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2013 Mitsubishi Mirage to start from $12,990

Starting mid-January, the base model Mirage ES will battle it out with the cheaper Chery J1 (from $10,990), Suzuki Alto (from $11,790) and Holden Barina Spark (from $12,490). The other notable players in the sub $14K light car market are the Nissan Micra (from $13,490), and the Proton S16 and Volkswagen Up (from $13,990).

The ES comes with a two speaker audio system with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, and a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and phone controls. The ES also features 14-inch steel wheels and manual air conditioning.

The next model up is the Mirage Sport and it comes with 14-inch alloys, two extra speakers and a rear spoiler. The LS is the top of the range gets larger 15 inch alloys, foglights, climate control, keyless entry with push button start, auto headlights and rain sensing wipers.

There is only one engine on offer: a 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 57kW and 100Nm. The best fuel consumption is achieved in the ES model (4.6L/100km). The rest of the rage still manages to return impressive fuel consumption figures below 5L/100km. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission.

The diminutive Mirage measures 3710mm in length, 1665mm width and 1500mm in height. Mitsubishi claims to have the best turning circle in class with a turning radius of just 4.4 metres for the ES and a respectable 4.6 metres for the LS. This means it would be even easier to park and manoeuvre around the city than the tiny size might suggest.

Mitsubishi expects the maximum five-star result in safety crash testing thanks to standard six airbags and electronic stability control across the range. Warranty is five-year/130,000km and it comes with four year/60,000 capped-price servicing program.

The 2013 Mitsubishi Mirage manufacturer list prices are as follows:

Model 5 speed manual CVT auto
ES $12,990 $15,240
Sport $14,190 $16,440
LS $15,490 $17,740