More space and just as economical
WHEN Mitsubishi introduced its 1.2L Mirage hatchback with a starting price of RM56,980, many Malaysians found it difficult to grasp the concept of having such a tiny engine in a car of this class, which is dominated by 1.3L models.
This perception of judging a car’s value based on engine capacity has to change. Motorists around the world are now evaluating cars based on performance and power output rather than the size of the engine.
Mitsubishi’s Mirage may be a little pricey for a car of its size but it consumes just 4.7L per 100km, which Mitsubishi attributes to the intelligent use of lightweight but strong high tensile strength steel and energy efficient engine design.
Ryujiro Kobashi, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s vice corporate general manager for Asia and Asean says that in Japan and Europe, the Mirage is powered by an even smaller 1.0L engine.
“Considering the global trend towards down-sized engine while maintaining body size, we are confident that the low fuel consumption 1.2L engine offers sufficient performance for our target customers,” he says.
Nearly every major carmaker now has a small 1.0L, threecylinder engine on offer including Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota and Hyundai-Kia. It should also be noted that the winner of the 2013 International Engine of the Year award went to a fuel-sipping 999cc engine.
The demand for clean, energyefficient engines is increasing because of the high costs of fuel and strict government regulations on vehicular exhaust emissions.
In Malaysia, the demand for small, fuel-efficient, down-sized engines has yet to catch on.
Part of the reason is because fuel prices in Malaysia are still relatively cheap, even after considering the latest round of subsidy cuts.
Putting aside for a moment the debate on the high cost of new cars in Malaysia, the lax standards on fuel quality and exhaust emissions coupled with cheap fuel means that Malaysian consumers have fewer incentives to adopt fuel-efficient technologies.
Thailand for example, will be introducing a carbon tax system in 2016. Notwithstanding Malaysia’s energy policy, car companies believe that the trend towards fuelefficient small engines is a certainty.
This was probably the motivation behind Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia’s decision to expand its compactcar range to include the Attrage, a sedan derivative of the Mirage, powered by the same ultra-efficient 1.2L engine.
Like the Mirage, the Attrage boasts a claimed best-in-class fuel economy of 21km per litre (New European Driving Cycle).
With a starting price of just RM59,212.50 for the base model GL manual transmission model, the Attrage is currently the cheapest non-national sedan you can buy.
The higher range GS CVT model is priced at RM67,978.50, while the top-of-the-range Attrage SE costs RM 75,796.50. All prices are on-theroad without insurance.
The Attrage does not skimp on features either. Standard features include dual-airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), 15-inch wheels and fog lamps.
The higher range GS model adds on Smart Key (keyless entry) and push start button, remote trunk release, digital automatic airconditioning and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The range-topper SE model builds on this list to include LED daytime running lights, a sporty bodykit, security window film, leather seats and a 2-DIN audio head unit with reverse camera.
While the Attrage may have a small engine, there is nothing small about its interior dimensions. According to Mitsubishi’s calculations, the Attrage boasts more combined front and rear legroom than a Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, and Volkswagen Jetta, with the Nissan Almera being the only one which exceeds its dimensions.
The Attrage is no sports car but it drives quite well. Earlier this year, Mitsubishi unveiled a fleet of Attrage at Thailand’s Bonanza circuit to be compared with the Nissan Almera.
On the track’s long, fast sweeping bends, the Attrage has controlled amounts of body roll without being too stiff that the wheels hop precariously over any undulations on the track surface.
Even with the Attrage tilting away at uncomfortable angles, the tyres do not seem to let up its firm grip. Suffice to say, the Nissan could not match the Attrage’s balance in the ride and handling department.
The Attrage may not have attention-grabbing looks, but it may surprise you in more ways than one. Buyers looking for an entry-level, compact sedan should include the model in their consideration list.
From left: Senior executive officer of MMC, Morikazu Chokki and chief executive officer of MMM, Tetsuya Oda.