive. It gets the job done but doesn’t like being driven with too much enthusiasm. The ES model makes sense if you have a price limit but the LS certainly benefits from the extra equipment. Either way, despite being one of the cheapest cars, it still feels modern, reliable and funky. With that brilliant warranty and a 5 star ANCAP, the new car feeling will stay with you long after you pick it up.
5 specs you need to know:
- Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder
- Transmission and drive: five-speed manual or CVT auto, front-wheel drive
- ANCAP safety rating: Five Stars
- Official fuel economy: 4.7L/100km (7.2L/100km during test)
- Time from 0-100km/h: 12.92 seconds
- Affordable, cheap to run
- Good standard equipment including climate control
- Comfortable, relaxing interior
- Five-star ANCAP safety
- Five-year warranty
- Slightly roomier than Spark?
- Harsh engine sound
- Jellybean styling
- Space saver spare wheel