The Mitsubishi Mirage: a car to file under ‘cars you didn’t think were still available to buy new.’
Well, it is, and according to Mitsubishi, the 2019 Mirage is offered at a “competitive price point right in the heart of the small car segment”. But is it?
You can buy a Mitsubishi Mirage 3 for £11,295 – which is £1,000 less than the outgoing Mirage Juro. But that’s hardly cheap for a small car dating back to 2012, albeit with a ‘facelift’ in 2016. The Mirage 4 costs £13,355 with a manual gearbox or £14,020 with a torpid-o-matic CVT.
And while it’s true that 11 grand isn’t a huge amount of cash for a new car – especially when the Ford Fiesta range starts from £14,000 – things begin to fall apart when you discover what else you can buy for that kind of money.
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
The most obvious alternative is the Dacia Sandero, with its headline-grabbing £6,995 price tag. Even in Comfort trim, the Sandero costs just £8,795 – not bad for a car that’s longer, wider and taller than the Mirage, has a larger boot, and a far superior infotainment system.
Dacia’s new Essential trim for the Sandero really shows up the poor value of the Mitsubishi, though. As its name suggests, it includes ‘essential’ items such as air con, DAB radio, electric front windows, body-colour bumpers and 15-inch wheel trims… yet costs just £7,795. That’s £800 more than the base Sandero… and £3,500 less than the cheapest Mirage.
But what if you don’t need something as large as the Sandero? The Skoda Citigo – widely considered to be one of the best city cars on the market – costs upwards of £9,235 as a five-door, with even the well-equipped SE L boasting the more powerful 75PS 1.0 engine coming in just £155 more than the Mirage.
Alternatively, opt for the bonkers but brilliant Monte Carlo edition, which weighs in at £11,535 in three-door guise or £11,885 as a more-door. It will remind you that you do have a pulse. You can thank us later.
The Citigo might be smaller than the Mirage, but with a 251-litre boot, it offers 16 litres more luggage capacity than the Mitsubishi.
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
You could also look at the Ford Ka+, which (coincidentally?) is priced from £11,295, is of a similar size, and is pitched at a similar audience. In terms of a feel-good factor, the Ka+ is leagues ahead of the Mirage, even if it doesn’t have the character and charm of the original Ka.
That’s three realistic alternatives without even trying.
Anyone interested in the Mirage will almost certainly find something to like about the Suzuki Celerio. Even the well-equipped SZ3 model costs a penny under £10,500, while the SZ2 is priced at just £8,999. Madness.
Right now, the entry-level Suzuki Ignis SZ3 is available for £10,499, while the mid-spec SZ-T could rival the Mirage with a little haggling. Heck, even the much-better-than-you-would-believe Baleno is on offer at £11,499.
This Charmless Man
We’re not saying that the Mitsubishi Mirage doesn’t have its positives. Up to 55.4mpg WLTP fuel economy from its 1.2-litre petrol engine is perfectly adequate and the five-year/62,500-mile warranty is reassuring.
The specification of the Mirage 4 also ticks most of the boxes: sat-nav, DAB, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, climate control, cruise control, heated front seats, bi-xenon headlights, rear parking sensors and 15-inch alloy wheels is a tidy package.
And it’s fair to say that, in the case of the Aygo, 108 and C1, you’d have to spend considerably more to get your hands on such niceties.
We’ll also concede that many Mirage owners would be prepared to live with the car’s lacklustre dynamics and coma-inducing driving experience. But surely it’s impossible to gloss over the charmless styling?
It’s true that there’s no such thing as a bad new car in 2019. But not all cheap cars are created equal.