Hi, I took a test drive of a manual sport today as I was about to take the car of my short list without even driving it due to negative reviews in the motoring media. Im glad I drove it, because although its not without its faults,the faults have been sooooo exaggerated that you've really got to wonder where these experts get their comparisons from. So before I give you a summary of my experience with the Mirage Ive got to say this car in perspective to the $11800 drive away is a absoloute corker(for my foreign friends,thats a good thing).
I took the car for around 45 minutes on open roads,congested traffic and side streets and was pleasantly surprised, from the reviews I was expecting a car with ill fitting interior,noisy cabin and that the car would be rolling over on its side at the first roundabout. I find the engine to be a nice free reving unit that rewarded hard driving with a nice throaty note that belies its 1.2litres.
At 100kmh the radio was on low and I was able to hold a conversation at normal levels without extreme wind or road noise, it was not a quiet car,but nor was it noisy it was what Id expect from a non prestige vehicle. The slight vibration through the seat at idle was annoying,but after a while I forgot it was there,and as soon as the revs built up it was gone.
The clutch is very light with a odd take up point, but again after stalling it twice leaving the dealer, I adjusted and it didn't happen again and I found the light clutch great in stop go driving.Yes as per reports the steering was way over assisted at low speeds but it did firm up considerably over 60kmh and I heard very little noise from the electric assist.
Leg ,shoulder and elbow room was really good and I was able to find a comfortable driving position straight off(Im 5 11") and rear seating was adequate.
Now to the body roll,yep it is more than what youd expect but only when pushed,in a to b driving you wont notice. I contacted a leading after market suspension specialist who said theyd cut it down significantly by changing the sway bar for a thicker one and adding a rear, all up around $700 fitted, but personally I don't think it was pronounced enough to warrant it.
When you take into account the 5 star safety,5 year warranty,5 year roadside assist,4 year fixed servicing and blutooth etc,wellllll for me anyway its impressive enough to buy.
The other cars on my list was the UP and the Fiat 500 pop, but I will get the Mirage as although it trails them in some areas it trumps them in others and the overall value is great. I discounted the UP as not having rear curtain airbags where kids travel in a 5 star car is criminal,also the fixed price servicing was dearer,warranty was 3 years and after going on their forums Id be to scared to keep it after the warranty elapses. The Fiat w2as a ton of fun but 2 doors,full price servicing and a 3 year warranty along with the "Fix it again Tony" reputation scared me off.
Please consider this car if you're after a work or kids taxi and take the reviews with a grain of salt. I really think your perception of these cars has to do with what you're trading down or up from. If I was stepping into it from a Audi A1 like some of these reviewers Id be negative,but from my 1996 Mazda 121 bubble lifes sweet!!!!