2015 Mitsubishi Attrage | Road Test
* Due to its size, light steering, and tight turning circle, the Attrage is an extremely easy car to navigate within city limits.
* Surprisingly spacious rear seats.
* CVT drone under acceleration is akin to a juicer at full capacity.
* Averaging 7.8 litres for every 100 kilometres, the Attrage isn't as fuel efficient as its 3-cylinder engine would have you believe.
* With a soft suspension set-up, the Japanese sedan nearly guarantees the wheels rubbing against the body over speed humps, if rear passengers are present.
Introduction & Summary
It’s been an interesting week here at AME; what started off with a race up Jabal Jais in a Lamborghini Huracan and Audi RS7, has come to a close with a vehicle that is about as exciting as Johnny Bravo’s wardrobe. Targeted towards new license holders, travelling salesmen, and university students on a tight budget, the 2015 Mitsubishi Attrage is every bit as economical as its AED 39,900 starting price suggests.
Built in Thailand, the Attrage is a relatively new sedan to the subcompact car class and faces competition from local favourites, the Nissan Sunny and Hyundai Accent. But unlike its rivals, the Attrage is here to carry out just one task – redefine affordable motoring.
Styling & Design
Disproportionately large headlamps, a blacked out hexagonal grille, and chrome garnishes around the fog lamp housings, remind you that the phrase ‘love at first sight’ is best left to fairy tales. Along the length of the vehicle, prominent ascending creases which connect the front fenders to the tail lamps are a neat touch, yet, they are unable to add much character to the bodywork. The bulbous physique of the Attrage, coupled with petite 16 inch wheels, also gives the impression of a top-heavy vehicle, which is ironic, since it feels like it weighs as much as a can of baked beans.
Inside, it’s merely a cut and paste job from the Mitsubishi Mirage, and that means an invasion of hard plastics on the dashboard and door panels, an amber backlit radio system from the 90’s, and gloss black centre console embellishment to break the monotony of grain plastics found all over the cabin.
Fitted with an extremely simplistic radio system which offers quite possibly the worst reception quality we’ve heard in a while, the 2015 Mitsubishi Attrage allows for your senses to be taken on a journey of aural confusion. Mixing Iranian beats with your favourite English tracks, and Tagalog words into your classic Arabic jams, it’s funny, albeit for a short while. Once you’ve had enough of DJ Attrage, however, there is an option to switch to a CD, or even listen to your own music through the AUX jack.
Since our tester was the mid-spec variant of the economy sedan, we missed out on the fully automatic A/C system, a passenger airbag, and seatbelt pretensioners…scary, but we did get steering controls for the audio system and a multi-information display which projected stats such as average fuel consumption, driving range, etc.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Pushing out 77 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 100 Nm of torque at 4,000 RPM from its diminutive 1.2 litre 3-cylinder engine, the 2015 Mitsubishi Attrage directs power through a CVT transmission to the front wheels and dispatches a 100 km/h run in a painstakingly long quarter of a minute.
Far from powerful, the lack of horsepower is evident right from the get-go. Struggling to conquer inclines and ensuring overtaking is a thoroughly planned activity, the Attrage in its own twisted little way, gives birth better drivers.
With no cruise control, it makes sure pedal balance is practised (a skill most have forgotten), car control and response times are also improved, as people feel it is completely acceptable to cut you off, and simply sticking to the fast lane and flashing your headlights doesn’t get you anywhere.
While the extremely light steering, compact size, and 4.8 metres tight turning radius make the Attrage an absolute breeze to drive in cramped parking lots and bumper to bumper traffic, the same cannot be said when on the highway. Manufactured using high tensile steel to reduce weight, the diet program has now made the Attrage the second lightest vehicle in its class; great news, up until you feel you’ve lost complete traction every time an SUV flies past in the fast lane.
Which brings me on to the other issue with the Attrage – fuel economy. Built for countries where animals, bicycles, and tuk-tuks share the tarmac with other road users, the Attrage struggles to fit into a place like the UAE, where ruler straight highways run for kilometres on end and speed limits are in excess of 100 km/h. Working at nearly 70% of its capacity at highway speeds, the Attrage loses its main point of attraction (low fuel consumption) and averages nearly 8.0 litres for every 100 kilometres. Proving once again, that a smaller engine isn’t necessarily a more fuel efficient one.
Comfort & Practicality
As far as comfort is concerned, there really isn’t a lot to expect from the Attrage. You get what you pay for; spongy fabric wrapped seats, A/C vents only in the front, and sun visors so small that they’d only help if you sat close enough to use the steering as a chin rest.
Where it does surprise, however, is on the practicality front. With ample amounts of headroom thanks to a depressed roof liner and even greater amounts of leg room, the rear seats of the Attrage are a lot more comfortable than most would imagine. In addition, there’s also a mighty impressive amount of boot space (450 litres to be exact), landing the Attrage a great score on the practicality-o-metre.
Price & Verdict
As far as prices are concerned, the 2015 Mitsubishi Attrage has finally given the Japanese brand something to hold up in front of the Koreans; and while it may not be the nicest looking sedan out there, its existence in the Middle Eastern market is what really needs to be questioned.
In a race to slash prices below its competitors, the Attrage has bypassed a design department, a features department, and a safety department, (or at least it feels like it has) and the outcome is a car that is extensively simple. Sure, you may argue that what you get, is what you pay for, but the real issue is with its price point.
With the Hyundai Accent starting at AED 43,500 and the Nissan Sunny from AED 45,500, the price difference is an insignificant AED 3,600 and AED 5,600 from that of the Attrage. With both bringing a proper 4-cylinder engine and with more features as standard than even the top of the line Attrage offers, it clearly isn’t a case of cheaper is better. So increase the budget by a couple of thousands, because what you’ll drive home then is a car which is better on all counts – performance, features, safety, and design included.