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New Car Review

MITSUBISHI MIRAGE IS BEING REDISCOVERED FOR 1998

by Bill Maloney

mitsubishi

SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide

Whenever we test drive a new car we attempt to elicit as many opinions as possible from motorist friends, co-workers, family members....anyone who can make our writing job eazier with suggestions and comments re styling and performance. When we showed off the new Mitsubishi Mirage Coupe LS with its 1.8 SOHC, 16V four cylinder engine and pretty neat sports car styling the most oft query we received was something along the lines of... "het, that's pretty nifty and peppy...what's it cost?" Mitsu calls it an entry level sports car and while it doesn't have any real sporty car speed or agility it does look good, offer plenty of four seat room and comes in at $14,330. That is a good price for a distinctive car that will probably retain its styling for several more years.

The Mirage started life a few years ago as a four-door sedan and it was only last year that the plant in Normal, Illinois started cranking out coupes. Like other "handling" sports cars, the Mirage features 4-wheel independent suspension and in our LS it sported a five-speed manual transmission to once again give it more sports car flair. The four banger engine only puts out 118 horsepower but makes all, the right moves.

There are so many cars in this bracket that a buyer really has to sit down with a wish list and detail exactly what he/she is looking for in a personal car and this all may come down to price. Other cars in this class are Dodge Neon and Nissan 200SX SE-R.

On the iside the Mirage coupe is pleasant...am/fm stereo, air, seat height adjustments, 60/40 split bench seat, side view mirrors and options include door locks, power sunroof, ABS, cruise control, side air dam and fog lights. Much to our chagrin the radio did not have a cassette player as we were just finishing the final chapter of books on tape... "The court martial of George Armstrong Custer" Never did find out the ending.

A coupe employing a fairly anemic 1.5 or 1.8 liter motor you're better off opting for the five-speed manual gear box over the automatic. It is smooth and if you want the automatic that's electronically controlled and is that new breed of trans that "learns" a drivers driving habits and adjusts shifting strategies accordingly.

If a sporty coupe is something you have ben contemplating check out the Mirage and if you can beat up the retailer you could come out with a pretty good value and a fun car. and 36 mpg highway is a big plus.