Monday, July 23, 2012

First Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi Mirage

Photos by Ulysses Ang
BANGKOK, THAILAND—Small is big nowadays. With the price of crude oil continuing to skyrocket worldwide, carmakers are scrambling to produce a global small car: one that caters to both the sophisticated, eco-conscious taste of the first-world markets and the price-sensitive, practical needs of the emerging markets. Mitsubishi is the latest automaker to enter the B-segment (sub-compact car) fray, and their answer: the all-new Mirage.

If the nameplate seems familiar, it’s because Mirage was first used in 1978. At the time, it was developed with “resource/energy/space-saving and high-performance in a compact package” in mind. Now, the all-new Mirage inherits the essence of that first series by cleverly getting the most function and performance out of a limited space.



Measuring in at 3,710 mm in length (wheelbase is at 2,450 mm), the Mirage clearly sits on the smaller scale of the B-segment. However, thanks to excellent interior packaging, the Mirage outclasses the likes of the Suzuki Swift, Mazda2, and Nissan March in total legroom. And despite the small dimensions, the extensive use of high-tensile strength steel makes the Mirage one of the safest cars in its class while maintaining a low curb weight—as much as 7 percent less—compared to its competitors (the heaviest Mirage tops out at just 865 kilograms). The Mirage employs Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) safety concept which absorbs and distributes impact forces to deliver high levels of occupant safety.

In addition to its lightweight body, Mitsubishi pursued to refine basic technologies to improve the Mirage’s performance and fuel economy as opposed to employing expensive technologies such as gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrains. Thus, they are able to keep the Mirage’s pricing down while keeping fuel efficiency and performance up. The 5-door body is designed with a low 0.29 co-efficient of drag—one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in its class. This is achieved through small panel gaps, carefully-shaped bumpers, small aerodynamic “lips” on the side skirts, and the employment of a roof-mounted spoiler on high-end models.



The Mirage also employs detailed improvements to almost every part of the car from the engine, transmission to even brakes and tires all in the name of fuel efficiency. Under the hood is a single engine variant: a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder (3A92). Despite the modest displacement and cylinder numbers, thanks to MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control), the Mirage pushes out a healthy 77 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 100 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Mated to the engine is a choice between a conventional 5-speed manual and INVECS-III CVT automatic transmission. Underneath, the Mirage rides on a combination of independent MacPherson struts and torsion beam axle at the back, but because of a well-tuned steering rack it delivers best-in-class turning radius at just 4.6 meters.

To test the merits of the all-new Mirage, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) flew a group of journalists, dealers, and suppliers to the Bira International Circuit. There, three variants of the Mirage were made available for testing: GLX 5MT, GLX CVT, and GLS Ltd. Though these three variants are Thai-spec models, these are highly indicative of the models which MMPC will ultimately sell to the Philippine market sometime in November. Because the 1.2-liter MIVEC inline-3 is the same across the line, these variants are differentiated mainly by equipment and price. The entry-level GLX is already loaded with driver’s airbag, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, 165/65R14 tires with 14-inch full wheel covers, color-keyed power door mirrors, keyless entry, and an AM/FM stereo CD with USB and auxiliary audio jack connected to 4 speakers. Meanwhile, the GLS Ltd. adds a passenger airbag, 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, B-pillar black out, power folding door mirrors, roof spoiler with high-mount stop lamp, silver accents on the instrument panel, chromed inner door handles, FASTKEY keyless engine start/stop, and automatic climate control.



Stepping into the Mirage’s cabin reveals a straight-forward, Zen-like approach to interior appointment. Yet, everything you could ever ask for is there. The finish is top-notch with a nicely textured dashboard highlighted by a high-gloss piano black finish on the center stack. All the controls are ergonomically placed with large buttons for the audio and climate controls. The front seats are ergonomic with ample support. Other nifty touches include: tilt-adjustable steering wheel, 6-way manual adjustable driver’s seat, variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split-fold rear bench, and a multi-information display located in the instrument panel. All in all, if bang for the buck is what you’re after, the Mirage delivers it nicely.

Pressing the ‘Start Engine’ button cranks up the 3-cylinder engine to life; and though the initial note sounded lacking (a common problem with the 3-cylinder layout), once it settles to an idle, it purrs evenly. There were initial hesitations given the Mirage’s modest drivetrain, but whether equipped with 5-speed manual or CVT transmission, this car delivers a great driving experience. There’s ample thrust allowing drivers to break the imposed 80 km/h limit on the Bira International Circuit much to the chagrin of the marshals and instructors. The suspension is clearly tuned for comfort and combined with the narrow tires means the Mirage tends to lean through the corners, but the overall handling remains tidy. And thanks to the quick steering, flicking through the narrow portion of the circuit, particularly the S-bend, is a rewarding experience.



Globally, the entire production run of the Mitsubishi Mirage, be it for Europe, Japan or the Philippines, is to be done at the brand-new Mitsubishi Motors Thailand (MMTh) Laemchabang Factory No. 3. Opened in March of this year, Factory No. 3 produces the Mirage solely to the tune of 150,000 units annually or around 26.8 units per hour. The Mirage is assembled with the help of MMDS or Mitsubishi Motors Development System which is a comprehensive quality management system and MMPW or Mitsubishi Motors Production Way, the company’s global quality assurance framework.

Currently, Mirage production for the Philippines is slated to start in October with the first 1,000 units expected sometime in November. MMPC has revealed that the Mirage will be sold in 4 variants: the entry-level GLX MT and CVT as well as GLS Ltd trim in both MT and CVT. Final pricing has yet to be announced, but MMPC has said that it will be competitively priced, and will probably be in the “Php 500,000 range”. More information about the Mitsubishi Mirage will be revealed at the 4th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) which is scheduled from August 16 to 19 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Until then, the Filipino buyer will anxiously wait for the return of a much respected mass market icon.


50 comments:

  1. care to mention the fuel economy?

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    1. We only did laps at the Bira Circuit, so I can't really give a real-world fuel mileage figure. However, Mitsubishi is targeting "top class" fuel economy.

      In Japan, the Mirage with the 1.0-liter MIVEC engine does around 27-30 km/L on government tests making it the best in its class. As for the 1.2-liter engine, we'll have to wait until we get to drive it more :-)

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  2. Hi, Is there a difference in the interior upholstery between glx and gls mt? (eg. seat cover, knob, steering wheel, finish etc)

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    1. In the units we've tested, there's no difference with the type of material used between the GLX and GLS. However, we don't know what the final specs for the Philippines would be. We'll have to wait until November when the Mirage officially comes out.

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  3. Good morning... Is there a space saver for a spare tire?... Thanks...

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    1. Sorry I wasn't able to check the space tire. Once we get the final specs, we'll let you know.

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  4. Hi, how is the Noise, vibration, and harshness(NVH) of this little cute car?

    Thanks!

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    1. We drove the Mirage mainly on the track so we really can't tell if it's got good NVH. We'll have to wait for its official Philippine drive to get a better feel for the NVH.

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  5. its november 2012 already. when is the exact date of release?

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    1. we are starting to have releases in our dealership for our clients who reserved during the preorder 40k discount period. For reservations and info contact me at 09178010363 im kent malinao from citimotors laspinas

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  6. I dont like it at all..it will ruin Mitsu's name.it will be compared to Matiz not to Swift, i own a Colt Cz3 and i must say that is a very innovative car. If you drive it very carefully you can have a 5.5-5.8L/100km economy, but if you want power you can just rev the engine and feel safely in some situations...so the economy is in your pedal and is not need to have a whole build with modest design and engine... The design-styling is very important and the first 2004 cold was courageous i feel pity that nothing was learned from that point...I will newer look at Mirage..

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    1. Are you a kid or what? You started off negatively without giving the car a chance. Oh well, guess your happy with you piece. HOld your breath!

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  7. This car will be another feather on the cap of Mitsubishi.Quality and affordability packaged neatly in a practical car. Congratulations, Mitsubishi!

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  8. When will this car come out in the local dealerships, say Dumaguete City for instance? Is the pre-order 40K discount period still on?

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    1. This car is now available at all Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide. As for the discount, I think Mitsubishi is still extending discounts, but it's not as high as the P40k they offered before.

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  9. I'm from las pinas and I want this car so bad. Any ideas where can I get the best deal?

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  10. We bought a brand new mitsubishi mirage 2013 at Jabez Motors Corp, after 2.5 weeks at around approx. 700km mileage, we heard a loud and alarming sound, similar to the sound of a helicopter, coming from the car, when we returned it to the dealership they said it was hard to diagnose and needed someone from the plant, and then they said it was the axle, and then after 3days the guy from the plant said it was the rack and pinion, both major components of the vehicle, we requested for a car replacement. We wrote them 2 letters and after 1 month of waiting still no formal reply nor any action on both Mitsubishi motor corporation and Jabez Motors Inc. Out of frustration we cancelled our purchase with monetary losses and hardships dealing with MMC and Jabez. I'd like to express our disappointment with that car and mitsubishi motors for issuing a defective and substandard unit, over all the mitsubishi mirage was a very big disappointment for us, for us it was a big mistake to buy the Mitsubishi Mirage 2013.

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    Replies
    1. Did they not replace your unit with another one?

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    2. next time buy from city motors.

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  11. what is the top speed of this car? I am bothered by the above comment..if true,, it is bad after sales service..

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  12. I am planning to buy one but I guess I need to hold for further reviews. I do not want to end up losing money also like the post above. Any feedback from MMC?

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  13. I was able to get 40K discount on the unit from the promo last October and was about to have my unit be released within this month of February. However I am also bothered by the negative feedback published on Jan.10 . I hope any other user who might have encountered good or bad experience on 2013 Mirage would give comments

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  14. I bought 1 too and I'm starting to hear some noise every time I release my clutch. I already too Mitsubishi too replace my axle or my transmission and I'm waiting at the moment.

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  15. I suggest that do not buy this car because I think it is not a good car.

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  16. i like the look of this car, but with the post above, i'm starting to doubt its performance. for those who already bought and driving it, please POST MORE REVIEWS if it is a good buy... thank you very much.

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  17. DO NOT BUY THIS CAR! The noise that I'm hearing is getting worst and Mitsubishi Philippines said it's normal.... I say it's not normal when your hearing loud noise when you release your clutch and when you start it... their is another noise..... stupid fucking car... it's a big disappointment in my side.... DO NOT BUY MITSUBISHI CARS!

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  18. I feel sorry for neg comment & thank you also for your concern !!!

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  19. My husband and i we're planning to buy this car but according to the above comments i think it is not a good ideas to push through...i really want this unit but im indeed very disappointed..better hunt other unit instead...

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  20. are these posts real or are they just giving negative feedbacks to get a sale of their product? are you working for another company? i'm not a fan of mitsubishi but i just bought one today for my wife. i've read reviews from other places like US, Australia, Thailand, UK where this unit was first sold and my officemate here, a UK citizen says he bought one for his daughter and she love it. no problem at all. no such complain like those mentioned in the above posts.well i think it all depends on who's using it and how they use it. happy motoring.

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  21. My Mirage GLX is now a month old and I haven't experiencing or hearing any clutch noise or whatever. All I can say is that, the car is very AWESOME. :)

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  22. I BOUGHT MY TOO..ITS AMAZING CAR.

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  23. Better than honda jazz.

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  24. I'm so excited to have one. its been 2 weeks since i order cvt gls... ganun ba talaga katagal sa peak motors abad santos...

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  25. Please help, I am choosing between Mirage and Hyundai i10. Thanks a lot.

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  26. mag mirage kana lang instead of the i10

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  27. kapatid ko bumili this month (march 2013) GLS AT...she said it very good and 21km/Lt...

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  28. Got our GLX CVT last January, and so far so good we have been liking it. Traveled from Batangas to Pampanga on a single tank cruised at maximum 145 kph and were still alive and kicking!. Fuel consumption is good for everyday city driving. The thing is if your expecting a lot don't its priced as it is, if you have more money to spare go get a honda jazz or civic but for the budget conscious its better than a kia eon in terms of space or a celerio in its trunk space. It has it's design flaws that they may have taken in consideration. I guess they have different specs per region (Japan, Thai, Aus, Phil) no eco mode. Overall 3 out of 5.

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  29. If you are looking for user's feedback and other useful information on the 2013 mirage you can visit www.miragepilipinas.com group.

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  30. I have a GLS CVT Mirage delivered on March 23, 2013. Since then I noticed noise coming from the transmission. It was a kicking sound. It eventually became louder and annoying. This kicking sound would be heard when The stick is shifted to drive position while the break pedal is still pressed. The car has a mileage of less than 1K when I brought it for service check-up and complained about the transmission kick on April 12, 2013. Peak motors called me up late afternoon to pick-up the car and they didn't find out any problem with the car. The next day, I dropped by at Mitsubishi Dasmarinas Cavite and have the car checked. They told me that the problem was a transmission kick and advised me to return the car to Mitsu Manila Bay (Peak Motors) for evaluation since Mitsu Manilabay is my dealer. April 15, I brought the car again to Mitsu Manilabay for check up. I asked the service technician to accompany me for a test drive. he also heard the loud kick sounds that came from the transmission and told me that it was normal. I argued with him that there is a problem with my unit for no such problem i encountered with my mini SUV also with a CVT system for more than 4 years of a different maker. I insisted that they evaluate my unit because there is a statement in the manual that is the car has a noise or any unwanted sound, i should bring the car for check-up. Until this time, My Mirage GLS is under evaluation. They told me that it is okey to used the car. I told them that if the problem will become worst and will they be responsible? i am contemplating to file a complain at DTI for getting a lemon unit.

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  31. basta CVT sirain

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  32. I'm planning to buy this car in when I go home in Dumaguete that's why I read some reviews in it but base on the negative comments from above I have now doubts whether to buy still or not to buy and look for another one.

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  33. Parang ayaw ko na yata bumili...average juan lng po ako I value my money if 1 month lng may ganun na feedback...well il make my move na..thnks sa comments po...it help me a lot..

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  34. my Mirage GLS 2013 is over 6months and it's amazing. no noise at all.

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  35. I owned a mirage m/t since sptember 2013, there's no problem regards on engine. I f you want to be an eco whilst driving you should shift on or before 2k rpm to reach 21km/l, otherwise you won't reach it. The noise in the car was impaired, you'll hear the engine of every vehicle passes by. The soft and less stiff body contributes the outside noise towards inside the cabin. The suspension is not so good, the rear coil spring is soft that the 3 average person weighing 65kg. would likely to touch the tire unto fender. I had expected if I got a brand new car I could satisfy mysel to less hear any depth and uneven road condition but i wasn't. I am a member of MPH, www.miragepilipinas.com, even them, they just sucked for what they'd got.

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  36. Happy with our Unit GLS manual, getting around 6lit/100km mixed city and hiway use.

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  37. which is better, a mirage glx cvt or a toyota wigo a/t? factors considered are: fuel economy, after sales service, and maintenance cost...thanks!!!

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  38. Mirage is just a better car overall than the wigo! that is why it is more expensive. the mirage's cvt has infinite number of effective gear ratios This contrasts with other mechanical transmissions like the WIGO that offer a fixed 4 number of gear ratios. The flexibility of a CVT allows the input shaft to maintain a constant angular velocity. in other word, CVT of the Mirage is much Better.

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  39. Is there any haflcut Mitsubishi mirage 1.2 eco ?
    or cheap spare parts for this car..
    please call me zol 0179077175

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  40. i had a mirage since 2013 and almost 70k mileage na. good so far. Php500 back and forth from Marikina to Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Magagamit pa kinabukasan going to QC. Considered na traffic dun. nasira lang power locks pero engine wise, efficient. Nagpalit lang ako rear bearings. 6 people loaded and my closet-like stuffs at my trunk, OK pa din ang takbo.

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