If there's a car currently being sold that could comfortably sport a Whirlpool badge, the Mitsubishi Mirage would be it. The Mirage is Mitsubishi's A-segment city car, built to a price and with low emissions and excellent fuel economy in mind.

And for that – it doesn't do a bad job. It weighs next to nothing at 845kg and is packed full of features to keep emissions below that 100g/km benchmark (meaning free road tax and congestion charge exemption). These include stop/start and skinny low-friction tyres. It also has a basic eco-drive assist display that shows up to three bars depending on how heavy you're being with your right foot.
Around town it's hard to beat. It's got an excellent turning circle and the top-of-the-range Mirage 3 I tested comes with front and rear parking sensors as standard. Out of town however, things aren't as pleasant. For the occasional motorway use it's fairly competent – the 1.2 engine fitted to all but the base model is fine for getting the car up to speed, although it can be a little unrefined as you get higher up the rev range. Wind noise is also evident and on the motorway it gets blown around a fair bit. Driving in the rain can be a little unsettling, presumably because of a mixture of skinny, low rolling resistance tyres aimed at improving fuel consumption and minimising emissions, combined with a chassis designed to be comfortable around town.

On twisty roads it's obviously not meant to be a Lotus Elise, however it rolls a lot and the steering is extremely vague. Although the Hyundai i20 I reviewed a few weeks ago wasn't entertaining to drive, it felt very safe and easy to place in comparison to the Mirage.
Over 264 miles on a mixture of motorways, A-roads and inner-city London I averaged 43.88 mpg – considerably lower than the official figure of 65.7. Autocar did a similar test and averaged 46.9, but raised the point that their Mirage, like mine, hadn't done many miles so would perhaps loosen up after a while.

The interior is comfortable enough for short journeys, in the front at least. I took my ultra-critical parents for a short drive in it and my father, sat in the back, complained that he could feel every bump. It does have a tendency to get unsettled easily on bumpy roads. For a city car rear leg and head room is good and the boot swallows a decent amount of luggage.
If all you're after is a household appliance then I can see why you'd consider the Mirage, especially at its starting price of £7,999 (including a launch offer of £1,000 off). The biggest issue is the competition - the Mirage 3 I tested costs £11,999, which buys a  very highly-specced car from the Up trio which does the city car thing a lot better. One of the few things the Mirage has got going for it is Mitsubishi's reputation for reliability (and an unlimited mileage warranty), but my test car unfortunately was taken away on a recovery truck when it got stuck in first gear after 900 miles. Only time will tell if this was a one off.

Mitsubishi Mirage 3 1.2

Recommended retail price: £11,999
Top speed: 112 mph
0-62 mph: 11.3 secs
Official combined fuel consumption: 65.7 mpg
CO2 emissions: 100 g/km
Insurance group: 18
Road tax: Band A - £0/year
Servicing: 12,500 miles
Warranty: Three years/unlimited miles
I liked: Ideal city car, comfortable and looks good.
I didn’t like: Unrefined and handling scary at times. Expensive. Are reliability issues a one-off?
 





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