Mitsubishi Mirage 3 review

City cars can lead a very hard life and need to be tough. While a test like this can't assess longevity, the Mirage feels robust despite being the lightest car in its class and Mitsubishi's reputation speaks for itself.

The car is unusually spacious for its size, especially in the rear seats, though boot space is slightly down on some rivals. Five doors make a big difference to every day ease of use though the door handles are fiddly and potential nail breakers. The air conditioning proved very effective during some hot weather and the car is well equipped. The Mirage is pleasant enough to drive, though dynamically not up to the standard of the Volkswagen's Up or its brothers. Tyre noise and general commotion was too loud on some motorway surfaces.

Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com


PERFORMANCE

The Mirage range starts at £8,999 with a 999cc 70bhp three-cylinder petrol engine, but the other two versions from £10,999 have a 1.2 litre engine three-cylinder which has stacks of character and makes a cheerful noise as the revs rise. With 79bhp and a useful 78 lbs ft of torque at 4,000rpm it has the legs of most rivals though owners are unlikely to be interested in the traffic lights Grand Prix. Top speed is 112mph while acceleration from rest to 62mph takes 11.7 seconds. Carbon dioxide emissions are 100g/km compared to 96g/km for the smaller engine. Paying £1,000 extra for the continuously variable automatic transmission on a Mitsubishi 3 specification model cuts CO2 to 95g/km.

HANDLING

Light steering makes the Mirage simple to manoeuvre and only a taxi is going to turn in a tighter space. The softish suspension gave the Mirage a smoother ride than a friend's Audi A1, but the wider tyred Audi had more cornering grip, at least in the dry. Tackle S-bends with gusto and you can tell Mirage isn't aimed at the sportier driver as it leans first this way and then that. Braking performance is strong with front ventilated discs and only 845kg kerb weight to stop. Better gear change than the Aygo/C1/ 107 from Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot which are starting to feel their age, but the Up/Citigo/Mii courtesy of VW, Skoda and Seat are the most agile of potential rivals.

BODY STYLE

Making a small car look attractive is far more difficult than a bigger vehicle, and the Japanese don't have a good track record, but Mitsubishi have done a decent job with the new Mirage while at the same time producing a car with a low 0.27Cd drag factor which means it burns minimum fuel pushing itself through the air. The Mirage looks best from the rear three-quarters because though the front is aerodynamically efficient it reminds of the dumb-struck Nissan Micra. Dark colours help disguise the guppy fish grille under the front bumper. Even the bigger 15 inch diameter alloys of the '3' model tested look a bit lost in the wheel arches by current fashion. Boot space of 235 litres increases to 600 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded. It is 3710mm in length and 1665mm wide (exc mirrors).

COMFORT & CONTROLS

Mitsubishi Mirage 3 Though tall, I found the driver's seat comfy enough. Compared to the Aygo and its identical chums, the Mirage's dashboard is simpler and less gimmicky. A leather rimmed steering wheel and gear knob helped the quality feel on the test Mirage 3 model as does the glossy piano black trim panels and climate control.

Overall though the impression is of money having been saved. Keyless entry and engine start, as long as the key is close enough in pocket or bag, increases convenience as does the electric windows and rear parking sensors. Electrically assisted power steering takes the effort out of parking, even in tight spaces.



MPG & RUNNING COSTS

The official laboratory combined economy fuel consumption figure is 65.7mpg. Drive hard with appointments to meet and the car dips into the high 40s, while some A-road and motorway cruising saw a best of 55.4mpg overall. Taking the advice of the economy lights in the instrument binnacle would improve this. Carbon dioxide emissions of 100g/km; this or lower was Mitsubishi's first goal when developing the car, exempt it from car tax under current legislation.

GREEN CREDENTIALS

The Mitsubishi Mirage encourages you to take advantage of its free-rolling gait by keeping three green lights illuminated. Three is best, two not so good etc and the red light means you are accelerating harder than is good for economy. Automatic stop-start, energy gathering regenerative braking, a high efficiency alternator and low rolling resistance tyres also help economy. Weight burns fuel so Mitsubishi is to be commended for producing the lightest car in its class despite it's better than average rear seat space. These features combine to return a Next Green Car Rating of 28.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

In 3 spec the Mirage is well equipped with fog lights, 15 inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth mobile phone connection, keyless entry and engine start, driver's seat height adjuster, rain-sensing wipers; automatic headlights, air conditioning with pollen filter, electrically-adjustable door mirrors and an outside temperature gauge. All versions have driver and front seat airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control, emergency brake assist and anti-theft engine immobiliser. Metallic paint is a £420 option.

MODEL SUMMARY

Mitsubishi Mirage 3

Model tested: Mitsubishi Mirage 3
Body-style: Five-door supermini
Engine/CO2: 79bhp 1193cc three-cylinder petrol / 27 gCO2/km
Trim grades: 1, 2, 3

On-road price: 1 model from £8,999. Test car (3) £11,999
Warranty: Three years/ Unlimited miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 STARS
Next Green Car Rating: 28

Click here for more info about this model »

Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:18th Jul 2013

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