In 2013, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines launched the Mirage in the local market. At the time, I thought it was a sensational product. Initially available as a hatchback, it looked cute with its array of bright and funky colors. I sometimes imagined owning one and giving it simple mods like black Rota Grid wheels and Ralliart mud flaps.
At a car show, the name of which I cannot remember, I was able to test-drive one. It was a yellow unit with a manual transmission. I was surprised by how peppy the engine was, and how it seemed to be rather energetic especially in third gear. It was also the darling of the industry with customers flocking to showrooms because of its affordable sticker price and reportedly low running costs.
Fast forward to today and the tides have changed for the Mirage. It appears that sales of the G4 have overtaken the hatchback variant’s, which is probably why the former received the Dynamic Shield treatment first. It seems that it is no longer the dominant force it once was, having to fight against newer counterparts like the Hyundai Reina and the Kia Soluto, as well as base variants of the larger Toyota Vios.
But there is still a compelling case for the Mirage G4 especially now that its updates have somehow answered the call for a little more style and tech. The latter is addressed by the seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sound quality is not really outstanding, but that is nothing the aftermarket industry cannot fix. The bottom line is, I can connect my phone and have everything displayed on the center console.
As for the Dynamic Shield face, here is the thing. It works on the Montero Sport, the Strada, and the Xpander because they also seem to be made up of straight lines and sharp angles. On the other hand, the Mirage and Mirage G4 look liked they were carved from a jellybean. The rounded headlights of pre-facelift models matched their curvy profile.
Sadly, Dynamic Shield does not belong on the Mirage. It really does not work, given how the rest of the car remains largely untouched. There is a lack of harmony in the look, and I would have hoped for a more subtle iteration of Mitsubishi’s new face. View the G4 from the rear or the sides and you do not really see it, but look at it from both front quarters and the lack of cohesion is quite obvious.
Probably one saving grace of the facelift is the new wheel design. The dual spokes and the concave look certainly do their job of linking the front and rear ends together.
While I found the Mirage with the manual transmission quite engaging to drive, the car’s behavior changes drastically with the CVT. Mechanical losses are more apparent thanks to the “slipping” nature of CVTs. The 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine now feels less eager to perform, but that is kind of expected given that there is only 77hp to play with.
The motor has a low-frequency drone even at high revs, so it does not feel like it is labored. But really, nobody buys a G4 to set the tarmac ablaze. Operate it in a more relaxed manner and the car can sip go juice to the tune of 22.823km/L according to Mitsubishi’s own assessment. But if you want something that will give a little bit of spice to your drive, the Honda Brio is the more spirited model.
While the Mirage G4 remains a decent product, its age really works against it. The doors, for example, have to be closed with a little nudge as they don’t weigh enough to snap shut with just a gentle tug. The door and trunk-opener buttons are simply repurposed keyholes (the GLS has a proximity key). I cannot say it feels cheap, but similarly priced yet newer models like the Brio and the Soluto seem to have a more solid feel.
So, is the updated G4 still a decent buy? It definitely is. Being in the market for almost a decade means that parts are easy to find, and the car will not be a problem to service. It is comfortable, easy to drive, and has decent standard equipment (plus points for that Apple and Android compatibility). And if those things are all you expect from your money, then there is no need to look elsewhere but your nearest Mitsubishi dealer.
MITSUBISHI MIRAGE G4 GLS
|1.2-liter three-cylinder gasoline
|77hp @ 6,000rpm
|100Nm @ 4,000rpm
|4,305mm x 1,670mm x 1,515mm
|For buyers on a tight budget, this car is still a solid investment and a reliable tool.
|The Mirage is definitely showing its age.