For the past few weeks, Mark and I have been looking into buying a second family car – something small and economical that Mark can drive to work without costing a bomb in fuel, and something that I could easily zip up to the shops in or do the school pick up. When it comes to buying cars, I’m usually only interested in two things – how smoothly it drives and how good the visibility is, particularly when reversing. Engine size, torque, fuel economy, braking systems – none of it has ever meant anything to me. Now though, I’ve decided that I should be much more involved in our decision over which car is right for us.
It was information overload at first – there are just so many small cars on the market. I decided the simplest way to go about it was to figure out exactly what we needed, and then I could devise a checklist of requirements. This has worked brilliantly and has really helped us to narrow down our choices and compare different models. Here’s what we as a family are looking for in a small car:
1. Value for money and fuel economy
3. Space and storage
4. Special features that will add comfort and convenience while driving
Now, that’s a lot to ask of a small car, which is why we are still looking. I wasn’t sure we’d find something that ticked all the boxes, until I was asked to test drive a Mitsubishi Mirage sedan for a week and provide a review. What perfect timing? Our current family car is a Mitsubishi Outlander and I LOVE driving that car. Really really love it. I had never cared much about cars or driving until we had the Outlander. It’s a smooth and almost effortless drive. So I thought testing out the Mirage would be a great idea.
So how did it shape up and did it meet our list of requirements? It sure did! When I pulled out of the dealers after collecting the car, the first thing I noticed was how much power it had for a small car. It was that same effortless feeling that I have when I drive the (much larger) Outlander. Despite all this power, the Mirage offers best in class fuel economy with 4.9l/100km – this is perfect for the long commute that Mark takes to work.
Safety features are a huge deal to me, especially now that we have Little Guy, but I never really thought that small cars were very safe. The Mirage, however, offers:
- 6 SRS airbags: Side airbags for thorax protection, Curtain airbags that drop down from the ceiling and protect the occupants from side collision and driver & front passenger for head on collisions.
- Brake assist. A system that monitors the swiftness of a driver’s brake pedal application and applies additional braking force if it determines that a panic stop is occurring.
- Active stability & traction control. This basically means that the car automatically recognises if you under-steer and over-steer around corners. It applies brakes to the appropriate wheels to keep you steady. Pretty cool, huh?
- Reinforced body construction, which strengthens the entire body and improves collision protection.
- ABS . Anti-lock braking system which stops you from skidding all over the road when you brake suddenly and on slippery roads.
Really, they had me at “6 SRS airbags” but all the other features mean that I felt very confident driving around with Little Guy in the back seat.
So how was it on storage? We need a large boot. Kids = lots of stuff. I honestly wasn’t expecting the boot on a small car to hold all that much but just look at how much I packed in there. There’s Little Guy’s bike, two soccer balls, a bag of beach toys, a small esky for our picnic food, and two huge bags filled with towels and all the other bits and pieces we took along to the beach that day. And there’s STILL a tonne of room in there. That’s a great big tick for storage then!
So the last box on our list is comfort and any other special extras that might make our drive that much more pleasant. These are nice to haves and things we could compromise on, but with the Mirage we didn’t need to compromise on anything. There are features in our much larger Outlander that I absolutely love but which I thought we would definitely need to forgo with a smaller car. Not so with the Mirage. It’s basically a mini-Outlander. Just like our Outlander, the Mirage had rain sensing windscreen wipers (they speed up automatically as the rain gets heavier), dusk sensing headlamps, Bluetooth® phone connectivity with audio streaming and voice control, audio and phone controls on the steering wheel so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road or wait for a traffic light to change settings, and a USB input ( an absolute MUST for me as I always need to charge my phone in the car).
So after a week of driving the Mirage and pretty much falling in love with it, it ticked all our boxes. It really is designed for families looking for affordability and value for money without compromising on standard features, latest technology, safety and space. For more information visit the Mirage Sedan Showroom