Limited Edition Compact Car Fun

ONE can assume that the Mirage G4 GLS Sport I tested is the first of 300 units to be produced. Introduced as a limited edition in its subcompact lineup, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) has introduced the P929K GLS Sport to add to the popular G4 lineup to provide more options to the customer.

I could very well be the target market for the G4 GLS Sport, someone who wants a reliable compact car that can perform well when called upon. He is frugal and agile. He has a presence but he doesn’t need volume to have this position. For example, door width and roominess are very important in a compact sedan, as it gives it the space of a larger car. Only the outer dimensions are smaller, which makes parking easier. He expresses himself as small, but he is powerful elsewhere.

Mighty comes in the form of a body coating. No bulky body enhancement like exaggerated biceps, just well-packed abs and contoured body lines. That’s how I describe the exterior upgrades for the GLS Sport, which include new under-grille trim with thin chrome trim, front and rear air dams, rear spoiler and side skirt. These pieces are purely cosmetic, it seems, but I seriously believe that slicing through the wind at 80 to 100 miles per hour will give these bodily additions a purpose – and deflect the wind and even induce downforce.

Downforce is perhaps the best way to describe the MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control) system in that it manages the intake and exhaust of gases in the rather small engine in a very complex way. 1.2-litre DOHC 3-cylinder. Managing the flow of clean air and the exit of exhaust gases not only enriches the mixture with gasoline, but also results in fewer emissions. This is what MIVEC is known for. It also manages the combustion cycle really well so the car feels responsive – not as linear as I’d like but quick enough with that racing continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The dimunitive powertrain produces 76.4 hp and 100 Nm of torque. This engine is sufficient for a car of this size offering an excellent power to weight ratio. It won’t accelerate like a bullet and doesn’t have the kind of punch needed to overtake a truck or bus on short notice, but it’s by no means short of breath. We can imagine it as shorter strides. It does, however, accelerate and deliver responsively.

The steering is precise although there was a little lag in the turns (perhaps from the steering damper or the electric motor?), but it made the ride smoother for me, in the together, especially when traveling over rough terrain. The G4 Sport struck a good balance with the weight of the steering: never too heavy that it became tiring or awkward on my commutes through Taguig, QC and San Juan, but not light enough that it was difficult to control in poor terrain – I never felt like going over potholes or cracks in the road made me struggle for control of the vehicle, even at relatively high speeds.

I’ve driven it on some of the steepest roads in UP Diliman, as well as the winding Pansol roads and the Calauan Highway mountain road which has a sharp left turn at a 15% grade at Brgy. Balayhangin and it was pretty smooth, overall. I didn’t feel like it lacked power at all when climbing at a comfortable pace, and the downshift was smooth when the grades got particularly steep.

No real issues with shifting, save the time it takes to downshift when you really hit the throttle (part of why it’s hard to pass longer vehicles/on smaller windows with it), but this is likely due to the smaller displacement engine.

The car rolls easily over cracks, potholes and other imperfections. It was a very smooth experience (I took it on the C5 service road which was full of broken asphalt, and it handled it without feeling too much rocking inside. Not sure if that was due to the thickness of the wheels or the suspension itself, but it was definitely a good driving experience in that regard.

When the car launched last January, the common understanding was that the limited-edition vehicle was a representation of things to come for the variant. The current generation of the Mirage G4 was revealed locally in August last year and has been noted for its updated styling with the sharp “Dynamic Shield” front end as well as interior refinements such as the new SDA (Smartphone Link Display Audio) of 7 inches. which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A Sports variant can be seen as a logical next step in the lineup.

“The Mirage G4 has always been an embodiment of dynamism, which is why we affectionately associate it with ‘Game For Anything’, just like the personality of its owner. With this new iteration, Mitsubishi aims to reach all types of customers who We want to provide them with options that best represent their individuality so they can experience what we mean by ‘Life Made Better,’” said Takeshi Hara, President and CEO of MMPC during of the launch.

That’s a really honest statement. Hara never said the car would perform like a sports car and never claimed the body kits would give it an extra boost on the gas pedal. What he said is that the variant creates space for those whose personality can match the G4 Sport’s understated looks and real-world performance.

Besides the conveniences I mentioned earlier, the Keyless Entry system and Engine Push Start, as well as Welcome Home and Coming Home Light are welcome features. The lights activate at the click of the remote control to illuminate the immediate surroundings when you leave or approach the vehicle.

The front seats are comfortable and snug, with a nice soft-touch material that didn’t get too hot to the touch even after leaving the car in sunny areas. My complaint? It has no lumbar support or reclining headrests. The air conditioning and climate control system is powerful enough to cool the car even after sitting in the sun, but only in the front seats. There are vents in the back, which is good for the rear passenger area to cool down faster.

The rear seats are well supported and firm. What’s amazing is the legroom – stretching the frame to the farthest possible ends of the C-pillar is a good move, as boot space is still relatively huge (for a VW Santana, for example ). All the seat belts are there as well as the fixed points of the child seats.

The control layout was pretty standard, nothing really stood out as difficult or cumbersome to use. The ankles never felt strain from the angle of the accelerator or brake pedals. The wiper stalk left room for improvement, as it had a relatively unclear set of controls printed on it.

“We make a conscious effort to listen to our market and involve it in the continuous development of our products. It helps us better understand and meet the expectations of our Filipino customers,” said Hara, confirming MMPC’s inspiration to bring the limited edition GLS Sport.

The vehicle is available in Titanium Gray Metallic, Red Metallic and Cool Silver Metallic. There are plenty of promotions going on that make the entire G4 range accessible to beginners and millennials. From where I am, I say this is a great compact to start with.