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New Mitsubishi Mirage

By raccars Published

Due to hit dealership forecourts in the next week is Mitsubishi's new supermini, the Mirage. This car turned heads when first previewed in 2011's Geneva Motor Show and is expected to make a significant splash in the ultra-efficient, city car market upon release.

Mitsubishi might be better known for its behemoth Shogun and boy racer favourite, Evolutions, but in its quiet way the Japanese company does small cars rather well. The Mirage is super efficient, with the entire range coming in with emissions figures below 100g/kg and is priced to sell. The economical supermini category is filling up fast and while a Mitsubishi might not be one of the obvious suspects, those searching this market sector would be unwise to overlook the well thought out Mirage.

There are two petrol engines available, a 1.0 litre 70bhp entry-level unit with a five-speed manual gearbox and the posher 1.2 litre 79bhp option, which comes with a choice of a manual or a convenient CVT automatic box. This second, pleasingly lively engine is the more desirable choice – while 11.7 seconds from rest to 60mph and a top speed of 112mph won't win you any races, they stand up very well, compared to market rivals.

This is a car very obviously designed for urban motoring, with suspension, steering and all-round handling geared towards easy parking and low speed agility, rather than motorway cruising. Take it out of its comfort zone and you are likely to be disappointed by the handling and wind-noise at speed, but if that's the sort of motoring you're planning to do, then you probably wouldn't and shouldn't be looking at one of these anyway.

To look at the Mirage is conservatively stylish, while the interior is functional rather than plush – which is what you'd expect from a car costing around £8,000 new. The Mitsubishi looks even cheaper when you examine the running costs. With features such as the engine cutting 'auto stop and go,' a high efficiency alternator, regenerative braking and low friction tyres contributing to those very desirable sub-100g/kg CO2 emissions, you get to avoid road tax and congestion charges and returns of nearly 70mpg mean you'll only rarely have to visit the petrol station.

Comparing the Mirage to sophisticated rivals such as the Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio is unfair and disingenuous. However, next to the much anticipated Dacia Sandero or the Nissan Micra, the Mirage is a very attractive proposition indeed.

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