..which is the best value supermini of all? June Neary checks out Mitsubishi's solution
Will It Suit Me?
Small Mitsubishi superminis have been around for years, usually called Colts and usually cars about as exciting as a quiet night in reading the European Constitution. Therefore when I heard that a small Mitsi was winging its way to chez Neary, I prepared for the worst, cancelling appointments for that forthcoming week and limiting myself to a three-mile radius of the house. In truth, I needn't have bothered. Neatly styled and very well equipped, the Mirage Juro delivered to me, a 1.2-litre petrol model, was most presentable. In fact I had to go grovelling in order to get myself back onto the guest list of the party I'd blown off only half an hour previously.
In contrast to earlier Mitsubishi Colt models, this Mirage Juro is all the brand's own work and looks quite smart, if a little unadventurously styled, without the big signature design flourishes of the latest generation of cars. But then if you wanted something like a Renault Clio, you'd probably be paying around quite a bit more. I thought that the seats looked smart, with 'three-dimensional knitting' seat fabric, plus contrasting stitching available in full black. There's a slick steering wheel, too, with piano-black inserts and chrome accents. The centre panel with its gloss-black finish enhances the overall texture and gives a more elegant accent to the interior. Plus this car is well packaged, with decent interior space front and rear. In fact, the amount of leg room provided is greater than that on offer from a number of bigger cars we could mention. Boot space isn't at all bad at 235-litres and the 60/40 split rear seatbacks give some extra luggage capacity. In-cabin storage consists of three cup holders, pockets in the front door, a deep storage tray at the base of the centre stack and a reasonably sized glove box with a small tray above it.
Behind the Wheel
I didn't expect this to be any kind of driver's car - and it isn't. My passengers were pleased to find that in my time with it, I cruised everywhere below the speed limit: it's that kind of car. You simply don't feel like pushing on. Buyers get one engine choice, a 79bhp 1.2-litre unit, but you do get the option of a CVT automatic gearbox that really takes the drag out of city driving. This engine is quite perky, getting to 60mph in 11.7 seconds and running onto 112mph.
Value For Money
Prices start at around £12,000, which makes this a very good value supermini indeed given the amount of standard equipment that includes. You get auto air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, auto headlamps and wipers, leather for the steering wheel and gearknob and privacy glass. Other features include keyless entry, heated front seats, cruise control, front foglamps, powered folding mirrors, a rear roof spoiler, rear parking sensors and a DAB stereo system with Bluetooth compatibility for your 'phone. Standard safety kit includes twin front, side and curtain airbags, plus active stability and traction control, along with Hill start assist. For an extra £1,000, you can have full leather trim - and there's the option of the CVT automatic gearbox, again for around £1,000 extra. On to day to day running costs. Here's where the Mirage Juro really gets into its stride. Yes, I'm aware that most superminis are pretty good in this regard, but it's often been the case that the less you spend on your supermini, the older and less efficient the engine is. It can indeed be a false economy to buy the cheapest car only to be saddled with mediocre fuel economy, poor emissions and a next to useless warranty. The Mirage counters with low emissions that see both models scoring 100g/km of CO2 or less. Thanks to features like 'auto stop and go' that cuts the engine when you don't need it, regenerative braking, low friction tyres, a high efficiency alternator and a sleek 0.27Cd drag factor, the manual 1.2-litre model registers exactly 100g/km, while the auto variant improves that to 99g/km. Both variants manage to extract 65.7 miles from one gallon of unleaded on the combined cycle.
Could I Live With One?
I was initially a little wary of the Mirage Juro but once sampled, it's a car that's at once remarkably vice-free and intensely likeable. If Mitsubishi can get more people to realise quite how good it is, they could well have a sleeper hit on their hands.