Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted June 28, 2013 13:36
Putting the G4 through its paces
A year after Mitsubishi revived the Mirage nameplate comes a follow up, this time in the form of the Attrage compact sedan. The Attrage nameplate is actually a portmanteau of the words ‘Attractive Mirage’. For the Philippine market, however, Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corporation (MMPC) decided on ditching the name due to a possibly negative connotation of the name for the local market, and thus the decision to use the name 'Mirage G4' instead.
Designers decided to polish up the design of the G4 as it would now be competing with sedans in the subcompact B-segment. The front-end design of the Mirage G4 is very consistent with current trends in the segment which features brilliant-cut, diamond shape headlamps, a chrome lipped grille and other details. The side features a rather tasteful extension into a sedan, whereas other models look like hatchbacks with trunks as afterthoughts, though I am still not a fan of the lift-type door handles. The rear balances off the car very well with an ample treatment of chrome on the trunk garnish and the Mitsubishi emblem.
The interior is inherited directly from the hatchback; very straightforward and functional while having a good feel for an econobox car.
The same 1.2-liter 3-cylinder MIVEC is carried over from the hatchback as with the CVT and manual gearbox. For city use, the engine is quite able, giving the car the ease to maneuver through traffic while enjoying a little spirited driving on open stretches of road. It handled uphills with ease as well, although perhaps a 1.5-liter engine variant wouldn’t hurt.
In the one of the product presentation tables, it did show a possibility for an 'additional variation' of a high grade variant, which hints of a higher displacement version in the works. Our assumptions would point to either the high-output 1.3-liter 4A90 rated at 95 PS and 125 Nm or the 1.5-liter 4A91 rated at 109 PS and 143 Nm.
On the test course, the CVT was more on the 'spirited' side, keeping the revs relatively high; something that would definitely hurt overall fuel efficiency. But with a manufacturer claimed fuel consumption figure of 22km/liter, I would think it performs more on the civilized side when it comes to normal driving conditions. The manual transmission inherited the same rubbery shifting feel from the hatchback and didn’t feel as smooth for a Japanese car.
Suspension and handling
The suspension retains the same McPherson struts for the front and multilink beam for the rear with retuned dampers and springs. The significantly longer wheelbase allows for better stability and better ride comfort.
Compared to the hatchback, the sedan feels a bit looser on tight cornering due to the overhang from the trunk. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t maneuver. On fast corners however, it doesn’t feel as stable due to the higher center of gravity, given that it was the tallest car in the economy sedan class (Mitsubishi had examples of competitor cars on hand for reference) standing at 1515mm.
Interior room and cargo space
Very noteworthy was how Mitsubishi engineers cleverly configured the relatively small car to be really spacious. It boasts of having a total leg room (front and rear) of 1,725mm, making the G4 roomier than a Lancer EX or a Honda Civic from the larger C-segment, therefore significantly more than a Toyota Vios. It however loses to the Almera which is a significantly longer and much heavier car. Trunk capacity measures in at 450 liters, a good 30 liters more than a Lancer EX. It loses out to the Vios which holds up to 475 liters but is not too far off an Accent which has a capacity of 459 liters.
To give a better sedan feel engineers also improved on the cabin noise, lowering it by at least 2 decibels. This was done by using a thicker windshield, using more insulation and sound dampeners. On top of that, they also used upgraded engine and CVT mounts and a larger muffler for better sound and vibration control. Despite these additions as well as a larger body, the car manages to stay under 1,000kg weighing in at 930kg; way below the competition.
Despite being an economy car, the G4 is well-equipped with a comfort access key, leather seats and an entertainment system with an LCD screen for the top spec variant.
G4 on the way
The new Mirage G4 is a well-engineered city car that is spacious and carries a fair amount of cargo for the urban motorist. Despite being equipped with a relatively small engine, Mitsubishi engineers concentrated on making the car as light as possible. The Mirage G4 that will target first-time car buyers and aims to build brand loyalty for future vehicle purchases.
Thailand production of Attrage right-hand drive units has already commenced with the Thai launch expected in a few weeks time. The upcoming Philippine-market, left-hand drive Mitsubishi Mirage G4 will be launched in the last quarter of 2013.