JAPANESE car manufacturer Mitsubishi has returned to the very competitive A-Segment of the motor market for small cars with their new five door Mirage which is claimed to be the lightest and most aerodynamic of them all writes Bryan Longworth.
Mitsubishi name the Nissan Micra, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Splash and Chevrolet Spark as the main competition but there are many others especially the trio of mini cars from the VW Group including the VW Up all of which are formidable foes.
The Mirage models are all powered by petrol engines and there are three trim levels with standard equipment on all models including active stability control with traction control, alloy wheels, brake assist, engine stop/start, regenerative braking and daytime running lights so there is plenty of standard kit on board.
It also has an excellent steering lock which is ideal for town driving U-turns and parking especially that I really appreciated because it is surprising just how many cars now have unimpressive steering locks making manoeuvering into tight parking spaces and turns really hard work.
The test car was the top Mirage 3 with a 1.2-litre three cylinder engine that produced a top speed of 112mph, zero to 62mph time of 11.7 seconds, CO2 emissions of 100g/km, a combined fuel consumption of 65.7mpg and cost £11,999 with prices starting at £8,999.
Mirage is a very roomy small car especially for rear seat passengers which is achieved through its smooth rounded but rather conservative styling and there was a good sized boot but there is no spare wheel with only a puncture repair kit lurking in the wheel well.
The interior is so roomy that I transported two six footers and their bags to a rugby match with no problems and there was still some room to spare although I doubt if they would have liked to have travelled for a long distance trip in the car.
Like most three cylinder engines the 79bhp power unit has a very distinctive sound to it but it proved to be an eager performer linked to the five speed manual gearbox which provided slick and positive changes.
In fact I was quite impressed by the performance from the engine especially on motorways where the car had no problem making good progress at higher speeds and it easily maintained good progress particularly when mixing it with larger and much more expensive cars.
There is an eco meter on the instrument binnacle to help the driver with economical motoring but I am sure most owners can drive very economically through experience although it is a useful gadget that some owners will appreciate.
Considering this was the top model there were no controls for features like the radio on the steering wheel and there was no on board computer which is something I really appreciate on test cars and I found it difficult getting a really comfortable position in the driving seat.
As mentioned earlier the Mirage is operating in a very tough sector of the market place but the car is certainly worth considering especially because Mitsubishi has a longstanding reputation in the UK for producing good quality cars.
My Verdict: A roomy and lively small car.
Model: Mitsubishi Mirage five door.
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol three cylinder.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 112mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 11.7 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 65.7mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 100g/km.
Price: £11,999 on the road.