An excellent reliable ultra cheap car to run
Occasional leak onto the right hand floor, possibly influenced by the climate controls.
My Mirage has performed perfectly for 9 years. Nothing has ever broken or failed anywhere. I just replace the oil regularly, and drive it with respect. I do not thrash it, and rarely drive above 110km / hr, even through she cruises at up to 130 very nicely.
It have got as good as 5.5litres / 100 km, when driving with a fairly light foot, and plenty of 100km / hr highway speed. It handles freeway speeds well. It is more quiet than say a Hyundai Excel that I drove a bit around 2000, possibly due partly to better gearing.
I had the timing belt replaced at about 150,000 km, and tyres about 4 times now. Absolutely nothing else has been touched, not even spark plugs, not the air-conditioning gas - nothing. Everything seems as per the day I bought it.
I never liked changing up into second gear; it seemed a bit tight, but the dealers contended that this was normal. I doubted it, but it was not serious enough to pursue, and over time it perhaps improved a little, else I got used to it.
Its been outside a lot, but even the paint is still very good.
I put seat covers on when new. I replaced them last month, and the seats looked like new. All the interior is as new, except for a few scuffs.
I put a tow-bar on, and have towed up to its recommended maximum 400kgs quite often for a couple of years. The trailer's weight was checked at the local tip weighbridge. I towed carefully, and while travel was somewhat sedate, it handled it well enough for its size, and I do not believe I wore anything out. I also carried a lot of stuff on the roof, with one front rack and a rear rack attached to a bike-rack off the tow-bar.
When towing, carrying on the roof, and carrying passengers, I take it easy, and the car has then handled it well. Performance is modest with this extra load, plus with the air conditioning on. I can imagine this being a great car with a 1600 engine like what they raced here with, or an 1800 like in the U.S. As it is, it wins big-time on economy.
I have sold it to my daughter now as her first car. I expect that she will get a good year or six, trouble-free out of it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st June, 2008