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Auto Show:  2011 Tokyo Auto Show

Mitsubishi Mirage - Tokyo Auto Show

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer November 2011

While many of the debuts at this year's Tokyo Auto Show feature futuristic concept cars with wacky styling, Mitsubishi chose this year's event to replace its aging Colt, a subcompact hatchback sold in several global markets outside the US. Dubbed the Mirage, the new subcompact resurrects a name previously used by the automaker throughout the 1980s and 1990s and features new styling, a revised interior and updated technology.

The Mirage's most obvious updates are on the outside. While the Colt featured crisp lines and few frills, the Mirage's exterior offers rounded curves and a more endearing look. The automaker's former corporate grille is gone, and the Mirage trades the Colt's aggressive front headlights and fascia for a larger lower grille and generic trapezoidal lights. Other stylistic features include two character lines running down both sides and an abruptly sloping rear end that ditches the Colt's long vertical tail lights for traditional units below the rear window.

Inside, the Mirage offers a crisp, clean int erior with the quality, sizing and features typical of a subcompact car. Shown in a handsome white and black two-tone color scheme, the Mirage's cockpit includes clear gauges, circular air vents on either side of the dashboard with horizontal units in the center and a no-frills center stack with room for an optional full-color navigation screen.

Under the hood, the Mirage also undergoes major changes compared to its Colt predecessor. While the Colt's smallest engine was a 1.3-liter four-cylinder, the Mirage will debut with a fuel-sipping 1.0-liter three-cylinder, which is coupled to a continuously-variable automatic transmission to attain the best possible fuel economy. For even better mileage, the Mirage includes Mitsubishi's Auto Stop and Go system, which shuts off the subcompact's engine when idling to avoid wasting fuel. Each feature is part of Mitsubishi's goal to offer best-in-class fuel economy of more than 50 miles per gallon.

According to Mitsubishi, the new Mirage will first arrive in Thailand next March, with other markets following closely behind. Unfortunately for small car fans, the subcompact is unlikely to arrive on US shores.

See more Tokyo Auto Show news.

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