New look, same practicality
No matter how much crossovers and SUVs have become more popular nowadays, it seems there will always be room for sedans in the Philippines. Sure, the prices of most crossovers today may give traditional four-doors a run for their money, but sedans will likely continue to be a popular choice in the country.
Take the Mirage G4 as an example. Essentially the four-door version of Mitsubishi's popular subcompact hatch, it offers more cargo space thanks to a trunk at the back. For the 2022 model year, it has received a pretty extensive facelift. But do the updates actually translate to better value for money? And what did the Mirage G4 get besides an exterior makeover?
Let's start with the most obvious change: the face. Ever since the Mirage G4 made its debut back in late 2013, it has never received a proper facelift. Sure, there was a “rear-lift” that happened in 2018, but that hardly counts as an update. But with this one, it's clear that Mitsubishi was busy.
Thanks to the "Geometry of Cool" design concept, the sedan now comes with neater headlights, a new front bumper, and a huge 'Dynamic Shield' style grille that appears to have been inspired by the Montero Sport. Mitsubishi could have opted for a more subtle update, but it seems they wanted to make the G4 stand out from the rest of the pack. Personally, I like the design direction they're going with
But while we were impressed with the effort made for the new face, the rear left us wanting more. That's because instead of the Mirage G4 being fitted with the new LED taillights like in Thailand, it still has the units from the 2018 update. We're not entirely sure why Mitsubishi decided not to change the taillights (perhaps to keep the price lower?) but we're hoping that Mitsubishi changes them in a future update.
Some of you might have also noticed that his particular GLS looks slightly different compared to a typical Mirage G4. That's because this tester came with exterior accessories. Unlike your standard G4, the one we tested was fitted with an under-grille garnish, front air dams, side air dams, and rear air dams. The result is a sportier and better-looking Mirage G4. But those add-ons do come at a price, and we'll get to that later.
The cabin still looks pretty much the same as before. The piano black accents, three-spoke steering wheel, and automatic climate control panel appear to be carryovers. What's new is the instrument panel which now looks more contemporary than before.
Perhaps the most noticeable upgrade on the Mirage G4 is a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Aside from the usual AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, USB and Aux, the system now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Audio is routed through a four-speaker system which delivered decent sound quality, although it does come with an equalizer for those that prefer to tune the audio quality themselves. Did I mention the touchscreen also doubles as a display for the reverse camera?
Unlike the previous infotainment system, the new touchscreen on the 2022 Mirage G4 has better graphics and a clearer display. Pairing a device was also easy as it was able to easily detect my Android phone. Connecting via Android Auto was also easy as all it took was connecting a data cable to the USB port on the center console.
As for the reverse camera, it gives me a very clear view of what's behind the Mirage G4. While I wish the sedan came with a bigger touchscreen, the one on the Mirage is definitely a big improvement.
Under the hood of the Mirage G4 is (you guessed it) a 1.2-liter naturally-aspirated three-cylinder. The 3A92 engine has powered the sedan since 2013, and it makes 78 PS along with 100 Nm of torque. Since this is the top-of-the-range model, it's coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The powertrain may not have received any updates, but it continues to be one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in the market. The three-cylinder engine is quite eager to rev and delivers power to the pavement easily. The CVT is smooth and keeps the revs low when you're just tooling around town. In light city traffic with an average speed of around 30 km/h, it was able to average around 10.0 – 11.0 km/L. Mind you, I wasn't even trying to drive economically when I was driving between home and work when I had the Mirage G4.
But if you thought that was impressive, the engine was more fuel-efficient on the highway as it was easily able to return 20 km/L. Paired with a 42-liter fuel tank, and the tiny Mirage G4 can cover plenty of kilometers before needing a refill.
When it comes to overtaking with the Mirage G4, however, some patience (and a bit of skill) is needed as the engine doesn't exactly have much torque. Despite weighing in at a light 940 kg, you have to remember it only has three cylinders to work with and is naturally aspirated.
Perhaps if Mitsubishi was able to put a turbocharger, it might give the engine some extra boost and maybe even better fuel economy. With Nissan part of the Alliance, maybe Mitsubishi can ask their fellow Alliance member if they can borrow the Almera's 1.0-liter turbo inline-three in the future. We can dream, right?
Riding comfort is good. Despite being based on a hatchback, it was able to hold its own against bumpy roads and occasional potholes. While it won't be able to deliver a comfy ride like bigger sedans, those that plan to get one will be happy to know that it will not have a jarring ride.
So the Mirage G4 GLS comes with a fresh new face, more standard amenities, and continues to be powered by a fuel-efficient 1.2-liter MIVEC powertrain. It also gets a new touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.
There is a caveat though: the price. Without the kit, this variant already has a suggested retail price of PHP 899,000. That means the Mirage G4 is already knocking on the price of B-segment crossovers. That is also a big difference when compared to its nearest rival: the Suzuki Dzire GL+ which has more features. And we still haven't considered the price of the kit that bumps up the SRP to PHP 916,500
At its current price, the Mirage G4 GLS CVT could be facing an uphill battle. Despite being one of the few locally-produced vehicles in the country, it's actually going to have a difficult time convincing savvy and value-oriented buyers on the showroom floor.
If you can look past the PHP 899,000 price tag and look at the vehicle for what it has, it's actually a well-built, quality vehicle that can take you from point A to point B with no fuss. But with other sedans (and crossovers) offering more for less, you might be better off with the GLX variants for much less. Then again, Mitsubishi dealers are very aggressive with discounts, so check with your nearest one if there's a good deal up for grabs.