Here at MamaBake HQ we know far more about big batch baking than we do about cars. Both Michelle and I drive old cars; mine is a 1997 Honda Accord that still has, wait for it, a cassette deck. To listen to a CD I have to use a portable CD player. You know the kind that plugs into the lighter socket (yep, it’s so old it still has a lighter!) and the tape deck. The fanciest feature of my car, is power steering. Oh, and it’s beige. Beige outside, beige inside. And we’re cool with that. A car is a car that gets us where we need to go as busy Women and Mothers. But, when we were approached to test drive the new Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan LS for a full week, we took the opportunity gladly for a few reasons. Not everyone will be in the market to buy a new car, but if you are, there are definitely benefits to upgrading that balance the initial outlay, (safety features, fuel efficiency, lower emissions etc). It’s also great to share the experience of road testing a full week of regular family use, rather than the ‘once around the block’ you generally get when purchasing a new car. “CarsGuide declared the Mirage Sedan “The best sedan money can buy” . Not too big, not too small. Find your happy medium!” Slipping into the driver’s seat of the Mirage Sedan as I prepared to leave the dealership, I had a moment of revelation. For this one drive, there was to be no visible evidence of Motherhood. No sultanas in every crevice, no odd socks and random single shoes, no drink bottles, no car seat, no apple cores or muesli bar wrappers. No child complaining of being bored. Just me. Me, the shiny and glamourous stereo turned up loud (as if to celebrate my freedom a local radio station was playing classic driving songs! “Flashdance – What a Feeling” as I drove out of the dealership, with “I want your love” by Transvsion Vamp bringing it home.)
As it was school holidays, we had a lovely week of adventures planned, including a birthday party, a family trip to the Farmer’s Markets and a local cafe, a day trip in the country, and a chance to really test out the boot capacity with a trip to Costco and then again to fill it with MamaBake supplies for our Meet & Greet; a chance for local Mums to connect and hear about MamaBake and to share with them the amazing work of one of our favourite charities, IAIM. Along with the general short trips to the shops, the little car was set to be put through it’s paces!
Space & Comfort
For a small car, it felt remarkably spacious. When it came to fitting the car seat, I could do it easily (there are 3 anchor points and 2 IsoFix hooks), without feeling like I was hunched and the tether points were a cinch to connect. For families with bigger kids, or a combination of big and small, there is ample space in the back with 944mm of passenger leg room. The front seats were extremely comfortable and offered lovely lumbar support, which I was grateful for on the long country drive. Another great family friendly comfort feature is that the rear windows are tinted, so we didn’t have to use any kind of shade for my son. Perhaps in high Summer you would add the extra protection, but for gentle Spring sunshine, it was great. Master 4 actually commented on how great it was to be able to see “Trees and Mother Nature” as we drove along! (and it worked, the portable DVD player didn’t get pulled out once on our long country drive!) Family cars need roomy boots and here is where this little vehicle shines! The 450L boot is almost as big as that in a Holden Commodore! We fitted in our weekly shop at the Farmer’s Market (which includes produce for both our home and our cafe) with no issue and the massive stock up of supplies I did for the Meet & Greet at Costco, along with the preparations for the event themselves, fitted with space to spare. We don’t use a pram anymore, but it’s clear that you’d happily fit a pram or two in with no issue at all. MamaBakers need boot space to hold all the big batch meals we divvy up at MamaBake sessions!
I tried really hard to use every last drop of petrol in the tank. I failed! When I handed over the keys at the dealership, she still had 1/4 of a tank left. I easily did 400 kms and the petrol gauge was showing still 100 kms to go. This was with country driving at speed with hills, air conditioning on, overtaking (which she did with power!), along with general stop/start town driving. According to the CarsGuide review, the Mirage Sedan is comparable to a hybrid like the Toyota Prius in its fuel efficiency. It’s a super frugal little number and isn’t that pretty much (along with safety) the most important aspect of purchasing a car?
The Mirage Sedan features the highest possible 5 Star ANCAP safety rating thanks to:
- 6 SRS Airbags
- Brake Assist
- Active Stability Control
- RISE body – Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution. This offers a stronger, and therefore safer chassis than you would expect from a small car.
- ABS braking
- EBD – Electronic brake Force distribution to distribute braking force evenly over the 4 wheels to enhance braking performance.
- In non-tech speak, from my perspective as a driver used to a much bigger car, I felt very safe when driving and that the cars responsiveness and overall performance added to the feeling that I could confidently handle any situation that I may find myself in.
The other Cool Stuff
I’m not even remotely tech savvy, so the USB port in the glove box went unused, as did Bluetooth, but I’m told by my less Nanna friends that these are vital features to a vehicle and add to the car’s overall appeal and safety (hands off the phone when driving Mamas!) Drink holder placement. OK, this may seem like an odd thing to love, but in my car, the drink holder (and I *always* have a coffee when I drive) is in an awkward spot where I have to take my eyes off the road to pick up my cup. The Mirage has it’s drink holder in front of the gear transmission which is a natural reach while driving. The little spot for a water bottle in the door (both driver and passenger) is a neat little addition too. Actually, all the little niches, shelves and the glove box are all cleverly placed and very useful! Keyless Operating System. Well now, what a little wonder this is! As long as you’ve got the key sensor in your bag, you can open the car (and start it!) with the push of a button. Considering how often I lose keys, this is a nifty little feature! I don’t actually have to find them in the bottomless pit that is my handbag, I just have to know they’re there! It did take me about 5 days for my muscle memory to stop me reaching down for the keys everytime I pulled into my driveway! Automatic rain sensor – These automatically detect moisture on the windscreen and activate the wipers, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel and concentration on the road. Of course it didn’t rain! For more awesome specs on the Mirage Sedan head here.
What Took Some Getting Used to:
CVT transmission – OK, I have no idea really what this is but Mitsubishi describe it thus: “CVT offers infinitely variable gear ratios that allow the engine to always operate at the optimum RPM, irrespective of the vehicle’s speed. This maximises power and economy helping to ensure a smooth, stable ride with seamless gear changes.” Despite the CVT in the automatic model, I still found the ride a little less smooth than suggested and found I could still ‘feel’ as the automatci transmission shifted through the gears. No centre console – I kept leaning my left arm down for a comfy place to rest and there was none! Again, this may be a Nanna feature I’m used to in my old car, so not really a strong criticism here! No cruise control – I have never in my life used cruise control but my husband is a massive fan. Not an issue for me if I was looking to purchase, but it may be for you if you do a lot of long drives.
Looking for a new car can be a confusing experience, particularly if, like me, you are pretty illiterate in all things automotive! My criteria for a new car would be that it had to be a nice colour and look good……..and be safe and fuel efficient of course. Overall, the week long test drive was a joy, with the car feeling light, yet safe and extremely user friendly. Over time, I’m sure all the added features would shine and really come into their own, but for run of the mill, general family use, this is a great vehicle. Our family of 3 traveled in comfort and that comfort is something that would apply to larger families too. The fuel efficiency was insane and a huge bonus when, in school terms, I drive nearly 100kms a day just on the school run! Price-wise, the car is great value for money, starting at around 15K and ranging up to just under 20K on road depending on the model variant. If a mid size sedan is on your radar then I would definitely suggest taking a test drive.
The Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan gets the MamaBake HQ seal of approval!
THE MIRAGE SEDAN 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 HERE.