Mitsubishi Mirage

Juro 1.2

Mitsubishi Mirage, front
Mitsubishi Mirage, side
Mitsubishi Mirage, front
Mitsubishi Mirage, rear
Mitsubishi Mirage, rear
Mitsubishi Mirage, boot
Mitsubishi Mirage, interior
Mitsubishi Mirage, interior
Mitsubishi Mirage, engine

MITSUBISHI are known in the UK mainly for their pick-up trucks and large, rugged 4x4s such as the Outlander and the Shogun.

But while anything in between has largely been ignored, the niche Japanese car maker has always had something on offer right at the other end of the spectrum, in the small car market.

Those with long memories may recall the rather sporty looking Colt of the early nineties.

A one-time housemate of mine had one and I thought it had a look of the hot-hatch about it. I can't say whether it had the performance to match because I never got to ride in it before he moved out. Perhaps it was something I said?

The Colt remained in the Mitsubishi stable until 2013 before being pensioned off - although by then it had morphed into a more grown-up, practical little motor.

Its replacement was the wistfully named Mirage. But for many the new model was hamstrung from the off by somewhat dated looks - seemingly designed to restrict its appeal to the purple-rinse brigade.

That all changed this year, though, with a thorough reworking which has brought the new-look Mirage, now called the Mirage Juro, bang up to date and given it a much more youthful feel.

The revamped version benefits from re-styled front and rear ends with the sharper looking nose featuring a prominent mesh grille, lots of chrome trim and a muscular ‘power bulge' in the bonnet, while at the back there's a stylish roof spoiler.

With just one engine available in the shape of a three-cylinder petrol unit pushing out a modest 79ps, though, performance is not quite as exciting as the new look.

Paired with a compact and smooth five-speed manual transmission in my test car - there's also a CVT auto available - it lacked any real pull at the low end, with 0-62mph coming up in a fairly pedestrian 11.7 seconds.

The tiny three-pot power pack also makes a lot of noise under acceleration and when revved hard - which you have to do to make real progress on the open road.

To be fair, though, this is a motor which is built to be driven around town most of the time and here it is a much quieter, relaxing proposition.

The Mirage is definitely set up for comfort and the incredibly light steering and supple suspension make manoeuvring in tight city traffic an absolute doddle.

The pay-off for that, though, is that the steering can feel a little vague and and the body does roll around a bit when when taking on faster corners - although active stability control is fitted as standard and should offer some peace of mind in such circumstances.

Inside, the layout remains much the same. Most of the plastics are solid and unyielding but some gloss black finishes and silver trim add interest and lift the perceived quality.

Head and legroom is pretty good all round for a small car, with only those of 6ft or more likely to feel cramped in the back, while the boot, at 175 litres, is good for a few shopping bags and includes a useful hidden under-floor cargo box.

With just one trim level to go with the one engine, potential Mirage buyers have very few choices to make. The only things to ponder, other than manual or automatic, are what colour to have and whether to plump for the optional leather upholstery.

Fortunately most of the essentials, and a few extras usually reserved for bigger cars, are included, with keyless entry and ignition, electric windows and wing mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, heated front seats, cruise control, hill hold assist and USB and Bluetooth connectivity all coming as standard.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi Mirage Juro 1.2

Price: £11,554

Mechanical: 79ps, 1,193cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:112mph

0-62mph: 11.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 100g/km

Bik rating:17%

Warranty: 5yrs/62,500 miles

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