With a long-standing tradition of pioneering technologies and a presence in 160+ world markets, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is rather well equipped to embrace the structural re-shaping affecting the global auto industry, whether geographical or environmental.
From the specific demands of the newly emerging markets (affordable, robust yet contemporary vehicles) to the renewed interest of mature areas (down-sized / lighter / more fuel-efficient automobiles), MMC has pragmatically committed its engineering resources to satisfy these new needs, as highlighted in its “Jump 2013” business plan with clear targets of 20% of their range as pure-EVs and PHEVs by 2020. Covering a wide spectrum, MMC R&D is engaged in a multitude of alternative solutions such as:
- Global platforms:
- B-Segment Global Small (Mirage).
- C/D-Segment Project Global1 (ASX2, New Outlander).
- Taking the Outlander crossover concept one notch below with the C-Segment ASX.
- Returning to the roots of the B-Segment with the clever 3710 mm long Mirage.
- Weight reduction:
- Significant gains in all areas for the quieter, safer and better equipped New Outlander (about -100 kg max) or Mirage (about – 120 kg vs. Colt).
- Fuel economy / Lower emissions: “Auto Stop & Go” made available to a wider range of models and power-trains.
- Continuing refinement of MMC’s own highly efficient 4N13/4N14 Clean Diesel engines.
- Further development of petrol engine architecture (new MIVEC engines available with New Outlander/Mirage).
- Alternative powertrains: Expansion of the Mitsubishi range of pure-EVs. Introduction of Mitsubishi’s EV-based Plug-in Hybrid technology (New Outlander).
Whilst the challenge of “new frontier” technologies such as real-life PHEV might seem daunting, no less so is that of engineering a new generation of small cars, with all the constrains of this genre. More so if the said vehicle is meant to tackle ALL world markets, whether mature or emerging. The first product to be developed by MMC off its all-new and innovative “Global Small” platform, Mirage can be summed up as:
- One architecture + one factory + one car for one open world.
- Not an MMC “low cost” offering, but instead, a rational / no-nonsense product for a converging and fast growing global small car market: Emerging middle-class in emerging countries.
- Running cost conscious customers in mature regions.
- Global consistency through “engineering-first” approach.
Less is more
Taking into consideration the environmental (CO2 emissions) and financial (fuel economy and running costs) challenges global customers are now faced with, it became obvious for MMC R&D that the very concept of “small car” had to be completely reviewed.
More so for the European market where the highly popular B-Segment has drifted away over the last 20 years from its fundamentals with over-specified and over-sized products, often similar what European C-Segment cars used to be.
At the same time, the point was neither for MMC to bring a cheap, de-contented product nor a “low cost” vehicle. Instead MMC will produce a rational, no-nonsense product, with the expected quality and reliability Mitsubishi Motors is renowned for3. Short (3710 mm), light (from 845 kg), sleek (Cd: 0.27), efficient (4.0 l /100km), clean (92 g/km) and peppy (0-100 km/h in 13”6), the Mitsubishi Mirage remains nonetheless roomy (1651 mm total legroom), comfortable (for 5 occupants) and nimble (short 4.6 m turning circle despite a wide 1665 mm body), whilst offering the level of comfort, equipment and safety expected nowadays.
Re-engineering the B-Segment
Following the same development philosophy as New Outlander and the Mirage “engineering-first” approach translated into “efficiency-first” solutions:
- Body: Structural optimisation, extensive use of high-tensile strength steel panelling, etc… result in a significant reduction in weight over A/B- and B-Segment average with a minimum of only 845 kg, making a major contribution to fuel economy, CO2emissions and drivability.
- At the same time, MMC’s patented RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body design combines an impact energy-absorbing front end with a high-rigidity cabin structure. Improving on it for Mirage, Mitsubishi R&D added straight and large section front cross-members, so called “Multi-load pass frame”. Together with a reinforced cabin, they contribute to better energy management in case of a front crash. In the area of pedestrian safety, Mirage will obviously comply with the new EU regulations enforced from 2013, furthermore, Mirage will offer 6 airbags (incl. side & curtain) as standard equipment
- Through CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis and wind tunnel testing, MMC design team focused their efforts over aerodynamic performance, (from the clam-shell hood to the – new patent pending – tapered rear roofline), providing a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.27 – one of the lowest in its class, if not the lowest, to the benefit of fuel economy, emissions and drivability
- Mirage’s’ high-efficiency packaging keeps the engine compartment as compact as possible to optimise occupant space. While smaller than conventional compact cars, the body dimensions make it highly manoeuvrable while providing good interior space for five adults and sufficient luggage space for everyday use (interior length representing 65% of the overall length of the car – cargo volume from 235 l VDA measured).
- The front end design allows the driver to see both edges of the engine hood, making it easier to determine the positioning of the vehicle. Locating the A-pillars closer to the front occupants and starting the belt line low down at the front contributes to offer an excellent field of vision, both forward and to the side.
Together with a turning radius of just 4.6 m – among the smallest in its class – this packaging allows the driver to maneuver with confidence when turning at intersections, driving along narrow roads or when parking.
- In Europe, the Mirage is powered by a new generation of lightweight and compact low friction 3-cylinder petrol engines, available in either 1.0 l or 1.2 l displacements. Lively and thrifty, both use Mitsubishi Motors’ MIVEC variable valve timing system (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system)
- Together with a painstaking reduction of engine friction and engine load as well as weight reduction, aerodynamic performance, transmission efficiency and MMC’s low CO2 technologies (see below), Mirage can boast high level of fuel economy and emissions, amongst the best in the segment:
|Output||Torque||0-100 km/h||Fuel cons. (combined cycle)||CO2 emissions (combined cycle)|
|Space Star 1.0 5M/T AS&G||71 ps||88 Nm||13”6||4.0 l/100km||92 g/km|
|Space Star 1.2 5M/T AS&G||80 ps||106 Nm||11”7||4.1 l/100 km||96 g/km|
As customary now with Mitsubishi Motors products in Europe, Mirage is equipped (depending on market and model) with the full palette of low CO2 technologies, including:
- Auto Stop & Go,
- Regenerative braking system,
- High-efficiency 95 Ah alternator,
- Intelligent battery sensor (“IBS”),
- 165/65R14 low friction tyres,
For Mirage, this package now also features a 3-bar “Eco Drive Assist” display in the instrument cluster (depending on market and model) meant to gives a visual indication of how economically the vehicle is being driven based on current fuel consumption and vehicle speed.
Last but not least, as an alternative to the standard 5-speed manual gearbox, Mirage can be fitted with the newest version of Mitsubishi’s INVECS-III CVT wide-ratio transmission (depending on market and model) which now uses a sub-gear train to deliver a better acceleration and fuel economy. Extending the engine speed range over which the lockup clutch engages and optimisation of transmission control has contributed to a further reduction in fuel consumption without affecting acceleration performance.
- Mirage’sbasic set up is MacPherson struts at the front with stabiliser bar and a torsion beam axle with coil springs at the rear, optimised to provide easy and stable handling, as well as a very comfortable ride. Stream-lining the suspension configuration has reduced its weight, contributing to better fuel economy.
- For the sake of fuel economy, Mirage is equipped with a sharp electric powered rack & pinion steering (3.48 turns, lock to lock).
- Braking system for Europe is courtesy of (depending on market and model):
- Powered front ventilated discs / rear drums,
- ABS + Active Stability Control + Traction Control + Brake Assist
- Hill Start Assist (CVT only) + Emergency Stop Signal System
For a long time, Mitsubishi Motors has implemented processes and systems to ensure that very high levels of development and production quality are realised on a common basis at its production units around the world. In the area of production, the “Mitsubishi Motors Production Way” (MMPW) system is employed to achieve rigorous quality assurance at each of its production facilities through a “station completion” process where only defect-free units are allowed to pass to the next work station on the assembly line.
With Mirage, Mitsubishi Motors is making even greater efforts to improve production quality. Since Mirage is an all-new model being produced at a brand-new factory in Thailand, all cars undergo a pre-shipment inspection conducted by seasoned Japanese inspectors, in addition to the normal line-off inspection. The Japanese inspectors also provide training and guidance to local personnel.
SPECIFICATIONS (MMC data)
- Length: 3710 mm
- Width: 1665 mm
- Height: 1490 mm
- Wheelbase: 2450 mm
- Tracks: 1430 mm / 1415 mm
- Weight: from 845kg
- Seating capacity: 5
- Cd: 0.27
- Tyre size: 165/65R14 and 175/55R15
- Trunk capacity: from 235 l (VDA measured)
|1.0 l MIVEC AS&G||1.2 l MIVEC AS&G||1.2 l MIVEC AS&G|
|(5-speed M/T)||(5-speed M/T)||(CVT)|
Torque CO2 Top speed 0 – 100 km/h
|999 cc 52 kW (71 ps) @ 6000 rpm 88 Nm @ 5000 rpm 92 g/km
172 km/h 13“6
|1193 cc 59 kW (80 ps) @ 6000 rpm 106 Nm @ 4000 rpm 96 g/km
180 km/h 11“7
|1193 cc 59 kW (80 ps) @ 6000rpm 106 Nm@4000 rpm 95 g/km
173 km/h 12“8
|- 1.0 litre MIVEC: - 1.2 litre MIVEC:||5 M/T 5 M/T orCVT|
 New Outlander, Lancer & Lancer Evolution, Delica D:5, ASX  RVR or “Outlander Sport”, depending on markets As a reminder, Mitsubishi Motors ranked # 3 in the 2012 in the Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS) researched by J.D. Power and Associates and AUTO TEST in Germany  1.0 litre engine w/AS&G and 5M/T – combined EU cycle  Where Legal (1) equipped with 14′ wheels