Mitsubishi is the least well known of the Japanese manufacturers thanks to a limited model range and rather niche appeal. High performance saloons and pick-up trucks aside, Mitsubishi has struggled to compete head on with competitors, which might just explain why the Mirage lies somewhere in between a city car and a supermini.
Given that the Mirage needs to attract new customers to the brand initial impressions are disappointing. The Mirage looks old from day one whilst also being bland, which is disappointing given the more assertive styling of the slightly larger Colt that this car replaces. Matters aren’t helped by the rear spoiler and front fog lights, which look like cheap aftermarket additions.
Inside things are slightly better thanks to a dashboard that is simply designed and well laid out. Once again though it is a bit dull, especially next to some of the more flamboyant offerings in this class. One area where the little Mitsubishi does score well is practicality, with five doors and 235 litres of boot space it offers a little more room than most city cars.
Although style was clearly missing from the brief, fuel economy was a clear focus of development. The Mirage is very light, and is aerodynamically efficient. This allows the 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine to achieve sub-100 g/km CO2 emissions. The most efficient model comes with a CVT automatic gearbox, but the manual version achieves very similar fuel economy, is cheaper and is a bit quicker too.
The Mirage offers good practicality, efficiency and in ‘3’ spec is well specified as standard. However compared to the class leaders it lacks style and panache and looks more like a model at the end of its life cycle than the start.