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Mitsubishi Mirage

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Mirage
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Wikipedia: Mitsubishi Mirage

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A compact car produced by Mitsubishi from 1978-2003 and again beginning in 2012.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Mitsubishi Mirage page on 4 September August 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Mitsubishi Mirage is a range of cars produced by the Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi from 1978 to 2003 and again since 2012. The hatchback models produced between 1978 and 2003 were classified as subcompact cars, while the sedan and station wagon models, marketed prominently as the Mitsubishi Lancer, were the compact offerings. The liftback introduced in 1988 complemented the sedan as an additional compact offering, and the coupé of 1991 fitted in with the subcompact range. The current Mirage model is a subcompact hatchback and sedan and it replaces the Mitsubishi Colt sold between 2002 and 2012.

The Mirage has a complicated marketing history, with a varied and much convoluted naming convention that differed substantially depending on the market. Mitsubishi used the Mirage name for all five generations in Japan, with all but the first series badged as such in the United States. However, other markets often utilized the name Mitsubishi Colt and sedan variants of the Mirage have been widely sold as the Mitsubishi Lancer—including in Japan where the two retailed alongside one another. In Japan, the Mirage was sold at a specific retail chain called Car Plaza.

In the United States and Canada, the first four generations were sold through a venture with Chrysler as the Dodge Colt and the similar Plymouth-badged Champ and Colt. Later, the venture brought the Eagle Vista and Summit branded models which sold alongside the aforementioned. Confusingly, Chrysler has also offered an unrelated Dodge Lancer at various stages between the 1950s and 1980s. However, when DaimlerChrysler briefly controlled Mitsubishi through the DaimlerChrysler-Mitsubishi alliance from 2000 through to 2004, the license to the "Lancer" name was relinquished to Mitsubishi for usage in North America. Thus, after the fifth and final generation Mirage, replacement models in North America have adopted the new name.

Mitsubishi introduced replacements for the fifth series of Mirage, starting in 2000 with a new generation of Lancer—now larger, having moved up to the compact segment. Then in 2002, a subcompact five-door hatchback badged Colt globally became available. By 2003, the Mirage and its derivatives had been completely phased out of mainstream Japanese production. For the 2002-era Colt's replacement in 2012, Mitsubishi decided to resurrect the Mirage name internationally for a new sixth generation model.

With the rising popularity of boxy subcompact SUVs in Japan, the Mirage nameplate was used on a domestic market-only model called the Mirage Dingo, from 1999. The Dingo was facelifted in 2001 and canceled in 2003. However, New Zealand sold a very different Mirage from 2002—a rebadged Dutch-manufactured Mitsubishi Space Star labeled Mirage Space Star. This vehicle was not very popular and was discontinued in 2003.

First generation (1978–1983)

Mitsubishi launched the Mirage as a front-wheel drive three-door hatchback in March 1978, as a response to the 1973 oil crisis. A five-door hatchback on a longer wheelbase arrived in September. Since most overseas markets did not have the Minica kei car, the Mirage was usually sold as Mitsubishi's entry-level model. Chassis codes were from A151 to 153 for the three-doors, with A155 and up used for the longer five-door version.

In February 1982, Mitsubishi facelifted the Mirage range. Distinguished by the installation of flusher fitting headlamps that extended into the fender panels, stylists also designed a new grille insert. The taillights were larger, new firmer engine and transmission mounts were fitted, and a new, lighter and more rigid transmission case was developed. The dashboard was also updated, with rotating "satellite"buttons mounted within fingertip reach for light and wiper functions.

Chrysler imported this generation of Mirage to the North America as the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ from late-1978 for the 1979 model year, in three-door form only until the 1982 model year when the five-door was added. Then from the 1983 model year, Plymouth retired the Champ and adopted the name Colt as well.

Second generation (1983–1991)

Mitsubishi launched the second generation Mirage to Japan in 1983, again splitting the range into Mirage (three- and five-door hatchback, plus four-door sedan) and Lancer Fiore (four-door sedan) models. A station wagon version of the Mirage was added in 1985, with a four-wheel drive wagon available from the fall of 1986 with the 1.8-liter gasoline engine. Many export markets sold the hatchbacks as Mirage or Colt, with the sedan and wagon commonly badged Lancer. This wagon model went on to become very popular in both the commercial and private sectors overseas as well as in Japan.

Mitsubishi in Thailand released the three-door and sedan models with 1.3- and 1.5-liter engine as the Mitsubishi Champ in 1983. Later the series was renamed Mitsubishi Champ II and Champ III, with the hatchback and 1.5-liter versions discontinued. The Champ was retired in 1994. In Indonesia, all models (including the hatchback) were sold under the Lancer nameplate.

The four-door sedan formed the basis of the Proton Saga, Malaysia's first locally built car and manufactured between 1985 and 2008. Proton would later spin the Saga off into its own five-door hatchback called the Saga Aeroback in 1987 (longer, and styled differently from Mitsubishi's own five-door hatchback version).

Third generation (1987–1995)

Mitsubishi introduced the more rounded, third-generation Mirage to Japan in October 1987. Masaru Furukawa headed the vehicle design, with Yasukichi Akamatsu given the role of chief engineer. The basic model, a three-door hatchback with upright tailgate and large glasshouse arrived first. The sedan, released to Japan in January 1988 was stylistically distinct with almost vertical rear glass, influenced by the larger Galant. The range was complemented by a five-door liftback in June 1988, but without a station wagon variant, Mitsubishi persevered with the previous model until the release of a new wagon on the fourth generation chassis. As before, Mirage, Colt, and Lancer naming varied between markets with different body shapes often having different titles in the same market. In Japan, sedans were available with the Mirage and Lancer nameplates, while the three-door was sold only as Mirage, and the liftback only as Lancer. Japanese Mirage sedans usually featured the "Vie Saloon" suffix.

Fourth generation (1991–1995)

In October 1991, the fourth generation Mirage made its debut for the Japanese market alongside the related Lancer. Departing from the previous series, the new Mirage adopted a much rounder body shape—a change duplicated by much of the automotive industry in the early-1990s. As before, the Japanese Mirage lineup comprised the three-door hatchback (now called Mirage Cyborg) and sedan (now with a six-window glasshouse), plus a new coupé body type suffixed Asti. Lancer variants sold in Japan offered unique body variants—a four-windowed sedan and from May 1992, a station wagon simply named Mitsubishi Libero. In most markets the wagon's introduction coincided with a small update for 1993, with new bumpers and adjustments to the engine lineup. The Lancer wagon was sold until 2003 in the Australian and New Zealand markets, primarily for fleet buyers. The wagon was still sold as of 2012 in Belize, however as of 2013 the model is no longer offered on the website.

Fifth generation (1995–2003)

The release of the fifth generation Mirage to Japan in October 1995 introduced a rationalized lineup as a result of the fragile post-bubble economy in Japan. Three body types were issued: first, the three-door hatchback and sedan, then in December 1995, the two-door coupé (Asti). While the sedan grew slightly in size, the coupé shrunk modestly. It was bumped from the subcompact class to compact in the United States. Whereas the previous Mirage sedan sold in Japan featured a six-window profile, the 1995 redesign shared its styling with the Lancer except for minor differences in trim. For the Lancer, these included a different trunk lid, amber front turn signal lamps, and a restyled grille garnish. No station wagon of this generation was offered, although the previous generation wagon continued over the entire fifth generation production run. While only the sedan formed part of the Lancer range in Japan, both the coupé and sedan were labeled as Mirage and Lancer in export markets. Between 1995 and 2004, the Mitsubishi Carisma supplanted the sedan in some European markets.

A minor facelift arrived in 1997. Of note, the Lancer sedan featured a new grille and reshaped inner-portions of the headlamps to better differentiate it from the Mirage donor model. Both the coupé and sedan benefited from redesigned taillamps, whereas the three-door only received a redesigned front bumper incorporating a larger grille. In 1997, a classically styled version of the Mirage three-door hatchback became available in Japan, badged Mirage Modarc. The Modarc featured chrome for the grille, side mirrors, door handles, and bumper strips; it also included fog lights and optional alloy wheels. In 2001, the Mirage-based models gained a chrome-trimmed grille insert in limited markets.

Sixth generation (2012–present)

The Colt was renamed back to Mirage in 2012. The sixth generation was previewed as a concept car at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, with series production cars unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. For some European markets, the name Mitsubishi Space Star is used.

The Mirage is built at Mitsubishi Thailand's Laem Chabang plant, facility number three since 19 April 2012. Shipments to Japan began in July, with the Australian hitting the market in January 2013. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines will begin manufacturing both the hatchback and G4 sedan variants of the Mirage for the country's market in January 2017.

The sedan version of the Mirage, also labelled Mitsubishi Attrage or Mitsubishi Mirage G4 in some markets, has been manufactured at Mitsubishi's Laem Chabang plant in Thailand since June 2013. While based on the hatchback, the sedan is unique from the back doors rearwards, and has revised front styling. The sedan was first introduced as a concept car at the 2013 Bangkok Auto Show called the Concept G4 sedan. Like the hatchback, the sedan is offered with a 1.2-liter engine.


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
May 1998Calspan On-Site Driver Air Bag Deployment/Fatality Investigation
Vehicle - 1995 Mitsubishi Mirage
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 236KB - 14 pages
September 1998Remote, Redesigned Air Bag Special Study
1998 Mitsubishi Mirage
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 552KB - 9 pages
October 1998Veridian On-Site Air Bag Related Fetal Fatality Investigation
Vehicle: 1998 Mitsubishi Mirage DE
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 171KB - 14 pages
April 1999Remote, Redesigned Air Bag Special Study
1999 Mitsubishi Mirage
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 292KB - 7 pages
March 2005Calspan Remote Adult Air Bag Related Fatality Investigation
Vehicle: 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 475KB - 12 pages


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
4 January 2013Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited’s (MMAL) Mitsubishi Mirage, it’s Back and it Keeps on Getting Better and Better ….Mitsubishi Motors
4 September 20172017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4: My Shortest Test Drive (Yet)Bill Crittenden


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