This is crucial ground for any serious player. Probably the most important buying factor in the small-car segment is cost. But in the A-segment, the car must be more than just inexpensive.
With the Mirage, Mitsubishi’s overall strategy is value for money. The car provides a decent level of specification and quality workmanship in a package that is designed to keep things affordable.
Mitsubishi have gone so far as to throw in free comprehensive insurance for the first year.
“When everything else seems more expensive, to launch a superb value car like the Mirage, with its big heart, makes perfect sense for the South African market,” says Mitsubishi SA COO Wynand Pretorius.
“We are launching Mirage with a very competitive R1 899 per month finance proposition, which includes 12 months of comprehensive insurance, making overall car ownership that much more affordable for younger buyers.”
The three Mirage derivatives that will be available in SA all share the same drivetrain and are distinguished by specification level. Powered by a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder DOHC petrol engine they have 57kW and 100Nm available to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.
All of this is quite adequate, even at Gauteng altitudes, for what is essentially a city car that can hold its own on the freeway. Mitsubishi wisely chose not to bring in the CVT transmission derivative, which is why there is no automatic.
Featuring MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control), fuel efficiency was the most important engineering attribute during Mirage development. Average fuel economy on the combined cycle in the South African context is claimed to be just 4.9 litres per 100km, with CO2 emissions of 115 g/km.
Our launch drive in Gauteng saw us limited to just 10 litres of fuel. No one ran out despite some very questionable navigating, so the Mirage must be pretty light on petrol, but just how light we cannot confirm.
It is fitted with a 35 litre fuel tank, which equates to a potential range of more than 700km. Lightweight construction also aids in reducing fuel consumption. The Mirage is claimed to be the lightest 5-door, 5-passenger vehicle on sale in the US – its kerb weight is just 825kg.
The funky, fashionable and youthful exterior styling gives the car a unique character in its segment. The rounded front end is optimised for aerodynamic efficiency and visual appeal, and makes way for the vehicle’s compact proportions.
The upbeat and cheerful paint colour spectrum available on the new Mirage range comprises a mix of bright and trendy colours that highlight the fun-to-drive element of this new vehicle. Hues ranging from Lemonade Yellow Metallic to Medium Blue Mica and Red Metallic liven up the car’s already bubbly personality.
The five-door design also sees strong styling creases on the flanks met by either 14- or 15-inch wheels. The pert rear end features a sassy design theme and characterful tail-light clusters.
Compact proportions – the Mirage is just 3.71 metres long – enhances manoeuvrability. So does the exceptionally tight, class-leading turning radius of just 4.6 metres.
The Mirage interior boasts an unexpectedly roomy cabin, finished in attractive and durable cloth trim. All models also feature five cup or bottle holders, folding rear seats in a 60:40 split and height adjustment for the driver’s seat.
Standard features for the range include ABS, dual airbags, air conditioning, electric windows, a radio/CD audio system and steering wheel audio controls.
The new Mitsubishi Mirage range starts with the 1.2 GL, which includes standard equipment like keyless entry, a radio/CD audio system, colour-coded bumpers, a third rear brake light, electric power steering with a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a multi-information display, front electric windows and manual air-conditioning with pollen filter. Fourteen-inch steel wheels are available, as well as a full-size spare.
The Mirage 1.2 GLX represents the mid-range model, adding a number of features to GL specification. These include a fuel-efficiency indicator, 15-inch alloy wheels with a full-size alloy spare, colour-coded mirrors and door handles, electric side mirrors, a rear spoiler with integrated third brake light, a leather-bound multifunction steering wheel, an accessory socket and a USB port added to the audio system.
Topping the new Mirage range is the 1.2 GLS, which features keyless starting to complement the keyless entry, rear electric windows, auto up/down for the driver’s window with an anti-pinch function, fully automatic climate control and front fog lights.
An optional accessory package that will appeal to trend-setting young buyers allows Mirage owners to personalise their vehicle and stand out from the crowd.
Available for a value-busting R15 500, the accessory package can be fitted to any Mirage derivative and includes a cargo organiser, a centre armrest console, front lower bumper garnish, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation and premium carpets.
All derivatives feature a full range of safety equipment, including dual front air bags, ABS with EBD and ISOFIX child seat anchor points, as well as central locking and an immobiliser linked to the keyless entry system.
Crash safety is further reinforced by Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution body construction. This has led to the Mirage receiving the highest-possible ‘Good’ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US for the “moderate overlap front”, “side”, “roof strength” and “head restraints and seats” crash test modules. In Australia, the Mirage has achieved a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
> All new models are backed by Mitsubishi’s comprehensive three-year/100 000km warranty.
> Service intervals are set at every 15 000km, and a two-year/30 000km service plan as well as 12 months of comprehensive insurance are included in the retail price.
> Mirage 1.2 GL: R124 900
> Mirage 1.2 GLX: R134 900
> Mirage 1.2 GLS: R144 900