Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Devon test drives a budget commuter car from Mitsubishi

If cheap and cheerful are what you are looking for in a car, then the Mitsubishi Mirage should be on your short list. However, with so many good second hand options out there for the same price does buying one prove to be a false economy?

Performance: It makes due with a tiny 1.2 three-cylinder which offers zippy acceleration around town and on light highway driving. The sole purpose of buying the Mirage is its low running costs and it does costs peanuts to run.  

Ride & handling: Mildly updated for 2017. Ride comfort has always been a positive for the Mirage but handling has been lackluster at best due to the overly soft suspension. This time around things aren’t bad and they aren’t great still, but for the price who can complain? The steering is still numb though.

Refinement: The 1.2 three-cylinder emits a distinct hum when accelerating that only becomes annoying when revved hard. It doesn’t really help either that the engine never sounds relaxed at highway speeds making long journeys tiresome. There’s enough wind noise to make you think that one of the doors isn’t fully shut.

In the cabin: The dashboard layout is pretty much straight forwards. Some of the graphics in the touch screen infotainment system looks like this car was built to a price. Many of the menus can be distracting and take a little bit of effort to navigate through. The front seats offer decent comfort but the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach. Rear seat passengers will beg to share some of the space out in legroom. The boot is about average for this class.

Equipment: All trims come well equipped. GT trim adds rear-view camera, bi-xenon headlamps and push button start. The most sensible is the ES trim if you are looking for the Mirage to be a commuter car. Others will be much more satisfied with the SE which also adds alloy wheels, push button start and Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile device. The less you pay for the Mirage the better. If you’re willing to dish the cash for the GT you’ll loathe it for the simple fact that there are much better options for the same amount of cash.

Overall: The Mirage is one of those cars that you’ll pick one because it was affordable to buy with decent discounts. It costs peanuts to run and has been mildly improved over its previous generation. However, it still falls short of more expensive but much better overall options. There are plenty of second hand options out there that are just as good and they are more flexible. You’d buy this because let’s face it. It’s a cheap car to buy and run, plus it’s very reliable. What more do you need in a commuter car?

Likes: Low running costs. If you’re looking for a cheap commuter car this is money in the bag. Standard features list is impressive for the price.

Dislikes: It’s not very satisfying to drive. The GT trim almost seems like an false economy.

Devon’s Pick: Choose the SE trim because you get decent kit at a decent price. Paying any more than that is just plain silly.

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