After test-driving, negotiating and choosing the accessories, a Mirage was the only choice for my fiancée who had been cradling her previous ’99 model she called Mandy until the new one hit our shores.
Being in the car industry myself (Sales and Service), I suggested she wait a few months until the dealer had some extra stock and would be in a better position to do a deal. It paid off and she took delivery in February 2013 of a red LS she promptly named Mindy, too which I quickly renamed ‘Mingy’.
Because of this she didn’t let me drive Mingy at first but seeing as it was her first ever brand new car and I wanted her to enjoy the experience, I respected her wishes, even cutting back on the Mingy references.
But it didn’t stop me combing over the car in detail to see what the LS had up its sleeve.
Sitting in a mid-teen price-bracket the Mingy had nearly all of the features expected in a range-topping micro car. Of which, my non tech-savvy significant other had no issues in operating with ease. For a light car she seemed roomy enough for my six foot stature and her seats had enough bolster to at least not feel numb after an interstate trip.
She had capped-price servicing making it a no-brainer for the first four years and for a Thai-built car, her fit and finish was almost reasonable, only let down by some inconsistent gaps around the passenger airbag.
When I finally got to drive her a month or so later, I was almost taken aback by the urgent delivery of Mingy’s mild but adequate 100nm on offer. For a 1.2 litre triple, it was certainly enough oomph for any road at the legal limit with a little left to overtake if the situation changed suddenly.
The electric power steering was direct and very light, suited well to low speed maneuvers around the car park but on the road didn’t seem to center itself without a little assistance. It felt artificial to me but my fiancée didn’t seem to care.
I found the suspension set up supple and suited perfectly for Australian suburban roads but certainly not designed or set up for any spirited driving, being a little too soft to inspire any confidence. However it was fit for its intended purpose, as was the tiny little disc/drum brake combination.
Cabin noise was intrusive over 50km/h but nothing that an increase in radio volume wouldn’t fix and if you stretched her little legs a bit, the triple gave you an industrious but not quite so refined soundtrack that was neither offensive, nor inspiring.
A low fuel consumption for my fiancée was important but for all the wrong reasons. She is one of those who won’t be named that like to run the gauntlet, driving around everywhere with only one bar left on the gauge and the fuel light blinking incessantly. Currently with a 90:10 city/highway mix she is averaging 5.6li/100km.
Reliability and Mitsubishi are synonymous and I was let down when every so often I would hear little Mingy make the most god-awful screech upon startup.
Turned out to be a starter/flywheel issue and the parts were ordered in for replacement under warranty.
Robustly, Mingy has held up to a minor hail storm with very little issue compared to some other cars in the same storm and she’s had her giant mirrors scuffed a few times when driving into our very tiny car hole.
Her aerial was a joke, being as long as your arm and as tough as a piece of dried spaghetti but if you lay it down to protect it, it would tap on the roof every time you got over ninety, so it was quickly replaced with a little stub aerial that looked way better and should have been what was on the car in the first place.
Lastly, what the hell is the deal with no boot light? The wrong cost to cut methinks, as the cargo cover blocks any light from the cabin, meaning you cannot see a thing at night when looking through your luggage.
Overall though, Mingy was purchased as a second car, used primarily for a very small daily commute and the odd local trip. After two years and exactly fifteen thousand kilometers, she has done the job so well that I just might start calling her Mindy again.