By on February 18, 2013

Mitsubishi’s booth at the Canadian International Auto Show was a surprisingly well populated – the Evo and the new Outlander were drawing most of the attention.

Looking neglected was the new unnamed compact, which Mitsu touted as being a hit in Thailand and Japan. With only 70 horsepower on tap, this one might be a bit too wimpy even for small car friendly Canada.


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34 Comments on “Another Look At Mitsubishi’s New Subcompact...”

  • avatar

    I highly doubt that people who are shopping for cars like this care about the small engine.

    • 0 avatar

      Nobody is shopping for a car like this because it is complete crap. That is the point.

      • 0 avatar

        Ha +1

      • 0 avatar

        ” it is complete crap.”

        Please share with us the information you have that leads you to this conclusion.

        Yes dull/ugly looking. Many cars are. Yes it has only 70 h.p., but that’s enough for a competent driver to stay out of everyone’s way.

        Beyond these two facts, we know little to nothing about the car. If it has a competent chassis, it could well be a hoot to drive. My 71 H.P. VW Rabbit was. So was my 55 h.p. Geo Metro (although it took some chassis/brake mods to get it there). Of course, it might not have a competent chassis, but we don’t know. Do You?

        Potentially, this car could be very efficient, and achieve it through light weight and a small engine, rather than through complex hybrid technology, or turbochargers/direct injection. Maybe it’s light enough that it won’t need power steering- one less thing to fail when it gets old. If it is mechanically simple, it could be a car you could service yourself for many years. But we don’t know.

        It could have a versatile/adaptable interior that allows it to carry surprising loads for it’s size. But we don’t know.

        Built for road conditions in the third world, it could be very durable. But we don’t know. (In truth I know nothing about the roads in Thailand).

        It’s easier, therefore, to have an emotional reaction to how it looks, note that it has less than 250 h.p., and dismiss it as “complete crap”. This will allow you to feel superior to anyone you see driving one later.

        May be it WILL be complete crap. But UNTIL we know, I’ve got my eye on this one. Mitsubishi, please don’t disappoint me.

    • 0 avatar

      Given that everybody including GM and Ford give us only their largest non-diesel engines in the small cars, and that the Dodge Dart was smacked a bit for being underpowered, it should be clear that Americans, at least, don’t understand the concept of using the whole engine, and we insist that even 2,000 pound cars must have at least 150HP or we will call them “unsafe” to our friends.

      As for me, I spent many happy years with a 1980 Mercedes 240D automatic, and many years with a smart fortwo, both in Texas, and I am still alive, so I consider myself among those who understand/appreciate using the whole engine, not just the lower 3,000 RPM.

      • 0 avatar


        If we could combine today’s engine efficiencies with what were considered useful horsepower levels in the 1980s, the overall MPG of the US fleet could go up another 20%, easily – even if you factor in the increased weight that modern safety devices add.

      • 0 avatar

        70HP is fine somewhere like Florida or anywhere where the ground is flat. But throw some altitude, passengers, and luggage in the mix… forget about it. Cars travel faster these days than they did when a 50hp Rabbit Diesel was cutting edge, and speed needs power.

        I do wish Mitsu would have given this more dramatic styling though. Fiat Panda shows these little wind up cars don’t have to be drab or ugly

      • 0 avatar

        I get what you’re saying sportyaccordy but all the factors you mention just make it that more challenging, and more enjoyable, for the driver. I live in the most mountainous region of Brazil. Though the altitude is not that much, I face steep grades all the time. You just have to plan ahead and be more aware of your surroundings. A big engine is forgiving. You can just pump the pedal and erase your mistakes. A small engine, in a hilly area, just challenges you all that more.

    • 0 avatar

      “70HP is fine somewhere like Florida or anywhere where the ground is flat.”

      Back when the Trans-Canada Highway through New Brunswick was a three lane road, my 55 h.p. Metro could climb the steepest hills at 120 k.p.h., with three aboard and a fully loaded Thule box on the roof. It had to be floored, and in third gear, but you could do it. You just had to know how to get the most out of a small engine.

      • 0 avatar

        Unlike 25 or 30 years ago, almost every commuter car has an automatic transmission now. They also have a minimum of 500 lbs of additional regulatory mass compared to what they had then. Put the two realities together, and 70 hp today is not as likely to be satisfactory today. There are places where it doesn’t matter, but I wouldn’t want to deal with it where I live. This is the place where 500 hp luxury cars make a bit of sense, since we have ridiculous ‘traffic calming’ stop lights on many freeway entrance ramps. Anything that can’t hit 70 mph in under 8 seconds can be a real liability. Sure, there are trucks here that are just as slow as they are anywhere else. There are also trucks going 70 in the far right lane that you need to be able to avoid in order to merge.

        I’ve been down the slow car road. I’ve had an automatic 240D, a Festiva(barely a slow car actually, MT getting one from 0-60 in 10.2 seconds), and an automatic Horizon with a 1.7 liter VAG engine making something approaching 70 hp. Two of them were far lighter than even a Chevy Spark, and the other really was too slow not to be a burden to other traffic at times. Traffic is much more crowded and angry now than it was when I was driving said cars in the ’80s, and freeway speeds are a good 15 mph higher.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a ~75HP Fiat Panda for a week in the Tuscan mountains. It was just me, my wife, our luggage and the 2,100lb 5 speed Fiat. It did OK. I actually loved it. It was a blast. But not everyone wants or is up to that challenge. Avg driver just wants to get from point A to point B with no fuss, and there is nothing wrong with that. Mitsubishi needs volume, and part of that will come from building cars for the masses. In the context of this thing that means adequate performance and refinement, which means torque in abundance.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed – people shopping in this segment don’t care.

      The last version of the 3-cyl Geo Metro had just 55 hp and weighed about 100 lbs less than this car. Over the Metro’s entire model run, hundreds of thousands of them were bought in the US & Canada. Why? Because they were cheap to buy and cheap to run. Which subcompact in the U.S. currently dominates sales every month? The cheapest one.

      Also: “With only 70 horsepower on tap”. Hm. Search for specs on the 1.2L 3A92 Mitsu motor and you find it’s rated closer to 80 hp than 70 (77-79). That gives it a better power/weight ratio than a Chevy Spark, which certainly qualifies as damning with faint praise, but GM has surprised itself by selling more Sparks than they thought they would.

      Shame about the Mitsu’s styling though. (Not that it really matters either.)

  • avatar

    Interesting to see the electronics giant finally branch out into cars, and smart to begin sales in Canada so they can sort out their problems before coming to the US.

  • avatar

    So. Freakin’. Excited.

    Can’t wait to see it in the flesh at the NYIAS in April – I really, really hope it’s as reliable as its predecessors; I’d love an excuse to buy another after my friend wrecked my stalwart ’95 S Coupe.

  • avatar

    Today the wife and I were doing a bit of two-lane semi-country driving. Ahead of us, a Hyundai Azera V6. Now, this guy was getting on my nerves cause of his bad driving. In the curves, I’d get near him and have to back away cause he was so slow. In the straights, he’d look in his rearview mirror and get annoyed that a Ford Ka was on him and h’d step on it and get away. Usually I laugh off this behavior but the guy didn’t know what he was doing. Anyway, I knew the road well and there was a good passing opportunity. On that curve, I laid on the go pedal, got up to his bumper and overtook him at the end of the curve (good sightlines and there the two lane becomes three-ish). He came up to my bumper but in the next series of twisties, I got away.

    All this to say: Sometimes 70 hp is more than enough.

    The best was my wife saying after we had overtaken the other car, “wow, your car sounded like a Ferrari there.” LOL!!

  • avatar

    The back just looks like an old Vitz. There’s nothing interesting about this ugly car. At all. Especially not the door handles.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi Mirage

    • 0 avatar

      As the slogan says, “If it looks like a great car from Mitsubishi, it’s a Mirage.”

    • 0 avatar

      “Mirage” … elsewhere, yes. But it looks like Mitsu might have to find another name for North America. They no longer have the “Mirage” trademark:

  • avatar

    If Mitsubishi can get this under ten grand, they might have a shot. Otherwise, it’ll be up against a number of cars with at least 14 more hp (really, upwards of 30 more except for the Spark), likely more tech, bigger dealer networks, and looking like they were designed this millennium.

    To its credit though, the UK fuel consumption numbers look pretty respectable.

  • avatar

    It certainly could be hit in Thailand. There’s a few things about the Thai auto market that would make this car attractive:
    1. Income levels aren’t very high…the purchase of a small car probably replaces or supplements a 100-125cc motorcycle;
    2. Just like in the States, Mitsubishi sells on financing in Thailand;
    3. If it is built there (likely), it is cheaper than imported competition (high import taxes);
    4. Thais in rural areas buy pick-up trucks. The Toyota Hilux and Isuzu own this market, with Chevrolet and Mitsubishi probably 3 and 4;
    5. In urban areas, but particularly Bangkok, there’s not alot of space to park. Small cars are desired (besides, Thais are generally smaller people…this car will frequently carry six passengers in Thailand).
    6. The government has embarked on a “first car” campaign that provides tax credits to first time car buyers, expanding the market for entry level cars, and really adding to Bangkok’s massive traffic problems.

    All that said, the roads in Thailand are frequently pretty bad. Anything designed to withstand them will do fine on the US’ crappy roads. I also guarantee that the air conditioner will turn the interior of the car into a meat locker.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    My bugs and buses ranged from 36 to 53 HP. The 528e has 121-128. 70 hoss will do OK in a small car. Ugly? Looks like an upgraded Suzuki Swift / Geo Metro to me. Small cars are coming.

  • avatar

    The Mirage has a coefficient of drag somewhere between 29 and nothing, it weighs well under 2,000 pounds and in a pinch it will actually go at over 100 mph on the highway.

    I had it for a week, and it could pull uphill in fifth gear. This sucker is light. Base model to base model, it’s lighter than the Spark, while being longer (good for aero), having more trunk space and lots more legroom. It’s only 2 inches shorter in the cabin than the outgoing Yaris, which weighs around 300-400 pounds more.

    And it can get well over 45 mpg at 60 mph. Something the Spark finds difficult to do with its tallboy styling and compromised aerodynamics. Big plus. If you drive like us commie bastards in the Third World do at 50, you’ll be getting 60 mpg.

    On the debit side, the suspension is wallowy as hell, the bushings feel like jello (hit the brakes hard enough and you’ll bounce around like a bobblehead) and the shifter sucks. But it’s fun. In the same sense as a 2CV is fun. Really soft, but loves to be flung into corners.

    NorAm variants will likely get stiffer springs, the optional anti-roll bar as standard and bigger wheels. It should be a hit.

    Will Americans love it? Not bloody likely. Is it a bad car? No.

  • avatar

    Ralliart version of Colt is sold in UK. Turbocharged with 147 HP. 3 door or 5 door.
    Mitsu will obtain credibility if they offer the Ralliart models.

  • avatar

    If they can sell it for 10 grand I’ll take a look at it. Count me as someone who doesn’t see the need for power in a basic commuter car.

  • avatar

    So it’s got 30% fewer ponies than my bike, that’s not necessarily fatal if it’s light enough. In addition to a couple of low-powered British sports cars, I once had a first generation Renault R5. It had 15 fewer HP than the Mitsu, but at only 1700 or so lbs was still a decent performer. I got tired of pounding on the the dash to get it to start (a weird electrical gremlin), but once going, I found it fun to drive. Besides, there’s no better way for young people to learn how to control a vehicle at the limits, than in one with very low limits.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    With the heaviest one at 890 kgs… this thing won’t be 240D slow. It will be Corolla AE82 “slow”, which even in today’s traffic conditions is acceptable.

    And with 4.6 lts/100 kms or 51 mpg it will pass all petrol stations.

    I’ve seen it in transporters and doesn’t look too bad, a bit plain, but you can see that in the TV ads. This bugger would be great for commuting everyday. I can picture running it on nearly $30 a week.

    Regarding those freeway calming lamps… rev the crap out of it.

  • avatar

    All the non-sarcastic jerk replies to this post extolling the virtues of a lightweight, economical car gives me hope for the future of the industry.

    Why, in an age of ever-increasing energy costs, we’re in a continual horsepower battle is beyond me…

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. There are only a couple explainations for those who feel it worth their effort to lambast an entry level car such as this no-name wonder: They either arn`t getting any or their testicals resemble that which they are blasting–the smallest, least impresive and most placid thing on the market.

  • avatar

    That car looks miserable.

  • avatar

    Stupid statement alert. I’m supposing that this wee Mitsu is the response to the Mazda 2 in the NA area of the world. Should be plenty o’ fun, but be better with the 1.2L diesel.

  • avatar

    The Mazda2 is much longer and heavier.

    And the engine range is different. The Mazda2 goes from 1.3 to 1.5, the Mirage goes from 1.0 to 1.2. The Mirage 1.2 is down a lot of horses on paper from the 1.3 Mazda2, but it feels a hell of a lot punchier due to the low weight.

    And the Mirage has similar legroom and elbowroom. Frankly… you start wondering why the Mazda has to be so much bigger, and how Mitsubishi, which has nearly no money, was able to out-Mazda Mazda by making a decent-sized car so light.

    Then again… a Mazda2 is still loads more fun to fling down a mountain road… so Mazda has that.

  • avatar

    I just visited the Toronto Auto show and I didn’t see any attention being brought to anything at the Mitsu exhibit. And the green “Colt” on display was useless since you couldn’t sit in it. The only thing that caught my eye was the $51,000 Lancer. Have they actually sold one of those?

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