2013 Mitsubishi Mirage Launch Review

Tony O'Kane | 47 Comments

2013 MITSUBISHI MIRAGE REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Light hatchback
Engine: 1.2 litre petrol three-cylinder | Power/Torque: 57kW/100Nm
Fuel Consumption listed: 4.6-4.9 l/100km | tested: 4.5 l/100km

What makes a good light car? Is it affordability? Value for money? Fuel economy? Perhaps all three?

Mitsubishi marks each of these as key attributes. For 2013, it expects its new entrant to the light car segment - the reborn Mirage - to add significant volume to sales and arrest the company’s declining market share here.

It’s hoping to shift around 1000 Mirages per month; a target that would put the Mirage in the same league as the Suzuki Swift (which last year sold around 12,000 units).

But is the Mirage as good - or better - than Suzuki’s well-sorted hatchback?

It’s been nine years since you could buy a new Mirage from a Mitsubishi showroom. The Colt took the Mirage’s place from 2004 to 2011, but now the Mirage has returned to take its place at the bottom of Mitsubishi’s local range.

Is it good enough to sell as Mitsubishi expects? Its entry price of $12,990 drive-away is certainly compelling, but after our first drive on local roads we’re not confident that the rest of the package is quite up to snuff.

THE INTERIOR

There’s no way to sugar-coat it. The Mirage’s interior looks and feels cheap.

The doors close with a tinny clunk, the sunvisors are flimsy, the door cards are made entirely out of rock-hard plastic and there’s inconsistent fitment to a lot of the cabin elements.

Other lowlights: a steering column that doesn’t adjust for reach, scratch-prone gloss plastics on the centre stack, manual ventilation controls that look outdated, and a rear bench seat that is flat, unsupportive and generally uncomfortable.

It’s not all bad news though, for even the entry-level Mirage ES comes with a decent level of standard equipment.

Keyless entry, power windows with auto up/down for the driver, a trip meter, height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-upholstered steering wheel a USB input and Bluetooth telephony are all standard on the ES, which makes it one of the better-equipped sub-$13k cars around.

The mid-grade ES Sport adds 14-inch alloys, two more speakers (for a grand total of four) and a rear spoiler, while the range-topping LS gets 15-inch alloys, fog lamps, auto-on headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, push-button ignition, improved seat upholstery and climate control.

Boot space is acceptable at 235 litres, and the 60/40 split rear seatbacks give some extra luggage capacity.

In-cabin storage consists of three cupholders, pockets in the front door, a deep storage tray at the base of the centre stack, and a reasonably sized glovebox with a small exposed tray above it.

ON THE ROAD

The Mirage’s 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol produces 57kW and 100Nm, which is about par with the Nissan Micra and more powerful than the 1.0 litre three-cylinders of the Volkswagen up! and Suzuki Alto.

Only the Holden Barina Spark 1.2 litre four-cylinder produces more power and torque, and even then we’re only talking a 2kW/7Nm advantage.

With only 865kg to haul (that’s even less than the tiny Alto), the Mirage’s engine has adequate grunt for most urban driving situations, although freeway on-ramp acceleration is, predictably, pretty average.

But it’s in noise and vibration where the Mirage’s powertrain loses big marks. This is a coarse powerplant, and the din it creates is almost a match for the absolutely cacophonous engine of the Suzuki Alto.

The manual transmission also generates a significant amount of noise, with plenty of gear whine in every ratio. The experience is not helped by the manual’s notchy and imprecise shift action, nor the clutch pedal’s vague friction point.

The CVT is not much better, with a general indecisiveness that was particularly noticeable on Sydney’s up-and-down suburban roads.

It’s a more liveable transmission than the manual, but at a premium of $2250 (or over one-sixth of the retail price of a Mirage ES manual) it’s an expensive option.

Australian-delivered Mirages get a front anti-roll bar to aid handling as well as Bridgestone Potenza rubber, but unfortunately neither can transform it into a sharp-steering machine. The rack ratio is simply too high, and although the turning circle is an ultra-tight 9.2 metres, you need to twirl the steering wheel quite a bit to go from lock to lock.

The suspension tune is also very soft, to the extent that any kind of hard cornering makes the tyres virtually roll onto their sidewalls. Dynamically, this car is not in the same league as the VW up! or Suzuki Swift.

On a positive note, there’s all the right safety equipment as standard across the range.

All Mirage models get stability control, ABS with EBD, traction control, three-point seatbelts for all seats, pretensioning front seatbelts with height-adjustable pivots, ISOFIX child seat anchorages and six airbags (front, front side and curtain.

FIRST DRIVE VERDICT

Our first impression of the Mirage was not a good one. As far as light hatchbacks go, it’s far from the best.

That said, with special launch-pricing of $12,990 driveaway for the base ES manual, it is absolutely one of the most affordable options out there.

It is also generously specified with standard features and offers five-door convenience.

However, step into the Mirage from any other car and you’ll find it very agricultural. That the Mirage is designed with emerging markets in mind is obvious; the driving experience conjures up memories of small hatches from the 1980s and 1990s.

We’ll be spending a bit more time behind the wheel of the Mirage in coming months, but unless that experience proves more positive, we think there are better buys out there.

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Filed under: Featured, review, Mitsubishi, petrol, hatch, automatic, Manual, fwd, CVT, lifestyle, light, Advice, special-featured, 5door, 5m, mitsubishi mirage, 5seat, available, 2013my, 10-15k

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  • Trav says,
    2 years ago
    20 likes
    Honestly, it may be cheap and tacky, but it does what its meant to do. It doesn't need to be a sports car thrown around corners, its a cheap city car with an impressive safety resume and excellent fuel economy. Throw in the fact its well featured and comes with a good warranty, its a perfect second or city car.
    • CP says,
      2 years ago
      14 likes
      I agree Trav. Compare it to everything else for the price and i doubt you'll find a greater vehicle regardless of the obvious handling shortfalls. For that price alone they might get near the sales target and unlike many other sub $13k cars it has a badge people won't snub.
    • PL says,
      2 years ago
      5 likes
      Bought the auto. Driven for 3 weeks. Apart from the loud noise from the REV that I'm adjusting still, the car seems very okay for the price. One thing disappointing is the fuel consumption. I'm a light footer and drove the car in suburbs; average is 9L/100km -far from what's advertised as combined of 4.9L/100km!
  • Grumps
    Grumps says,
    2 years ago
    Mitsu have always struggled with their dash/stack/console in regards to look and quality. They always look dated.

    Still, on a simple city runabout you can't complain too much although if the engine is as uncouth as suggested, long term ownership may be a no-no sad
  • Shaun says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    You're comparing it to the up! and swift which are more expensive? Obviously they are going to be better...
  • carmad says,
    2 years ago
    The colour is horrendous, and all the ones i've seen at yards are that colour. Very strange choice for promo vehicles. For a straight out city car, it might be a good option. For me, it wouldn't be a consideration. As far as moving more/on par with the Swift per month? I don't believe that will happen.
  • cyclone says,
    2 years ago
    Look at it. The door has a key hole, and not even integrated into the handle. This thing seems as though has been plucked from the back room of an Indian car plant when it was being emptied for demolition after going out of business in 1997. Rubbish. Buy a $13k used car, now there's an idea!!!
  • cyclone says,
    2 years ago
    3 likes
    And thank god the speedo goes up to 200. Why do manufacturers do *** like that??? They could actually make then more legible if they only went up to the maximum legal speed + a little more. This thing couldn't get to 200 with a 120km/h wind behind it
    • I know says,
      9 months ago
      Umm it gets to 185. I tested it. And a key hole is so that if the electrics break down you can still get into your car.
  • Nightshader says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Wasn't the current promo pricing $12990 drive away with $1000 westfield shopping card?
    That's effectively a $11990 drive away car.
    It may look like crap and drive like crap but it will still sell in droves when your competition is the cherry J1
  • DV says,
    2 years ago
    I was actually interested to see how they would transform the Mirage into a modern car, given the previous one was fairly popular but now very dated by today's standards. How disappointing. This looks like a cheap piece of junk, why did they even bother?
  • joeusa says,
    2 years ago
    Where the F is the 2 door? mad
    NONE of these mini cars should be 4 door. & NO ONE on EARTH should be driving an ugly 4 door car, except taxi & police, though in the 50's some American POLICE even drove 2 door marked PATROL cars! When I was in high school in '72, I was forced to drive my dad's old 4 door car. HATED it. My friends all laughed at me. Couldn't WAIT to get rid of it & get ANY 2 door car. Now we all laugh at all YOU young people today in your 4 doors, thinking you look cool, when all you look like are wienies & NERDS with your smart phones. If your friends are too lazy to get in the back seat of a 2 door car, GET NEW FRIENDS!! I'm 70 & I've got FIVE 2 door cars! Wouldn't be caught DEAD in a 4 door!! Especially that ugly as hell POS chevy spark. The 2014 vette don't look much better from the back. Shoot me now!! From 1955 or earlier thru 1977, EVERY SINGLE american car (perhaps foreign too avail in USA) came in a 2 door. But not all in a 4 door.
    Pinto, vega - only 2 door - even the wagons were only avail as SYLISH 2 doors!
    http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1971_Ford/1971%20Ford%20Pinto%20Brochure/1971%20Ford%20Pinto-04.jpg
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/guinnessd/pinto/79pinto/79pinto5.jpg
    http://canneysgarage.canney.net/reference/pictures/wagontrain/ford/1977pinto/1977-Ford-Pinto-Cruising-Wagon-rvl.jpg
    http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2687/4164860087_d71e8a2538_z.jpg
    the ugly base toyota yaris is now avail in just 3 colors
    this next car? 28 (TWENTY EIGHT!!) colors - yep-->
    http://media.caranddriver.com/images/10q4/381747/1971-chevrolet-vega-2300-photo-381789-s-1280x782.jpg
    even cars bigger than today's biggest cops cars were 2 door then
    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3322/4558477909_9131f7d865_z.jpg
    count the doors http://image.popularhotrodding.com/f/34848868/1111phr-01+1970-mercury-cyclone-spoiler+three-qaurters-view.jpg
    and
    http://www.mut8.org/pix/1969-GTO-Judge-Great-ad.jpg
    what a beauty
    http://firsttraderegistry.com/forsale/5_07/70montecarlo/1970%20%20Monte%20Carlo%20014.jpg
    Not 1 of the above headlites will EVER yellow or cloud up or scratch - they are GLASS & cost under $10 to replace.
    Amazing TODAY there is not ONE 2 door car from GM, Ford, or Chrysler under $20k. Glad I'm not a teenager today. My neighbor had TWO 2 door chevy cavaliers, TWO 2 door cobalts, & after several years is STILL waitin for the 2 door Cruise.
    I really think the car manufacturers are FORCING 4 door only cars on today's drivers. Way to fight back? DON'T BUY EM. Like me.
    • Lindsay says,
      2 years ago
      35 likes
      Mate, pour yourself a scotch and chill the **** out.
      • FrugalOne says,
        2 years ago
        16 likes
        Mate, pour yourself a scotch and chill the **** out.


        +1 biggrin

        LOL



    • Mel says,
      1 year ago
      14 likes
      You obviously haven't tried putting kids in their car seats in a 2 door car..
      • Justin says,
        1 year ago
        4 likes
        dude like him won't have children smile cheers!
    • Chris says,
      1 year ago
      3 likes
      You're 70, yet you were in high-school in 1972. I find this...erroneous.
  • Nicole says,
    2 years ago
    11 likes
    I test drove the car yesterday and it was awesome very slick. Nice, comfortable and very affordable compare to the other cars on the market. It is very good for someone that just wants a small car that fits in modern day life.
  • Kelly says,
    2 years ago
    14 likes
    My daughter has just bought this little buggy for her first car to go to tafe,work shops etc was looking at the second hand market round 13-14k why would you even go there 5 yr warranty 5yr RACQ roadside assistant 12 mnths rego ,can't go wrong she loves it smile
  • Sami says,
    2 years ago
    3 likes
    Joe USA - u need to chill out, such a grouchy old man! I had a 2001 Mirage for 10yrs & loved it, best reliable car I have ever had. Would definately look at new ones when ready to move on from my unreliable Holden Astra !
  • don phils. says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    how about the engine of the mirage can it wthstand the test of time? for how long?
    • FrugalOne says,
      2 years ago
      6 likes
      how about the engine of the mirage can it wthstand the test of time? for how long?


      Of course, as long as you give it a oil change every once and a while

      Powertrains are WAY over engineered today, cars have very very few issues and last with heaps of abuse

      • don phils. says,
        2 years ago
        what if the push button ignition switch becomes defective or fails to turn on whats the first thing i will do? is the spare parts for this particular defect always available?
  • Daniel says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    why does this review keep comparing it to the Swift, a whole class above. Its true suzuki competitor is the Alto.I incidentally test drove both today, the mirage is a much better deal,bigger interior and backseat suitable for even adults to sit in, comes with blue tooth and leather wheel, proper switches for all 4 windows and long warranty. Alto, much squeezier inside with a smaller, slower, gruffer feeling engine.
    I suspect Mitsubishi will make the 11990 price point permanent and add the 1.0 3 cyl to the range to go even lower, time will tell.
    • Mike Stevens
      Mike Stevens [TMR] says,
      2 years ago
      3 likes
      Hi Daniel,

      In terms of dimensions, which plays a large part in how VFACTS classifies cars in Australia, the direct Suzuki comparison is the Swift. The alto is noticeably smaller, and is defined in many markets as a 'city car' or a 'supermini', whereas the Mirage and Swift are generally regarded as 'light cars'.

      Granted, none of them share perfectly comparable dimensions, but there's not much you can do about that. The Mirage is overall closer in size to the Swift than it is to the Alto.

      Cheers,

      Mike.
  • Pam says,
    2 years ago
    there is a bit of vibration in the mirage coming from the CVT .my daughter has brought the LS auto if you test drive this car put it in reverse and you will feel it more in that gear , also sometimes when taking off it sometimes it has a delay in the power which is a worry .We need this CVT problem sorted as l feel it's not right .Has anyone else the these hipcups? The exhaust is also noisy
    • FrugalOne says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      there is a bit of vibration in the mirage coming from the CVT .my daughter has brought the LS auto if you test drive this car put it in reverse and you will feel it more in that gear , also sometimes when taking off it sometimes it has a delay in the power which is a worry .We need this CVT problem sorted as l feel it's not right .Has anyone else the these hipcups? The exhaust is also noisy


      Standby for "they all do that" smile

      There is a minor delay from hitting the throttle and take off, it needs to spool up so to speak, its normal

      Go drive a few others and compare

  • Roger says,
    2 years ago
    Where can I can I get the promo where they give you $1000 Westfield cash voucher with the purchase. What else can I get with my purchase? My friend bought one for $12990 and he got mats and headlight protectors but the dealer I went to in south Melbourne wouldn't give me anything.
    • FrugalOne says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      Where can I can I get the promo where they give you $1000 Westfield cash voucher with the purchase. What else can I get with my purchase? My friend bought one for $12990 and he got mats and headlight protectors but the dealer I went to in south Melbourne wouldn't give me anything.


      The $1k voucher was a first 2 week on release offer only, no longer valid, like a auction situation, if don't put your hand up, TOO LATE!

      If you want a great deal on Mitsubishi head to Heidelberg Mitsu., they gave me $1k more than anybody else, no games, no this and that just done the deal

  • Alvin Liang says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    Mate, the car only $13000 drive away , what else you guts want??? Please always remember you pay what you get . I just bought one for my business , I think is fantastic for what I get . Stop be acting like a professor and complaining on a 13k cars or go and get a $130k+ car.
    • Christine says,
      2 years ago
      I bought my Mirage I month ago...One week after I purchased the car there was a recall on it.....Three weeks after that I started having problems with the starter motor..
      Now have to wait for another two weeks for this part to come in...Not happy at all..
  • Tim says,
    1 year ago
    5 likes
    biggrinBought one a week ago. Very grunty, great on fuel and plenty of boot space compared to the competitors. My family love it... Just did a road trip and did 5 litres per 100k and it has not been driven in yet. Bought it for $12000 with 5 years warranty, 5 years fixed price servicing and 5 years roadside assist. A bargain and a very good buy!
    • Bucky says,
      1 year ago
      Tim, how did it go on the freeways and open roads with regards to speed?
  • Marisa says,
    1 year ago
    3 likes
    I bought my LS 2 weeks ago and so far so good. Great for driving around the city & commute to work. I've filled it up once & fuel economy has been awesome. I agree what do people think they are getting for $15k, it's perfect for the price point.
    Great buy smile
    • john says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      My fiance bought her 1st car last Friday and gonna pick it up this Thursday...and its the LS....lucky us it was on sale...and managed to put the price down abitbiggrin ... test drove it..Im not complaining about it... not bad for a small car... saw all the review of the mirage.all cars got ups and downs.. its really depends on the driver how they drive and look after it....smile If others think its rubbish...best solution is not to buy it. smile And if people are not happy with it. Trade it in.. smile
  • Badtux says,
    1 year ago
    2 likes
    It may be a sucky light car. But it's the *only* light car imported into the United States later this year (the rest of what's available here are the size of friggin' limousines and guzzle as much gas). I envy you Aussies the luxury you have of choosing better light cars.
  • Carmel says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    I got the pink car 2 days ago. I drive 17km each way to work on a 110km highway. This car can move, I have to be careful as I have got up to 120km without realising. My husband and his ute were hit by an uninsured driver and his car was written off, so we had to buy something quickly and cheap. This car is perfect for me. It is loud but I listen to my music and sing along so I don't notice the noise. I have just driven it at night and have noticed that there is no light on the gear stick column thing so I can't see to put it in reverse, park etc... Does anyone know if there is a switch to make it light up?
    • cyen says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      Just look on the screen in front of you below the KM or fuel part
  • Mike Thomas says,
    1 year ago
    I purchased my Mirage ES In March. I have done only 1800 km. I use It for travelling In Metro area.

    A reliable, stylish car, 1st gear Is terrible, just enough to get me rolling, It does not like coming around a corner In 2nd and having a hill to confront. I have to change to 1st, (still used to my VR Commodore) having said all that It Is a good car for my purpose, can't find fuel 95 RON, so I have to pay more for 98, not fuel efficient around town, and when I went on open highway could only manage 6.8 L per 100 km.
    • CAZZO says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      I purchased my Mirage ES In March. I have done only 1800 km. I use It for travelling In Metro area.


      1800km in 7 months, [i do that in 2 weeks] sell it is my advice!

      By the time you pay reg., insurance, and depreciation, {$2500/pa] you would save heaps by going by taxi everywhere, or a 60cc scooter

      • Gary Bradford says,
        12 months ago
        1 like
        We bought a 5 speed manual Mirage ES in early June last year (2013), the price, $10,990 with special (at that time) deal discounts. Apart from the price our reasons for buying the Mitsi was (1)Timing CHAIN, not belt drive camshaft. (2)Engine designed to run on RON91 unleaded, not premium (Suzuki, for example specify their car MUST be run on premium unleaded, otherwise engine warranty is jeopardised).(3) 5 star ANCAP safety rating (4) Fuel efficiency,(an increasingly big consideration for personal transportation) (5) The fact that there was a plain White colour car in the line-up of models, (not available in all makes).(6) A generous warranty. After a test drive we were impressed with the ride, standard equipment level and seating comfort for a car of such humble status.
        We are an older couple (60 years +) and have owned some nice cars over our years of driving, several Jags, a Merc, Renault, Subaru, etc, currently we have a Landrover Discovery for the outback trips.
        This little Mitsi Mirage is a gem, we have just completed a 10,000klm round trip to NSW and back to our home in far North QLD at an all round average of 4.9 ltrs/100, (at one stage down to 4.4 l/100)and were never left behind in the traffic, I think a commendable effort by the little 1200cc 3 cylinder engine, it lacks nothing needed.
        So, from some of the previous postings on this site one can see that this great (in my opinion) little car although it will no impress all your friends with its appearance, and is not in the same performance league as cars 2-3 times the price, does not suit everyone. But if you want to have safe, reliable, economical transport, that is not really all that bad to drive, (and I think I have driven some of the real nice cars, and am qualified to comment)then this little gem is the one, we have already put some friends onto their own Mirage and they love it.
        So to coin a previous Mitsubishi advertising "catch phrase" we "Love that Car".
  • nigel says,
    11 months ago
    mad not happy one bit with the mirage,brought it in dec 2013 for the fuel comsumption reason,just had it service today for 1st service and they couldnt find anything wrong with it...i have filled the car up 5 times now and the most i have got out of a tank is 430klms...the avg per/l has never gone below 6.8l/100klms..it is slow on take off,the A/C doesnt feel cold on warm/hot days.would never reccommended one to anyone..bad experience for our 1st brand new car
    • Alice says,
      11 months ago
      That usually happens if you are crap at changing gears.

      You only get as good as you drive.
  • Cosy says,
    11 months ago
    sadMy car is now coming of 1yrs old now and I am sorry but I have had trouble with it the dy I drove out the car car yard with it . I have had trouble with the stero, the air conditioner and the clutch and I am still having trouble which I now have taking it to another company to get the problems in writing to take it to fare trade as I am over taking the car back to get fixed other than that it would be a good small car
  • derek says,
    11 months ago
    Glad I didn't put too much stock in this review. Had my mirage for 2 weeks and it has been perfect for what we need it for - a 2nd city car. Everything has been as expected. Fuel economy is between 6 and 7 l/100 km in the city exactly as expected. You get a lot of features for the price. It is suprisingly roomy with a reasonable boot and plenty of space in the boot. Air conditioning is almost too cold if anything (Brisbane summer). Review doesn't even mention the sweet little gurgle the 3 cylinder engine makes when spin out, it never fails to make me smile. It is perkier than the 57kw would suggest thanks to the very low weight. I'm happy. For the price you can't be unhappy.
  • Bernie van Niekerk says,
    10 months ago
    We have owned a Mirage ES with CVT transmission now for a year and found it excellent. We use it as a second car and mainly around town but have done occasional long trips of 450km in a day, with up to four people on board. Fuel consumption is excellent and while it is no sports car it is fine on the open road at 100km/hr; not noisy at all. Sitting on just under 100km/hr we have achieved 53mpg, which is amazing. The car is also quite roomy inside, just like a Tardis, even though small outside. No problems to report, just totally reliable! Mitsubishi shoul promote this car as an alternative to Hybrids, especially in CVT form. The CVT transmission really makes this car.
  • Rob says,
    9 months ago
    2 likes
    Some of these reviews are a bit suspect...from dealers (?): Bought a 2013 model in February 2104 for $11990 plus the usual extras (mats, 12 mth rego, full tank etc). After a month, I conclude you get what you pay for...everything about the Mirage is a bit tacky, but as I am a light suburban user, it suits me. Gutless, of course (3 cylinder), gears are clunky, and you feel.every.damn.bump. - so I admire Gary Bradford for taking it through F.N.Qld. The sound system (two speakers) is sh*t; the a/c is very, very ordinary. It has a very good turning circle. Roomy too for a little car (but I don't know how reviewers can say the boot is roomy as well). My fuel economy is very good. The Blue Tooth works well. Seats are comfy. I like the leather steering wheel. A silly quibble: the doors open too wide (hard to reach). All the electrics work as they should. It's not pretending to be anything else but the cheapest car on the market, and that's beaut. If you've got plenty of money, or doing a lot of travel, look elsewhere. But for me, so far, so good.
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