Mitsubishi Motors UK is currently on the up, with a brace of new models for UK buyers, one of which is the Thai-built Mirage supermini. Described by the company as stylish, well equipped and practical, we tested one for a week to find out if it actually is, and also how it stacks up in the face of its key rivals, the Nissan Micra, Kia Picanto and Chevrolet Spark.

What is it?

In a nutshell, a new supermini from Mitsubishi. It has been designed from the wheels up to be as environmentally friendly as possible. There are four models in the range, Mirage 1, 2, 3 and 3 CVT (automatic) – none of which emits more than 100g of CO2 per kilometre. This means no road tax is payable on any Mirage under the current rules – one of Mitsubishi’s key selling points for the car. Although in some ways Mirage does feel a bit basic, it does come with some clever creature comforts, such as Auto Stop and Go, keyless entry and ignition and reverse parking sensors.

What is it like to drive?

We liked it. And in saying that, we’re not unaware of the somewhat mixed reviews Mirage has received elsewhere. But really, what’s not to like? It’s the lightest car in its class so it’s easy to handle and well-suited to city driving with its peppy, economical engine and best-in-class turning circle. Having said that, we put it to the test on a couple of 200-mile motorway treks and it didn’t disappoint. Cabin noise is minimal, making conversation easy at (moderately) high speeds, and the ride is pretty smooth although you will know about it if you hit a hole in the road.

What is it like inside?

The colour scheme jarred a little bit for us. The exterior paintwork of our car was pop-green, almost high-vis in its brightness, yet the seats were embroidered with a purple trim which wasn’t that easy on the eye. However, the cabin is perfectly adequate, with a handy little indicator to let you know if you’re driving in an environmentally-friendly way; a straightforward and perfectly serviceable radio/stereo system and a nifty little slot for the ‘key’ – although you can enter the car and get going without it leaving your pocket of course.

Is it practical?

Practical, yes, but not particularly pretty, we’d say. Five doors help of course and there’s plenty of room for five adults, although the rear-seat passengers might start grumbling if they’re there for too long – the unsculpted seats aren’t exactly the height of comfort. There’s plenty of storage space if you’re doing a spot of load-lugging, too. In fact, the luggage area is a reasonably generous 235 litres, rising to 600 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Should I buy one?

It’s definitely worth a look. Two big things count in the Mirage’s favour: its impeccable environmental credentials – and the fact that it’s a Mitsubishi. If the company is known for anything, it’s quality and reliability. Generations of pick-ups which keep performing despite being driven in the most inhospitable of terrains are testament to that. Perhaps the Mirage is a little ambitiously priced, however. Buyers can get behind the wheel for £8,999 but the top-of-the-range model comes in at £12,999 – or the price of a mid-range Ford Fiesta.

Sound like too much? Browse our selection of Mitsubishi Colt superminis here.

The facts

Mitsubishi Mirage 3, 1.2, manual

List price: £11,999
Engine: 1.2-litre, petrol
Power: 79bhp
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11.7 seconds
Fuel economy: 56.5mpg (urban), 72.4mpg (extra urban), 65.7mpg (combined)
Emissions: 100g/km CO2

Daljinder Nagra


May 23, 2013