Small budget cars are proving popular while the economic climate remains tough. The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the newer models that aims to woo cash-pressed buyers with its low running costs and affordability.
This car is the replacement for the old Mitsubishi Colt, the company's previous budget model. The Mirage is a Japanese-engineered car but it is built at a factory in Thailand. It is intended as a global model, designed to sell around the world. Mitsubishi has pitched it as an ideal economy car for emerging markets, but hopes it will also find fans here and elsewhere in Europe as a price-conscious car that will appeal to new drivers and anyone aiming to cut their motoring costs while money is tight.
Neatly styled and lightweight, the Mirage has pleasant if undistinguished looks and is notable for its low drag coefficient, with 0.27 Cd, which makes it more slippery through the air than some key rivals such as the Kia Picanto (0.31 Cd), Mitsubishi Splash (0.32 Cd), Chevrolet Spark (0.33 Cd) and Nissan Micra (0.33 Cd).
The Mirage comes in three versions, the Mirage 1 with a three-cylinder, one-litre, 71 bhp engine; the Mirage 2 with 1.2 litre, 79 bhp engine that is also a three-cylinder unit and has stop-start; and the Mirage 3 with the same 1.2 litre engine and more equipment. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a continuously variable CVT automatic transmission is available on the Mirage 3. CO2 outputs are from 95 to 100 g/km, which means that every version of the Mirage is road tax exempt under current rules. Prices are from £8,999 to £12,999.Performance
Our test car has the 1.2 litre, three-cylinder engine that is expected to be the main power unit in the Mirage. It has a power output of 79 bhp and peak torque of 78 lb ft. The top speed is 112 mph and the 0-62 acceleration time takes just under 12 seconds. Mitsubishi boasts of it having the highest top speed of any car in its class, although that is a bit academic when any attempt to explore it on UK roads would risk losing your licence. More relevant is the acceleration pace, but this is hardly the kind of car you are likely to floor away from the lights. On paper it is a respectable performer, but it does not feel as lively as some of its similarly priced rivals, and there is a bit of a crude edge to the power delivery. You can never escape awareness of this being a built-down-to-a-price budget car.
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