Owner Review: 1 week with a 2018 Mirage GT
Prepare for a wall of text...
So I traded in the 2017 Golf R for a 2018 Mirage GT on 1-Sept-2018. Big change it seems, but if you saw how I drove the R it wasn't really suited to me, just being honest. I never launched, I don't drive aggressively, I don't track cars etc. It was pretty much my compromise mid-life-crisis car, it had to "go fast" and carry a family.
Purely subjective. I like it. The wheels look nice. The blue paint looks "fetching". My coworker who hates small cars said to me "at least you bought the good-looking one".
Power & Transmission
Around town the Mirage excels. You can really only go as quick as the cars in front of you and it has no issues keeping up with traffic at local road speeds. On local highways at the 80KPH/50MPH it is fine too. On freeways at 100KPH/62MPH it's ok, as previously mentioned you have to plan your passes (unlike the R which was a bit insane in its eagerness). However, with a very strong headwind (thunderstorm front was moving in) and the A/C on the engine/CVT combo "hunted" a bit, dropping down to 6th then back to 7th. I forgot all about trying out D-S transmission mode so that might've helped. The headwind was insane, we had two T-storms within about an hour, the sky looked like the proverbial "hell opened up".
The CVT is fine, it acts like a CVT at low speeds, maintaining a constant RPM, then it behaves like a stepped geared transmission at slow acceleration into the upper road speeds. The only odd behaviour was the hunting at 60+MPH into a headwind. I haven't tried "sport mode" yet. Deceptive from 60-70 KPH, smooth acceleration.
Handling & Suspension
Around town, again it excels. It's almost like a go-kart with its eagerness for initial direction change/turn-in. Love it. Suspension is good, soaks up bumps. I no longer have to dodge around manhole covers like I did with the R rolling on 19" low profile wheels. The suspension/wheels/tires feel much more compliant than the R. Not knocking the R, but a consumer-sport-oriented suspension and UHP low profile tire compound aren't really suited to some of our roads here in Orleans/Ottawa. For the life of the road crews they cannot make manholes smooth road transitions. Also, viewing tire blowouts and wheel damage carnage posts on VWVortex had me ensuring I didn't hit them at speed, nor potholes etc.
Handling on the highway is fine, but on freeways it can move around a bit. So not as planted at freeway speeds as the R (but now we're talking about differences between 175 vs 235 sized tires, tire compound, steering tuning etc.).
I was seriously not considering the Mirage after the test drive due to the demo's A/C lack of performance, but the A/C works very well in my actual Mirage. It's sized appropriately, and cools the cabin much better than the under-sized A/C in our 2017 Foreseter XT (this isn't a unique problem for our Foz, as our 2015 FozXT also felt underpowered). The "auto climate control" in the GT-trim is a bit stupid, I had to defrost the windshield at one point during this week's commute, and it switched over to the footwell position midway through clearing the condensation buildup on the windshield. It could be I pushed the wrong button, but I think it did it on its own When the position was in the proper location condensation was cleared rapidly from the windshield
Seats in the GT trim are "ok", the seats in the R really spoil you from a balanced comfort and sporty viewpoint. Not comparable at all. I know, price-point, to be expected, just sayin'
Good. Bo-xenon HIDs work well. They don't swivel like on the R responding to the direction change via the steering wheel but I can live with it.
Switchgear, Human-Machine interface
The steering wheel is nice in the GT trim. I hate rubber poly-urethane steering wheels, it's the main HMI on the unit and should feel nice. Switchgear on the drivers-side door are a bit... lacking. The Golf had auto up/down on all 4 windows, and at each seating position too. It's a cost-cutting feature that car manufacturers don't do this and it sucks. The driver-side switches are not fully illuminated, which I find is a bit cheap too. I know the car is built to a specific price-point, but still. The sun visors feel really cheap. LOL As noted elsewhere on the site there's only one interior light, up at the front. Other than that the only other gripe right now is the remote mirror adjuster, I'm used to them being on the driver door card up at the top right, in the Mirage they're mounted on the dash. It's nice to still have a rotary dial for the radio's volume to crank it or reduce it rapidly.
Excellent, excellent visibility, excellent turning radius. The R had a bit of an odd turning radius, it took a bit to get used to it. The Mirage backup camera gives a good view, too bad it's exposed to the elements; the VW Golf backup camera is hidden under the rear VW emblem, completely protected from the elements. I don't even worry that much about people parking next to me but I still tend to park either far away or in corners to limit exposure to door dings, careless arseholes etc.
Cannot comment yet. My commute is 30-34KM round trip depending on the route I take, so I haven't refuelled yet. The onboard readout shows 4.9-5.2 LPHK for the AM commute and 5.5-6.1 LPHK for the PM commute as I encounter more traffic, more stop-and-go etc. I'll hand-calculate it out when I do a fill-up. The R was between 8-10 LPHK for a similar commute, and used premium fuel. Needless to say the Mirage will use less, and cost less doing so.
Less storage than the Golf (well yeah, it's a smaller vehicle) but the hatch is deceptively deep. My R had a nice place to put my parking pass and GDO in the centre console, it had a nice smoothly actuating door, no such thing on the Mirage. I can live without it, again just comparing. Instead I just toss them into the front cupholders now. My kid was used to the rear fold-down armrest cupholder in the R, he misses it in the Mirage. LOL
That's all I have for now, sorry for the wall 'o text. I'm more accepting of cheap smaller commuter cars as in the past I've owned a 2007 Toyota Yaris and a 2009 smart fortwo.
View my fuel log 2018 Mirage GT 1.2 automatic: 38.0 mpg (US) ... 16.1 km/L ... 6.2 L/100 km ... 45.6 mpg (Imp)