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Thread: Darin's test drive review notes: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan CVT

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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Darin's test drive review notes: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan CVT

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    (This is the actual car I'm driving - my own pic. I shot a bunch today that I'll post in this thread. I don't think it's a particularly photogenic vehicle. But that's pretty subjective, eh! More on that later.)

    OK, so I've been driving the 2017 Mirage G4 since Monday evening, a press fleet loaner from Mitsubishi Canada. (Actually, I'm sitting in in right now!) I've got it for another 2 weeks, but it's about time I started posting.

    Overview:
    In case you didn't know, the Mirage G4 sedan is a stretched wheelbase version of the Mirage hatchback, with slightly different front end styling. It shares the hatchback's mechanicals, including the slightly more powerful (78 hp) for 2017 1.2 L, 3-cylinder engine, larger brakes, and revised suspension.


    Fuel economy:


    The G4 is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid sedan available in the U.S. & Canada.

    EPA (MPG US)

    CVT automatic: 35 CITY / 42 HWY / 37 COMBINED
    5-speed manual: 33 CITY / 40 HWY / 35 COMBINED

    NRCAN (L/100 km)

    CVT automatic: 6.9 CITY / 5.7 HWY / 6.4 COMBINED
    5-speed manual: 7.2 CITY / 5.9 HWY / 6.6 COMBINED


    And now for my usual disclaimer: I don't pretend to be a car reviewer.

    Take everything I say with a grain of salt. For example, keep in mind my personal automotive context: my usual daily driver is an 18 year-old Pontiac Firefly (a.k.a. Chevrolet Metro) 1.0L, 5-speed. Unlike almost every single so-called "professional" reviewer, getting into a Mirage is a massive upgrade in many ways -- not an experience that would cause my nose to turn up. You won't hear me saying "you'd be better off with a bus pass."

    Second! I have some answers to questions you asked in my earlier thread (Getting a 2017 Mirage G4 sedan (Mitsubishi loaner). Questions? ). I got to spend about half an hour chatting with Mitsu's Canadian manager of public relations when I picked up the car in Ottawa.

    But before I get to all that, here's my first observation about the car:

    I DO BELIEVE THEY FIXED THE SOMEWHAT WEIRD STEERING.

    Remember some reviewers and owners complained about the unusually weak self-centering in the earlier hatchbacks? You could turn the wheel up to about 1/8th of a turn to either side of center (that's a lot) and the steering wheel would just sort of stay there? [Thread: Do you find the "self-centering" of your Mirage's steering to be odd? ]

    Well, there's none of that now -- nothing unusual about this car's steering to "get used to." The zone of "sticky" steering around dead center is now about half what it was before, in line with several other cars I've paid attention to. Meaning, if you steer past about 1/16th of a turn from straight ahead, it will always return to about that position when you release steering pressure.

    And I have an idea about how they fixed it: I don't think they changed the steering geometry. I think they just programmed the electric assist to help with centering. (Conspiracy theory!) Either way, it's arguably a more "normal" feel than it used to be. (I'm hoping to get back in an older hatchback to compare this.)

    Up next: answers to questions.


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    We will be interested your opinions of the G4. I like your idea that they just changed the programming to improve the steering centering because that would mean there is a chance that it could be improved on our older cars.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 automatic: 46.4 mpg (US) ... 19.7 km/L ... 5.1 L/100 km ... 55.8 mpg (Imp)


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Had a thought... you could test this theory on a 2017 by disconnecting the steering assist motor.

    I drove the car on the highway again today and the steering is much better than I remember the 2014. Still want to compare by a test drive of an older hatch though (also compare the spring stiffness/body roll).

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    seat bolsters ... handling

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    A brief thought on improved handling...

    I'm pretty sure the handling is better in this car, because I keep finding myself wishing for seat side bolstering. I never had that concern with the 2014 hatchback. With that car, my concern during spirited cornering was about not scraping the side mirrors on the pavement!

    I've put the G4 through some curves at speeds a typical G4 owner would never do, and had to find creative ways to brace myself.

    No, it's not a sporty car. Extra bolstering isn't really needed. But the fact that an "enthusiast" driver might identify the lack of it as a "problem" is a good sign compared to the older suspension tune.

    What I really want to do is compare the driving characteristics of this G4 back-to-back with a 2014 or 2015 hatch.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Q & a

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    I had a good visit with Mitsubishi Canada's PR manager John Arnone when we met to hand off the car.

    Some of the things we talked about:


    Drivetrains

    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMirageMpg View Post
    ask them about the gearing and if there's any changes implemented or planned.
    I asked, and there are no drivetrain changes in the works.

    So does that also mean no turbo?

    That means no turbo. Which means no gearing changes.

    That also means no naturally aspirated 1.0L option, even though it already exists.

    I told him that Mitsu could make a few dozen North America owners deleriously happy if they would offer the more efficient, naturally aspirated Japan/Euro market 1.0L in the Mirage here, and he just chuckled and said (paraphrasing): think of how some of the motoring press freaked out over the 74 hp, 1.2L engine, and just imagine how difficult our job would be with a 1.0L option in the car.


    MSRP shenanigans

    I asked why Mitsu Canada doesn't just lower the MSRP of the Mirage to directly compete against the $9988 Micra and the $9995 Spark. Instead, in Canada we have a $12498 Mirage with a perpetual $2500 "consumer cash" discount on the base model.

    The problem I pointed out is in reviews of the base Micra and Spark, if the writer doesn't know about the Mirage perma-discount, they don't mention the car in their discussion of "the most affordable car". It's a lost marketing opportunity, no?

    He said the reason is that the incentive has not been offered every single month since Nissan dropped its (very successful) $10k Micra bombshell on the Canadian market. Also, it's the role of marketing and the dealers to communicate the discount to the public.

    Still, it seems they're shooting themselves in the marketing foot for the sake of maybe making a few extra dollars. To mix firearm metaphores, they should just bite the bullet and advertise the base Mirage as a $10k car in Canada. Wouldn't the exposure be worth it? But now maybe it's too late. The "$10 city car" media frenzy has all but subsided.

    In the U.S., they could just drop the MSRP of the sedan to directly compete against the segment-leading Versa sedan, which is currently the cheapest (and best-selling) subcompact car.


    Why no folding rear seat (sedan)?

    I quote: "the folding rear seat, plus a factory arm rest are on our wish list."


    MPG potential

    Quote Originally Posted by 3dplane View Post
    I hope you will squeeze in one good round trip that is an off the record,non real world conditions no compromises super hypermiled trip just to see/ show what's possible
    Know what? While I have learned that while the CVT is capable of producing quite decent "real world" numbers, it just can't put on an impressive no-holds-barred performance like a manual transmission can.

    With the CVT, getting eye-popping numbers is just about driving it quite slowly & gently at low speeds (it'll do 71 MPG US cruising on level roads at 30 mph), but that's just boring. With the manual, it's more about pulse and glide.

    I've done some testing, and the CVT just doesn't seem to respond to pulse & glide (engine idling in N during the glide of course). The P&G numbers were actually slightly worse than steady speed... I'll post more about that later.


    UGLY

    Quote Originally Posted by codenamezero View Post
    Wow, that sedan look so ugly lol
    I forgot to ask him about this.
    But looking at the car, I think it breaks what should be a styling rule: no car's wheel size should be smaller than its headlight assembly. The Mirage breaks that rule. The sedan is not photogenic -- it's hard to find angles that flatter it.

    But that's 100% subjective, of course.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Sad to hear about the engine choices, but its really to be expected. We never seem to get the engine choices here that they have almost everywhere else in the world.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 49.0 mpg (US) ... 20.8 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 58.8 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Daox View Post
    Sad to hear about the engine choices, but its really to be expected. We never seem to get the engine choices here that they have almost everywhere else in the world.
    For sure, I would have been interested in the 1.0 if it would have been offered here in the USA.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 40.5 mpg (US) ... 17.2 km/L ... 5.8 L/100 km ... 48.6 mpg (Imp)


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    It would have been #1 on my list for a future car too.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    First fill-up: 52 mpg

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    First fill-up results:

    52.4 mpg US = 4.5 L/100 km, calculated at the pump.

    "B" fuel economy gauge said 50.1 mpg US.

    My guess is the pump calculation is a bit off (2 or 3 MPG high) because the initial fill & this one were "multiple clicks." The next fill-up will tell me more.

    Distance & driving style details:

    690.6 km / 429 miles

    51% = rural highway (80 km/h ~ 50 mph limit)
    9% = freeway (100 km/h ~ 60 mph limit)
    40% = sub/urban

    Usage this tank was laid back, but not hard-core hypermiling by any stretch of the imagination:

    Highway: cruise control at or near (a couple over) the posted limit.

    Sub/urban: gentle acceleration (<2k RPM); reading traffic well ahead to avoid rushing in to avoidable braking situations; minimal idling.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Eco leaves!


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 48.8 mpg (US) ... 20.8 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 58.6 mpg (Imp)


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