It might not be a particularly fashionable viewpoint for a motoring journalist to take, but I quite like our long-term Mitsubishi Mirage.
After all, the compact city car has struggled to impress in the four years it’s been on sale, with critics not slow to point out its perceived failings.
As I say, I’m a fan, however. True, it might be because my requirements on the automotive front are fairly straightforward these days. With a 20-minute hop to the office from home and the odd longer trip at weekends, the car is more than adequate.
And if my wife and I do want to go further afield, well, we can always take her ASX, the roomy and capable crossover from the same manufacturer…
Anyway, back to the Mirage – and I’d venture to suggest that another factor that has made life difficult for the car is the fact that it’s up against some seriously tough competition.
The Skoda Citigo and Suzuki Swift are key among its competitors, not to mention the VW up! and Seat Mii. All offerings with plenty to recommend them.
So should you add Mirage into the mix if you’re shopping around for something compact and convenient? In our view, it’s definitely worth a look.
There’s certainly nothing to frighten the horses in terms of tech and functionality, meaning it would be ideal for a new driver or one of somewhat, ahem, advancing years.
The dashboard layout is simple; all-round visibility is good; and a real boon to me (as I live in a cramped cul-de-sac jam-packed with parked cars) is that the turning circle is positively minuscule making manoeuvrability a breeze.
The heated seats are great in winter; I don’t feel at all cramped even though I’m just over 6ft tall; and there’s space for a couple of bags of shopping in the boot (but not much more). Keyless entry and start are very handy features and Mitsubishi is a brand well-known for reliability, so you shouldn’t be left crying on a hard shoulder somewhere if you decide to get one.
What’s not to like? Well, the driving experience is not particularly involving. The engine note is just, well, a bit odd to my ears (particularly when you change gear) and the odd splash of colour would be welcome in the interior – at least in our example – just to brighten things up a bit.
The best things come in small packages, they say – and although the Mirage might not be the top-performer in the compact car stakes, it’s definitely in contention. Try it, you might like it.
Model: Mitsubishi Mirage Juro
Engine: 1.2-litre, petrol manual
Power: 79bhp, 106Nm
Max speed: 112mph
0-60mph: 11.5 seconds
Mpg: 65.7 (combined)
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Finding out that the little Mirage has more to it than meets the eye