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.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) today announced the current Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Mr Masahiko Takahashi, will become President and CEO, following Mr Robert McEniry’s decision to step down as of 31 March 2010, to pursue other business interests. Mr Takahashi has 27 years global experience with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC).
He has worked extensively in Japan, the Middle East and Latin America overseeing marketing, distribution and sales programs for numerous markets across these regions, including the establishment of MMC’s operations in the Middle East. In 2005 Mr Takahashi moved from his position as General Manager Australia and New Zealand Department in MMC to work with Mr McEniry at MMAL. Robert McEniry joined Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd in November 2005 after extensive experience in the global and local automotive industry at General Motors and SAAB and has presided over a period of significant challenge including the company’s transition from a local manufacturer / importer to a successful distributor and retail company.
Mr Takahashi said: “I have come to appreciate the uniqueness of the Australian market over the last four years, and I see significant opportunity for further growth and success of the Mitsubishi Motors operation in Australia, building on the sound base established by Mr McEniry.” “We are seeing strong results across our product range, with both Lancer and Triton reaching all time record sales levels for CY 2009, and the management team is committed to building on that momentum,” Mr Takahashi said. On announcing his decision, Mr McEniry said: “I believe the company and the brand are in great shape, with a very solid foundation for future growth.”