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Guest post: This Mirage has substance

Mitsubishi Mirage. Picture courtesy of goauto.com.auMitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is all of 378cm long, shorter than even the Honda Jazz, and built in Thailand. Mitsu toiled long and hard to make this car aerodynamic – the drag co-efficient is 0.27 – and light – 845kg, compared to the Chevrolet Spark, which weighs 1,060kg. Despite its minuscule size, the Mirage can accommodate four tall adults in something approaching comfort. While the Mirage’s most obvious rival is the Spark, Mitsu hopes the car is sufficiently versatile to steal sales from sub-compacts such as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Jazz. The Jazz is the most flexible vehicle in this market segment and is fun to drive. If this appeals to you, you could read about this and other Honda cars at carsales.com.au.

Honda Jazz. Picture courtesy of The Motor ReportMitsubishi hopes the Mirage will compete with the Honda Jazz.

The Mirage was named Car of the Year for 2012/13 at the 2013 Manila International Auto Show. The award was given by Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI), comprised of several members of the Filipino motoring press, including several from Top Gear Philippines 81 vehicles in all were considered in 19 different categories. Ferman Lao, the president of CAGI, said “The 2012-2013 Car of the Year-Philippines season was a tough one,” due to the standard of competitiveness now in evidence.

The price of the Mitsubishi Mirage pitches it at youngsters and penny-pinching over-50s rather than trendy urbanites. Running costs are hoped to be the lowest around: Mitsu alleges that the Mirage will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle available in the United States. This is sensible transport for people who wish the minimum of fuss, and so it is absent the sophistication of the Fiesta and the funky appeal of the Spark. Brochures are known to never undersell a car, and even these describe the Mirage as “a rational, no-nonsense product.” The Mirage can, at least, come in offbeat colours including violet and bright green.

The 2014 Mirage first appeared in the United States at the 2013 New York Auto Show. Mitsubishi claims it can achieve 6.36 litres per 100 km in cities and 5.35 litres per 100 km on the motorway, but this would be less in real world driving conditions. The 2014 Mirage will have active stability control, seven airbags, power windows, automatic climate control and a four-speaker stereo with a USB port. Extras include park assist, LED interior illumination and a rear view camera. The latest incarnation of the Mirage can have either a 1.0 or 1.2-litre three-cylinder, 12-valve engine, although only the latter will be available in the United States. The engine delivers 75hp at 6,000rpm. Transmission can be either five-speed manual or continuously variable. The top speed is 180km/h, with the car attaining 100km/h in 11.7 seconds, aided by its light weight and aerodynamics. These figures are modest, but the Mirage goes about its business with a great deal of spirit. The engine hums in a manner that’s throaty and engaging.

The Mirage’s turning circle is a mere 920cm. Steering, being electrically-powered, is finger light, while the softly-sprung suspension deals admirably with the potholes of London, which are on a par with those of Manhattan for size and number. Mitsu expects 91 percent of buyers to reside in built-up areas.

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