Buyers surfing the info line for a new very small car are generally not looking for power or performance. Sticker price and safety are the focus and top of the pile of recent releases has to be the Mitsubishi Mirage.

The entry-level Mirage 1.2-litre ES hatch with a five-speed manual hits the streets at $12,250, plus on-road costs, automatic transmission adds $2000 to the price, the topline LS CVT hatch further $1000.

Closest rival is the Suzuki Celerio 1.0-litre hatch at $12,990 drive away; others form a queue right up to thirty-grand-plus.

Mitsubishi Mirage is not short on the latest in automotive comfort and convenience.

There is keyless entry, control switches are conveniently located on the steering wheel with integrated phone and audio buttons, Bluetooth with audio streaming, while the LS (our test vehicle) features cruise control and climate-control on the air-conditioning.

A full five-year / 100,000 kilometre new car warranty, four-year capped price servicing, cut by $270 over four years, and five-year roadside assist. Service intervals are 15,000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

A major part of the recent Mirage makeover includes a striking new front grille with chrome accents, redesigned bonnet and front bumper. The back bumper also comes in for interesting work and the wheel design is new. It has rear privacy glass.

Front foglamps increase visibility in poor weather and a brake lamp on the rear roof-mounted spoiler signals the driver’s intentions.


An almost-all-black interior colour scheme is offset by piano black and chrome highlights. Quality black seat trim is included with improved comfort for passengers in the rear seats, there’s new cushion stitching.

The passenger side sunvisor also adds a vanity mirror with a lid and ticket holder.

Instrumentation has been upgraded with the LS gaining a new high-contrast meter with white back lighting, an outside air temperature reading and illuminated gearshift panel. Bluetooth means connectivity is on hand.

The tiny 1.2-litre three-cylinder 12-valve engine puts out maximum power of 57 kW at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 100 Nm at 4000 rpm on regular unleaded (91 RON) petrol. Fuel tank capacity is 35 litres.

Six airbags contribute to the revised Mirage walking off with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

ABS anti-skid brakes with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, and emergency stop signal, reduce the risk of occupants harm.


A skinny 57 kW of power at a high-revving 6000 rpm is enough to push the lightweight, at 895 kg, around city streets with relative ease. As you would expect increasing load does penalise performance.

Outside city limits the Mirage takes to the open road with ease, eating up the kilometres nicely – for this class, that is.

It’s not that instrumentation is sparse, it’s just that there is no colour screen information display on the dashboard. However, after a while apart from the absence of satellite navigation, I didn’t miss it: less clutter.

Two digital strips, knobs and buttons were enough to operate the radio and climate-control air-con, with phone and audio controls, plus cruise control, duplicated on the multi-function three-spoke steering wheel.

With seating for five(at a squeeze) in new upgraded trim, plus cushioned rear seats, passengers benefit from plenty of shoulder width up front, average knee room in the rear and good headroom all round.

Cargo space, at 235 litres, is a tad tight when the rear seatbacks are up.

There’s nothing unreal about the Mirage. What you see is what you get: a smart, safe small vehicle that does not make much of a purchasing skid mark on the wallet, it is still one of Australia’s cheapest cars to own and operate.


Mirage ES hatch: $12,250 (manual), $14,250 (CVT)
Mirage LS hatch: $15,250 (CVT)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES (Mirage LS CVT hatch)
15-inch two-tone alloy wheel design with chrome surround – new
1.2L DOHC MIVEC petrol engine
Continuously variable transmission with INVECS III Smart Logic
Electric power steering
Active Stability Control
Anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, emergency stop signal
Driver and passenger front airbags, side and curtain airbags
Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming and voice control
Steering wheel with audio and phone controls
AM/FM CD player with USB and auxiliary input, 4 speakers
Piano black accent on gear shift – new
Piano black accent around window switches – new
Chrome accent on climate control – new
Illuminated gear shift – new
High contrast meter – new
Outside air temperature – new
Cruise control
Privacy glass
Climate control air-conditioning
Leather bound gearshift
Chrome and silver interior accents
Front fog lamps

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2-litre, 3cyl DOHC MIVEC petrol hatchback)

Capacity: 1.200 litres
Configuration: Three cylinders
Maximum Power: 57 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 100 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.9 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission with INVECS III Smart Logic

Length: 3796 mm
Wheelbase: 2450 mm
Width: 1665 mm
Height: 1510 mm
Kerb Mass: 895 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 35 litres
Turning circle: 9.2 metres

Five years / 100,000 km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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