I’m sitting on the pit lane of my regional track — Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia — surveying the empty course. My helmet is on the seat beside me, my hands are gripping the leather-wrapped wheel, and I can hear the low growl of three-cylinders idling as they wait for me.
But before I get to that, a bit about what I’m driving.
This is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4. It’s what takes place when the oft-cheapest new hatchback in Canada (depending on who is supplying what cash on the hood that month) grows a trunk. Under the hood: a 1.two-liter 3-cylinder engine that has 78 horses in there somewhere. Connected to that is a continuously variable transmission, the only transmission obtainable on this SEL trim tester.
I do a quick verify of the course to make confident it is nonetheless empty. My foot hits the floor.
The car is not fast to accelerate, but it’s not slow either. My every day is a Civic Hybrid and this Mirage definitely feels quicker than that. 2017 brings an added 4 horses to the engine, which does not sound like much, but it is five-percent more than before. The revs climb gradually, the speedo climbs much more gradually, and I believe back to what I mentioned to the Mitsubishi guy when he authorized this as I near the very first turn.
“Don’t worry, I’m not organizing any hot laps,” I mentioned. I can already inform it will not be a difficulty keeping my speed in verify.
I method the first turn with caution. The steering is quick to react, so I ease it into the corner. At the same price I till the wheel, the car lists to port. I’m listening to see if the mud flaps or the mirrors scrape very first. Neither happens.
Turn two is a hairpin left with bumpy concrete on the inside that begins downhill and adjustments sharply to an uphill climb just prior to the apex. The G4 handles the transition a lot greater than I anticipated, but it does make extremely clear one of the greatest troubles with the Mirage’s revised interior. They say they’ve upgraded some of the components, but the seats are board flat and there is no armrest. I’m struggling to maintain in my seat at a speed I would see in a grocery shop parking lot.
I’m in for a extended bout of acceleration via turn three and into four. The CVT responds effectively. Although it is still a CVT, it’s as excellent as the 1 in the Civic Touring I had final month. Most of the time. At instances, the transmission is caught off guard — and then it can be clunky. There’s also a slight whine at reduced revs. Strangely, it won’t let the engine rev above five,500 rpm — which is confusing, simply because peak power is at 6,000 rpm.
Turn four is downhill and bumpy, and this showcases what is my most significant problem with the G4. If you are in town or on the highway, it delivers a surprisingly properly-sorted ride. Potholes and speed bumps are soaked up with aplomb definitely much better than Canada’s second-least expensive sedan, the Hyundai Accent. But on a rural road with some twists, every single wheel seems to react entirely differently when you add imperfect pavement to the mix. You can feel every corner dealing with the valleys and rises. You can really feel the automobile moving laterally about its wheels. It’s not the tires they’re as well low profile to squirm that considerably, and I checked the air pressures myself. There’s anything in the suspension tuning that is causing or permitting it. It is really unsettling on the road.
I’m going down the backstretch, and the further 4 inches of wheelbase in the sedan offers more stability in a straight line than the hatch. That very same wheelbase offers it adequate back seat space for 6’3” me to sit behind myself. But soon after that last turn, I’m wisely backing off and just going for a Sunday drive. Any tough cornering means I either fall out of the seat on the proper or bang my head on the door frame on the left. The headliner feels cheap against my skull, but the door is reassuringly strong. I pull into the pit lane and get out of the vehicle. I have a grin on my face, but I don’t want to do it once more.
That final statement largely sums up the Mirage G4.
The 2017 Mirage hatch and G4 each have a new interior, and it is ok. Sure, the dash is constructed of rock-challenging plastic, but it appears fine. It’s a little slow, but it keeps up with targeted traffic fine. The auto only weighs two,200 pounds, so it does well in cut and thrust urban driving. Its turning circle is tiny, the auto feels narrow, and visibility is outstanding, so you can stick it fairly a lot anyplace. Its interior offers a lot of space, you sit up higher, and the trunk is acceptable.
But as quickly as you turn in the Mirage G4, you fall out of the seat. If you hit a bump in that turn, you begin to question Mitsubishi’s definition of “independent suspension.”
I know it is well-known to bash small and low-cost automobiles, and I’ll admit I was organizing a comparison of sorts with a Nova LFS transit bus, but I really enjoyed this auto — as lengthy as I never ever went above the speed on the yellow sign on the off-ramp.
It has Bluetooth, a backup camera, and a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. I averaged just shy of 40 mpg. Nothing else for below $ 20,000 (Canadian) has all those items with a trunk. Air conditioning is vintage Basic Motors cold, and — what’s this? — there are even heated seats!
The plastics are difficult, and you can see the cost cutting if you look for it (like the old-school metal door locks). Under the hood isn’t painted (just primed/plated), but there’s actually some thing here. Anything … not exciting, but it is not a penalty either. It is a lot more comfy than a Yaris, feels larger inside than an Accent, and the build good quality seems competitive for the “how cheap can we make this?” class.
I’ve driven the pre-refresh hatch. I despised it. This is undoubtedly far better. Not massively much better, but greater nonetheless. It is fine. Which I look to say a lot about this auto. It sums it up nicely.
If you have ever believed about purchasing a Fiesta ST (or something with a sporty suspension), this is obviously not the auto you want. But if you’re like my little brother, who just desires to drive on the highway and downtown with a lot of space, in relative quiet, with a warranty that’ll outlast your finance term, and you want to commit as little money as feasible, this is probably worth a drive.
My loaded SEL tester is selling for just over $ 17,000 (sticker is $ 18,498, but there are incentives), and that’s challenging to ignore. Sure, there are cheaper and far better used cars, but that is apples to oranges.
Just do not ever take the Mirage G4 anyplace near a track, unless you are there to spectate.
[Image: © 2016 Evan Williams/The Truth About Cars]
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