New generation Mitsubishi Mirage is an economical urban runabout

Mitsubishi has re-introduced one of the most popular small-car nameplates of the past 20 years in an all-new Mirage, effectively priced from $11,990 drive-away. Tens of thousands of Australians, especially young people, bought the two earlier generations of Mitsubishi Mirage for their low price, reliability and cheerful style.

The new car aims to reprise all that, but is a more targeted approach to building an economical urban runabout. Three grades of trim and specification are offered, called ES, Sport and LS. There is one engine, a 1.2 litre, three-cylinder producing 57 kiloWatts, and a choice of five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. List prices, excluding on-road charges, start at $12,990 for the ES manual and range to $17,740 for the LS automatic. The drive-away prices, no extra for the ES manual but with varying increments on the other versions, are being offered for an unspecified period while Mitsubishi establishes the new model in the market.

The new Mitsubishi Mirage becomes an alternative choice in the cheapest segment of the car market, known as light or sub-light. The established models here are the Suzuki Alto and Nissan Micra, while Chinese make Chery recently bid for a bigger stake with an extraordinary $9990 drive-away price on its J1 hatchback.

The Mitsubishi, Nissan and an expected entry from Honda named the Neo, come from Thailand under a scheme the country’s government introduced to stimulate its motor industry with incentives to build city cars. Key markets are the burgeoning middle classes of Asian nations, but fuel-conscious first-world destinations like Australia now also welcome vehicles that are small, cheap, economical, clean and yet well-equipped with safety and comfort features. In the Mirage, this means six airbags, air conditioning and a CD player, with options on upper models of items including alloy wheels, keyless locking and ignition, automatic wipers and headlamps and even climate control.

It’s claimed to be a five-seater, but in better news perhaps for those who buy it as a second family car, the Mirage incorporates Isofix-type attachments for two child seats.

 

As seen in bmag issue 250

Prices quoted do not include statutory and dealer on-road charges unless otherwise stated. Prices correct at time of writing.