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Thread: Owner review: Mirage GLS, 1.2L, 5-speed (green!)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Alpha_One's Avatar
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    Hi everyone! I own a green Mirage, GLS trim, manual.

    I bought it because:


    • It's cheap!

      The Mirage, at least in our market, is great bang-for-the-buck (or the piso, as the case may be). The Suzuki Celerio (aka Suzuki Alto, Maruti A-Star), Kia Picanto and Chevrolet Spark are similarly priced, but they're all smaller and in the case of the latter two use more fuel. The Hyundai Eon and (India-made, Maruti) Suzuki Alto are cheaper, but are a lot smaller.
      .
    • It's small!

      The car I rode in as a kid is a 1992 Daihatsu Charade, a cheap, honest-to-goodness, absolutely-no-frills lightweight car powered by a 993cc three banger. My mom currently drives a 2004 Honda Jazz (Fit).

      Obviously, my family has a fondness for small cars and we keep them running forever (the Charade's with my dad, but the AC is broken). I hope to keep my Mirage running for the next 10 years or so.
      .
    • It's green!

      I mean this both literally and figuratively. It was love at first sight when I saw the green color in person. The car also happens to be the most economical one in its class - 825kg and excellent aero.



    What I like about the car

    The big things

    • It's ridiculously cheap to run. With gas at around 50 pesos (US$1.25) / liter, and the fuel consumption around at 6.5L/100km, my daily 30km commute comes out to around 100 pesos ($2.50) daily. That's including the insane Manila rush hour traffic. Excluding parking (around $1.50/day), that's as good as taking public transport around here, and Manila's public transport is dirt cheap if stupidly chaotic. Considering that I also carpool (2-3 people including me, sometimes five ), I actually win considerably by taking the car over riding public transport.
    • 825 kilograms. You can feel how light it is driving it around. Even the Honda Jazz (aka Fit), weighing at 1000kg, feels like a truck.
    • 4.6m turning radius for the LHD version. It's great for navigating those abominably narrow U-turns that the local authorities are very fond of using. This combined with its length (or lack of) makes it very easy to parallel park as well.
    • Generous interior space. The car is packaged very well; I'm rather tall for a Filipino (175cm) and even with the front seats moved fully backwards, there's ample space in front of my knees. Trunk space is a little tight, but the GLS also comes with 60/40 rear seats (GLX variant comes with a full-folding rear seat only). Shoulder room is on the narrow side, but acceptable for short trips or if you can put the smallest person in the middle.
    • Excellent safety features. The Mirage comes with dual airbags as standard, with the GLS trim adding in ABS with EBD and a three-point seatbelt for the rear middle passenger (he gets a lap belt in the GLX). Even the more expensive cars (such as the Vios aka Yaris Sedan) come only with a driver airbag as standard.
    • Like I said in the first post, it's green, literally and figuratively.


    The little things

    • Big mirrors. A must in navigating Manila's insane rush hour traffic.
    • Three cylinders. I grew up to the inline three growl and consider it to be the hallmark of a proper car in the same way that American kids grow up to the sound of a cross plane, odd-firing V8. This is obviously completely subjective but hearing it feels much like having grandma cook lunch.
    • Comfortable seats. They're nicer to sit on than they look, and much better than the rock hard seats of the Honda City and Jazz.
    • Powerful headlamps with well-designed optics. Driving at night, I noticed that it also throws a column of light towards the kerb; the headlamps have a diffuser that's designed to do exactly that, which is great for night time driving around residential streets.
    • Good forward visibility. The A-pillars aren't as thick and sits at a higher angle as some of the other cars (I'm looking at you again, Honda Jazz).
    • The Philippine-spec Mirage GLS comes with a different, Chinese made, 2-DIN, touch screen stereo. It has lots of features - bluetooth, iPod and USB connectivity, GPS navigation, video playback and it sounds decent (non-audiophile here). It just happens to be really, really hard to use (more on this later). The Mirage GLX's stereo also has a lot of features - all of the above sans touch screen and GPS.
    • The wiper controls have a speed-sensitive, variable intermittent setting and a one-touch mist function. Having both is rare for cars at this price (you usually get one or the other, or most likely just a fixed intermittent setting). It's a total gem if you live in the tropics where it rains, and rains, and rains some more, and rains again for good measure.
    • It's a head-turner, apparently. The first two weeks that I got this car, I've gotten a lot of stares from pedestrians and fellow drivers. I had to check, was I driving around in a Ferrari?! Hmmm... perhaps it's the green color.
    • And oh, have I mentioned that it's green?


    What I dislike about the car

    The big things

    • Actually, I have only one major complaint about this car: the radio. The touch screen interface is awkward and slow to respond, and being a touch screen you have to look at it in order to operate it. It's distracting to the point that I "set it and forget it" before I drive off lest I risk crashing.


    The little things

    • No vanity mirror for the passenger side (much to the dismay of my girlfriend)
    • No light inside the trunk.
    • No handles on the ceiling for the rear passengers.
    • The stock horn is pathetic; you'd think they raided the parts bin from a scooter factory! I upgraded the horn immediately after I got the car.
    • It's one of the few manual transmission cars where reverse is longer than first gear. That's fine except that I live in a hilly area and my driveway has a steep entrance. I stall the engine about every other time I back into the garage.
    • The rear windows are a bit forward than what I like, which makes it rather difficult to see what's coming when you're backing out of a parking space.
    • A lot of noise comes in from the rear. I can hear a constant splash from the road spray when it's raining.
    • The electric power steering is vague and noisy. It's very light, which is great for parallel parking but not so much when you're throwing the car around the corners. I am not exaggerating (well, only slightly) when I say that my PS3's Logitech Driving Force GT is quieter and gives better feedback!
    • Very minor nitpick: I could do without the start/stop button. If you stall the engine, you need to wait for the green light to come on. This takes about three seconds, or five seconds too long before the taxi driver behind you starts honking like mad. If you push the button before the light comes on, the car thinks you're turning off the engine and unlocks the doors.


    Overall, I'd say if Colin "Simplify and Add Lightness" Chapman made econoboxes instead of racing cars, he would have come up with something similar to this car.


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 manual: 33.3 mpg (US) ... 14.1 km/L ... 7.1 L/100 km ... 40.0 mpg (Imp)


  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Alpha_One For This Useful Post:

    blownb310 (03-14-2013),jamiec (01-26-2013),Janstheman (01-26-2013),MetroMPG (01-22-2013)

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    Nicely said, I can't wait to see and drive the real deal.

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    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    Thanks great post Alpha One.

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    Senior Member Alpha_One's Avatar
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    I've actually had the car for just over three months now. I'd like to follow up my first post with some things that have been done to the car and impressions of using it in the "real world".

    First off I'd like to apologize for the bad quality pictures, my camera is not very good.

    Meet the little green thing. These pictures were taken right after I got the car from the dealer. Sitting next to it is a 2004 Honda Jazz.





    So far, the car has done...



    The first oil change service was done at 955km. Labor is free if you take the car in for servicing the first 1,000kms, and the service is required to keep the warranty. I brought my own oil - Zic A+ 5w30, API SN, Group III synthetic, 1780 pesos (about US$45) for 4L. The engine takes in exactly 3L of the stuff. Bought my oil filter from the dealer, which cost me 320 pesos (about US$8).

    My last tank got me 427km for 24L of 93 RON E10 gas (87 octane AKI for you American folk). That got me 5.6L/100km (17.8km/L or 42.2 US MPG). That's driving in Manila traffic conditions. Normal "Sunday driving" will get you to the 4.9L/100km official figure, traffic permitting, and many ordinary folks driving either the manual or the CVT get the advertised figure.

    The engine seemed to "loosen up" a bit after the first 1000km. When the car was brand new, there was absolutely no torque off idle and you'd have to get it about 1200RPM to get going. Now it'll happily accelerate off idle, but the engine really "comes alive" above that 1200RPM figure. Fuel economy also seemed to get better. This is probably a combination of the engine getting run in and me putting in a lighter weight oil (the factory fill, I believe, is a 15w-40).

    As I mentioned in the first post, I carpool quite regularly and the car gets 3-5 passengers much of the time. Acceleration is very adequate for a full load while braking noticeably needs more effort. An extra 300kg on top of an 825kg kerb weight matters a lot.

    Last Friday, the car got rear ended while stopped at an intersection! The light turned green, the jeepney in front of me was still loading passengers, so I remained stopped for a few seconds. The van driver behind me wasn't paying attention and let go of his brakes; his vehicle coasted (in neutral, he claims) into the back of the Mirage. Silly inattentive $#^@#!!!

    There was actually very little damage done, after I cleaned up the rear bumper a small paint chip and a bent license plate. I had the plate straightened out at a paintless dent repair shop.

    Chipped paint:


    Some spots of green paint that the bumper received from the van's front license plate (in the Philippines, vehicles owned by private individuals and corporations wear green plates):


    As you can (not very clearly) see, there's very little visible damage. I checked if there was any damage beyond the rear bumper and there wasn't.

    I know some people who hate the "soft flimsy plastic" and think small cars are dangerous. In this (very common) case, however, the soft flimsy plastic and the light car (thanks, law of conservation of momentum) were great assets in minimizing damage. I wasn't exactly planning on testing it, but it appears that the steel protecting the cabin is really, really tough and the crash design of the car is very good.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 manual: 33.3 mpg (US) ... 14.1 km/L ... 7.1 L/100 km ... 40.0 mpg (Imp)


  6. #5
    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pics and update. Thats a pain you have been run into atleast the damage is little. Are you going to touch up the paint chips and polish off the dark green paint left from the crash? Thanks for the economy figures.

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    Senior Member Alpha_One's Avatar
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    I will try to buff off the dark green paint. I don't have matching touch up paint for the paint chip, so it'll probably stay that way for a while.

    One more thing, when I got the car from the dealer, the clutch engagement point wasn't exactly to my liking. The friction point had the pedal a little too high from the floor. That was solved by playing with the cable adjuster screw under the hood.

    The next thing I want to do is to get a ScanGauge or UltraGauge. I'd like to see instantaneous fuel consumption at speed as well as coolant temperature, which (annoyingly on a lot of modern cars) is substituted in the Mirage by an idiot light.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 manual: 33.3 mpg (US) ... 14.1 km/L ... 7.1 L/100 km ... 40.0 mpg (Imp)


  8. #7
    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    A ScanGauge or UltraGauge would make a great addition to the car.

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    Hi Alpha One, where did you upgraded the horn?

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    Alpha One: how about a small "how to" thread for other Mirage owners who want a more substantial horn? Our first modification thread.

        __________________________________________

        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)


  11. #10
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Also: the photos you posted of the mark on your rear bumper showed me where the length difference between the Canada/US car (3780 mm / 148.8 in.) and all other markets (3710 mm / 146.1 in.) lies: it's in the rear bumper. Possibly due to different bumper regulations. I'll post pics tomorrow.

    Hope you've got the damage on yours cleaned up now.


        __________________________________________

        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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