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Mitsubishi’s budget-focused Mirage has emerged victorious over Drive’s long-time Car of the Year city car champion, the Volkswagen Polo.
Against the judging criteria Mitsubishi’s Mirage was unanimously found to tick all the boxes – and for a considerably smaller sum than that of the German five-door.
The Mirage is priced from just $12,990 plus on-road costs, though the Japanese brand is currently doing deals from only $11,990 drive-away. That’s pretty hard to argue with, given the comfort, practicality and equipment offered in the pint-sized Mirage.
Judges praised the Mirage for its ride comfort, its light, city-friendly steering and small turning circle, the fact it’s fitted with the full complement of safety equipment (six airbags, stability control), its Bluetooth-equipped stereo system, and the thrifty and perky three-cylinder engine. The ES model we tested was fitted with the CVT automatic transmission (priced from $14,490, plus on-road costs), and judges praised the pairing as being “ideal for running around the ‘burbs”.
“The Mirage meets all the requirements for not a lot of money,” one judge stated.
It wasn’t all roses for the Mirage – its interior presentation was criticised for being drab and lacking attention to detail, and the amount of engine noise was questioned by some of our experts.
“It looks a bit cheap inside, and you can tell it has been built to a price,” one judge said.
But in the end it was found to offer a convincing package that has strong ownership credentials on its side, including four years of fixed price servicing (at just $250 per 15,000km/12 month visit), and a five-year, 130,000km warranty.
There’s no doubting the carryover champion, Volkswagen’s Polo 77TSI, is a polished and impressive car. But at $21,490 plus on-road costs it’s heading into territory occupied by bigger – and, frankly, better – vehicles. VW Australia is currently running a $21,490 drive-away deal for the dual-clutch automatic version we tested.
Our judges were again impressed by the refined nature of the VW, from its smooth 1.2-litre turbo four-cylinder engine to its comfortable ride and trusty steering. It may be small but it feels like a bigger, more mature car to drive.
The engine does require premium unleaded fuel, though, and the dual-clutch automatic isn’t without its quirks – and question marks. The impressively low fuel economy largely covers that off, although the Mirage is lower again.
Trition was the standout performer, posting a sales record for April with 1,840 units across 4×4 and 4×2 models. The Triton 4×4 product line proved popular with 1,245 units, an exceptional growth of 80 percent from April 2010, 14 times greater than the segment growth of 5.7 percent.
Challenger recorded outstanding growth despite a 19.5 percent downturn in the medium SUV segment, posting a 59 percent improvement over April 2010.
Lancer recorded a solid month with 1,468 units while the ASX continues to grow with 477 units.
MMAL continued the all-time records with year-to-date figures of 20,592 for imported vehicle sales in the January to April period, a notable six percent increase on 2010. This increase was in contrast to the total market volume which fell 3.2 percent for the same period.
Vice president of sales, Anthony Casey said he was pleased with the positive sales results for April 2011.
“Mitsubishi ended April with solid sales across the board. Our sales are continuing to build on a consistent basis, proving that our product range meets customer’s needs,” said Casey.