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Mitsubishi Mirage

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2/10

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Road Test

Mitsubishi Mirage driven

Driven June 2013

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This is Mitsubishi's new bargain-basement supermini, and it's truly, profoundly terrible. The steering is slow and vague. It rolls extensively. Grip levels are non-existent. Every lump and ruffle in the road is transmitted directly to your backside. It's inexcusably noisy. Hell, there's so much slack in the steering that you can't tell which way the wheels are pointing...

Things don't improve elsewhere. Admittedly, there is a lot of kit - electric windows, USB connection, climate control and keyless entry are standard on our top-spec 3 - but they don't disguise the irredeemably cheap fabrics or brittle-feeling plastics. The hard, unsculpted seats look and feel like they've been lifted straight out of a circa-1991 Peugeot 106, and the headlining's so thin, you could probably read through it.

Then there's the price. Starting at £7,995 - a terrifying £12,999 for the 3 CVT auto - it lurches into Skoda Citigo, Kia Rio and Fiat Panda territory. And they're the sorts of cars that make you wonder if, even at the constrained-means end of the market, there is such a thing as a lemon any more.

It does, however, have a partially redeeming feature - both the 70bhp 1.0-litre and 79bhp 1.2-litre 3cyl petrol engines duck below the 100g/km of CO2 tax threshold, so there's no annual VED to pay. Combined with a featherweight 845kg mass and low drag coefficient, the smaller engine also manages a gallant 70.6mpg and 92g/km CO2. It's also got the tightest turning circle in its class, and improves on its predecessor's (the Colt) bootspace by 75 litres to 235.

Unfortunately, that doesn't even begin to compensate for its dynamic and tactile misgivings, not to mention the simple fact that, apart from a slight difference in fuel economy and one fewer seat (the Citigo GreenTech does 68.9mpg and carries four), its competitors beat it at every step.

If you want super-cheap motoring, buy a Dacia Sandero and put dodgy road manners down to the £5,995 price. If you want something more refined, buy a Citigo. It feels infinitely better bolted together, is nearly as efficient, has 16 more litres of bootspace, and you get satnav. But whatever you do, avoid this.

Matt Jones

The numbers
1193cc, 3cyl, FWD, 79bhp, 78lb ft, 70.6mpg, 96g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 11.7secs, 112mph, 845kg

The verdict
Expensive, slow, horrid to drive and worse than its rivals. A mass of metal without sense or relish

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