Monday, I purchased my third ever Mitsubishi. Previously, I had a rough-and-tumble 1988 Mighty Max, which was this little truck with manual steering, low gears, a 2.0 liter engine, and anomalously, an automatic transmission.
A few years back, I bought one of these new "Mirage" hatchbacks that popped up recently - didn't look much like what I thought of as a Mirage, but that car shared a lot of the basic engineering ideas that were shown in that old Mitsubishi truck, namely: As simple as possible using current technology, easy to work on, and and engine that looks and sounds like something lifted from either a generator, forklift, or tractor. 60,000 miles in that little blue car, and the wife and I reached a point where we needed more space. We wanted to keep a small vehicle, with a lot of space - we first looked at the Kia Soul. I wasn't impressed with it, but it was a nice little car. Too much attention paid to the stereo, not enough attention paid to practical matters such as spare tires, engine bay accessibility, or simplicity.
I just happened to remember the G4 on the way home from looking at the Soul. I stopped at the dealer, to see if they had a G4 with a stick... I was told that they weren't available with a stick. But I found two with a stick, not in the color I wanted. I was asked what color I wanted, I pointed out a purple car. Salesman went inside, and found out that he had a wine red 5 speed.
I bought that car Monday.
It was hard letting go of the 2015 Mirage hatch. It was nothing short of amazing in the snow, reliable as an anvil, and had taken my family all over the place.
But the G4... it seems similar - at first. Gone is most of the body roll. Gone is the lack of self-centering. (Which messed me up at first - I kept trying to pull it back to center.) It's quieter. It handles better. It's not a sports car, but it doesn't wallow. It doesn't wander.
The front seats are more comfortable. The back seat is much better. The back seat even has a center armrest with cupholders. Lots of legroom, compared to the hatchback. The trunk is cavernous. I, myself, climbed into the trunk to see if I would fit, which I did with room to spare.
The engine note is different. It's quieter. The 2015 Mirage had a specific sound, familiar to us all - a hateful snarl, reminiscent of a madman screaming in the rain. The G4 has tried to gag the madman, to hide him beneath a whirring. But you push on the gas, and you can still hear him. He's there. The improved sound deadening hides the fact that the car is slightly more swift.
All in all, this car is an improvement over the 2015 that I had. Still an honest car, made for a specific purpose. Here's to the next several years.