Australia: Mirage LS 1.2L CVT First Impressions
Ok, some background and then my first impressions of my new LS CVT. I am coming from a Peugeot 206 Auto. The Peugeot was getting too expensive to maintain and most of my driving is from home to the train station so I wanted something small, economical and cheap to maintain. I also have a Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0L CVT for family/weekend driving.
My test drive was in a manual ES as they didn't yet have any CVT's in the country. That was late January when I test drove the vehicle. I have to say, I agree with most reviewers comments on the manual. The gearbox is very sloppy and the clutch as a very strange feel to it (ok, I used to own and MX-5 so I may have been spoilt in that respect). I found the engine nice and "perky" even with the manual and it felt good with a mix of freeway and suburban driving so I ordered the CVT.
I picked my car up on Tuesday evening and drove home from the dealership. The CVT to me feels much smoother than the manual and actually seems better at finding a good rev range depending on whether I am accelerating or just cruising. The "kick down" (yeah, I know it's not really kick down with a CVT) is more aggressive on this than on the Outlander and feels more like a traditional auto downshift. The little 1.2L engine has a really nice sound when you accelerate hard.
Early Wednesday morning (5am) I drove about 90km of freeway driving to the airport to go interstate for a couple of days. The electric steering, which is possibly a little light and low speed, hardens up nicely and feels quite stable on the road at 100kmh. The car does have more body roll than the Peugeot and this is going to take a little getting used to. It leans out quite hard during high speed cornering. There is a nice 270 degree corner going to the airport which I can take at 100kmh in the Peugeot. I am not yet confident enough to do this in the Mirage. After saying that, I am pretty sure the electronics would step in before I got myself into too much trouble.
Thursday evening, on the trip back from the airport in a reasonably strong cross wind I was very impressed how well it held the road considering the light weight. Fuel economy for the two freeway trips averaged out at an indicated 5.8L/100km which seems reasonable to me. I will check this when I top up, but much better than my Peugeot's 8.6.
Road noise is at an acceptable level for a small car. The stereo is not speed sensitive so I found I was constantly adjusting the volume depending on background noise. The auto-sensing wipers are way more intelligent than my 2006 Peugeot's. The autosensing headlights work... not much more to say about that!
Things missing: Outside Air Temperature gauge: I never thought I would miss that but after six years of having one I do. Light in hatch compartment: I didn't notice this during the test drive or looking at specs. Really threw me when I got home, popped the hatch and couldn't see my bags in the boot. A minor thing but probably my only real annoyance so far. Also, no way to enter DTMF tones when using the BT phone kit. I had to ring the toll authority to change over my rego for my account and got "Press 1 to do..." and couldn't press one. The Outlander has a touch screen to do this and in Australia, it is illegal to touch your mobile while driving.
I am really enjoying the keyless entry and ignition. Except for reaching for the key when I stop the car. I guess old habits die hard. My key hasn't been out of my work bag since I got the car.
Anyway, that's all for now. All in all a great little practical car. I don't think it is going to set any hearts pounding but it is small, functional and economical which was what I was looking for.
View my fuel log 2013 Mirage LS (Australia) 1.2 automatic: 34.8 mpg (US) ... 14.8 km/L ... 6.8 L/100 km ... 41.8 mpg (Imp)