This here is the most important product for Mitsubishi in the Philippines. You can always lust over the Lancer EX, ASX, or Pajero, but the Mirage G4 and its hatchback sibling, the Mirage will set the tone for the Japanese carmaker locally. The Montero Sport comes close, but basing on the sheer number of TV ads, billboards, and the Aldub endorsement, Mitsubishi is surely putting most of their money in the sub-compact pot.
And there’s good reason to. The segment where the Mirage finds itself in is currently one of the fastest growing vehicle segments in the country. It’s currently a cutthroat segment, where price seems to be a great motivating factor. Yet, Mitsubishi seems to have found the great balance between price and value. Breaking the psychological P 700,000 barrier (P 720,000 to be exact), the Mirage isn’t exactly the cheapest one in its class, but because it’s managed to cram a lot of shebang into that curvy body; in other words, Mitsubishi has managed to find the illusive magic mix.
For 2017, Mitsubishi has given the Mirage some needed design pizzazz. Though it still borders on the simple, the new frontend gives it more character. Although the eyes are immediately drawn to the tuning fork lower bumper garnish, everything is new: the bulbous hood, angry-looking headlights, diamond-mesh grille. It’s more Angry Birds now than being poked in the ass surprised; it’s definitely a great start. The side remains unchanged except that the two-tone 15-inch alloy wheels fill in the arches better. The back remains curvy, with just a bumper crease that visually lowers the car.
These improvements aside, there’s no denying the Mirage’s low-cost origins. Though engineered to meet global safety standards, the thin sheet metal makes it prone to dimple marks. Pressing the roof or doors hard enough is enough to cause the metal to wobble. Bang a knee accidentally against the door and it might cause a dimple mark that’ll give Alden Richards a run for his money. Pop the hood and you’ll see primer and not paint lining the engine bay. Even the proximity sensor’s been relegated to two areas: the driver’s door and trunk. It’s a good excuse to be less gentlemanly since you’ll have to fumble around for the keys just to unlock your lady passenger’s door.
Complain all you want about the Mirage’s sheet metal, there’s no denying that majority of the work has been done to give it a well-built and solid interior. Though the all-black scheme does lend a more somber tone than its young and cheery exterior would suggest, it’s airy and comfortable enough to spend traffic in. It looks modern enough, though there are some cues like the passenger airbag cutout that make it look dated. It gets the basics right though with a comfortable driving position, supportive seats, and good visibility. The driver’s seat is worth mentioning since it moves in 6 ways—above and beyond what you’d expect in a vehicle in this price range. For 2017, the gauges are new. Backlit in LEDs, it’s highly legible with an on-board LCD display that computes for everything from Average Fuel Mileage to Distance to Empty to Maintenance Service Due (in both kilometers and months). The GLS continues to have a push-button engine start/stop to the left of the steering wheel (ala Porsche) with a nifty slot on the center console just above the cup holders to store the proximity key in.
Despite the Mirage’s small footprint, passengers will have little to complain about the interior space. The front is especially good, creating a truly spacious feel in every dimension but the shoulders. Those in the back will have ample room, though the rear bench’s flat design does compromise the seating comfort somewhat. Nonetheless, kudos to Mitsubishi for providing individual headrests and three 3-point seatbelts for all occupants—again, things you don’t see in this segment. The cargo area itself is good for day-to-day activities including the weekly grocery run, but trying to fit a 26- or 28-inch wheeled luggage can be a challenge. It necessitates dropping a portion of the 60/40 split-folding seats.
Given the Mirage’s list price, it’s surprising to see a healthy list of standard equipment. Outside, it boasts of automatic HID headlights and LED taillights while inside, it has automatic climate control, a leather steering wheel (with radio controls for the later releases), and a touchscreen multimedia system with a full range of inputs (including GPS navigation). It even has dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brakes with EBD, and brake assist.
Moving to the driving characteristics, the Mirage does Point A to Point B commuting quite well. Settling into the driver’s seat, it’s apparent that it’s more upright than most sub-compacts. It gives it a more commanding view of traffic at the expense of that sought-after low-slung feel. Cranking up the engine results in a peculiar soundtrack from the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder motor; it’s inherently rougher resulting in a somewhat uneven note. Still, once it settles into an idle, it more or less evens out.
Despite having a small displacement engine mated to a performance-sapping CVT transmission, the Mirage is spritely enough to deal with urban speeds. It scoots to 60 km/h with ease, making short work of darting in and out of traffic with ease. That said, maintain a good, constant pace is what suits it best as full attack engagements don’t result in a burst of speed—just the sound of a taxed engine. The flipside though is that it results in the most economical way of driving. With the Eco coaching light almost always on, it registered 10.6 km/L at an average speed of 13 km/h. As well adept as it is in the city, it loses steam quickly at higher speeds. Above 100 km/h, the speedometer will creep up ever so slowly. There’s a certain satisfaction involved in squeezing every ounce of performance from this engine, but if you do a lot of highway driving, it can be taxing.
The rest of the Mirage’s package is tuned to being a commuter car as well. The steering is feathery-light and combined with a quick ratio rack, it results in a tight 4.6-meter turning radius. You can actually take various U-turn slots (even makeshift ones) with ease, shocking even motorcycle riders in the process. The suspension is clearly tuned for comfort than outright performance too. It feels pillowy through smooth and even semi-rough surfaces, but because of its low curb weight, skinny tires, and short wheelbase, it feels crashy over deeper and larger obstacles. And though it feels largely stable, this car isn’t something you’d like to bring to a weekend gymkhana course. It understeers a lot making left-right-left transitions a chore. For 2017, Mitsubishi has also improved NVH by adding sound insulation. And for someone who ends up hailing an older model Mirage as an Uber regularly, the difference is staggering.
Fueled by the inevitable move towards motorization and entrepreneurial folks who see them for their ride-sharing business, B- and sub-B segment cars have become hotly contested with at least a dozen models from half a dozen brands. It’s a sink-or-swim segment, where a P 10,000 price difference could spell success or failure. Despite having to deal with increasingly fickle buyers, Mitsubishi has managed to carve a niche for itself. Being completely honest, there’s nothing sporty about the 2017 Mirage. Yet, it manages to balance affordability and value and that alone is a hard to master feat. The Lancer Evolution may still rule garage fantasies, but it’s the Mirage that’ll help Mitsubishi sell.
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GLS CVT
|Ownership||2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GLS CVT|
|Year Introduced||2013 (Refreshed: 2016)|
|Vehicle Classification||Sub-compact Hatchback|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I3|
|BHP @ rpm||78 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||100 @ 4,000|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / ~91|
|Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed||10.6 km/L @ 13 km/h|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||850|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 175/55 R 15 V (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes, with EBD|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Other Safety Features||No|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front|
|Steering Wheel Adjust||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|# of Speakers||6|