Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Kelvin Christian Go | posted September 26, 2016 18:40
Better the second time around
The Mitsubishi Mirage may be a small car, but what it lacked in size, it made up for generous equipment levels. First introduced in 2013, it proved to be quite a hit with its compact size, fuel-efficient powertrain and decent cargo space. It had the makings of a high value, high content A-segment contender.
For 2016, Mitsubishi gave the hatchback a mid-cycle refresh. With it comes a new face and new standard features. All well and good, but the new additions means an increase in price. Will the restyled exterior and new levels of equipment justify the price hike? Let's find out.
Let's begin with the exterior revisions. Clearly visible on the 2016 Mirage is its reworked front fascia. Mitsubishi did away with the soft-edged, friendly face and instead, opted for a slightly more mature look. The new headlights and bigger front grill spices things up for the hatchback, along with the chrome-trimmed front bumper. This being the range-topping GLS, it comes standard with HID illumination which makes for better visibility during night driving.
Also installed on the Mirage are the LED taillights which are exclusively availabe only to the top-of-the-range variants. Perhaps my most favorite update on the hatchback are the new 15-inch two-tone alloy wheels. Compared to the pre-updated GLS, the two-tone alloys perfectly matches with the Mirage's bolder aesthetics in my opinion.
The pre-facelift Mirage had a pretty average interior; ergonomic but rather dull. For 2016 however, it appears Mitsubishi decided not to skimp on cabin ambiance. Splashes of piano black trim have been applied on the bottom section of the steering wheel, door handles and transmission gate, making the Mirage look more upscale. Also getting a slight tweak is the instrument panel. The gauges are now illuminated and look sportier than before.
It also gets new fabric seats which are slightly comfier. The rear seats have generous legroom, though taller occupants may feel cramped due to the limited headroom. Still, the Mirage offers ample elbow room, which is nice, especially when you have three passengers in the back.
As before, the 6.5-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system makes its way in GLS Mirage, along with automatic climate control. The former still supports USB, Aux, CD, AM/FM radio and Bluetooth handsfree telephony. New to the system, however is the tire pressure monitoring system. GPS navigation via SD card is also available on the GLS.
Hard plastic is still used throughout the cabin but do remember that the Mirage is still a budget car meant for everyday use. But it's nice to see that Mitsubishi was able to make the cabin look and feel slightly more premium.
Providing power to the Mirage is the familiar 1.2-liter 3A92 MIVEC three-cylinder engine. The motor still delivers 78 PS at 6000 rpm along with 100 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Available transmissions are the 5-speed manual gearbox and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which this particular model has.
Strolling around town, the powertrain is smooth and is well-matched to the lightweight body. The Mirage's 1.2-liter motor is not exactly built for speed, but with MIVEC in play, the engine was able to deliver adequate acceleration.
Hatchbacks tend to have a bouncy ride thanks in part to a short wheelbase. The Mirage, however, was able to deliver a pliant ride. It is also a nimble car to chuck around corners, but with a soft suspension, there is evident body roll during spirited driving. Nonetheless, the Mirage is a car that is fun to drive around the city with its small footprint and very compact size.
The 2016 Mirage may have a new face and updated features, but what remains the same is the car's frugality. At a steady 90 km/h along expressways, the Mirage was able to average 18 km/l. Around the city, it can easily average 12 km/l. When faced with rush hour traffic, the Mirage's fuel consumption will hover around 9 – 10 km/l.
Retailing for PhP 713,000, the price of the 2016 Mirage has gone up slightly. Does the price jump justify the updates made for this minor model change? Maybe, since you do get a revised interior and is still one of the few budget hatchbacks in the market today that comes fully loaded with features. GLS models will even come with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distributuon (EBD), emergency stop signal, front dual SRS airbags and a brake override system.
But with the top-spec models of the Hyundai Eon, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Celerio and Toyota Wigo averaging between PhP 500,000 to PhP 600,000, the top-spec Mirage GLS is not particularly cheap. With that said, the lesser GLX variants are more budget friendly as the CVT model retails for only PhP 603,000. Of course some features like the brake override system, GPS navigation and front stabilizer bar are not present in GLX models.
In conclusion, the 2016 Mirage GLS is a quality car that feels like it could compete in a larger segment thanks to a host of standard equipment. The price jump may come as a shock for some, but for those that want an A-segment hatch with features seen on upscale cars, this is something worth looking into.
All in all, Mitsubishi was able to make something that was already good, into something even better.