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Can an upgrade give Mitsubishi’s Attrage wider appeal?

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by August 27, 2016 General

What the Mitsubishi Attrage lacks in glamour, it makes up for in fuel-sipping practicality. — Handout via TODAYWhat the Mitsubishi Attrage lacks in glamour, it makes up for in fuel-sipping practicality. — Handout via TODAYSINGAPORE, Aug 27 — No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Mitsubishi Attrage has gradually become a common sight on Singapore’s roads, and that is because it has been racking up sales. Just not from the customers you may have expected.

Instead, the little Mitsubishi seems to have found its niche as a rental car. Lion City Rental, an Uber-linked company, apparently bought 1,000 of them for drivers to rent.

Could an upgrade to the Attrage help it to appeal to buyers instead of renters? There is a good chance, since it is now being sold under Cycle & Carriage’s Private Hire Purchase financing scheme. That means you could start driving one for a downpayment of S$8,299 (RM24,654), and S$870 a month for 10 years — if you set up your own private-hire company to own the car for you.

Cents and sensibility

Financial considerations apart, the Model Year 2017 Attrage builds on some of the car’s basic strengths.

There have been changes to the suspension that improve stability, said Mitsubishi, and drivers now have clearer instruments and a redesigned steering wheel. Another worthwhile addition: A touchscreen sound system with built-in GPS. Whether you drive for Uber or not, it is always good to know where you are going.

For such a compact car, the Attrage is surprisingly spacious in the back, and that 450-litre boot is nothing to sneeze at, either. A number of big-car features like keyless entry and engine starting, automatic climate control and steering wheel audio buttons have found their way into the car, too.

Yet, in spite of all that, it still feels like a small car in some ways. It has a slightly bouncy ride over bumps, and the driving position makes you feel as if you were atop the driver’s seat, instead of in it.

What the Mitsubishi Attrage lacks in glamour, it makes up for in fuel-sipping practicality. — Handout via TODAYWhat the Mitsubishi Attrage lacks in glamour, it makes up for in fuel-sipping practicality. — Handout via TODAYFuel-sipping frugality

On the plus side, the Attrage is still a highly manoeuvrable car in the city, with a tiny turning circle.

As for roadholding, the Mitsubishi is either admirably stuck to the tarmac, or so slow that its tyres are never seriously put under strain. The sprint from 0 to 100kmh takes all of 14 seconds, and the engine seems better at producing noise than forward motion.

That said, the Mitsubishi’s trump card is its tiny appetite for fuel. The three-cylinder engine may not be muscular, but it looks at petrol the way a vegetarian looks at meat.

Besides being smooth, the Continuously Variable Transmission does help to keep revs down, with the result that the Attrage has a quoted fuel consumption average of just 4.8 litres per 100km. Getting that much mileage might be tough in start-stop traffic conditions, but a recent fuel economy challenge done by Mitsubishi showed that, on the highway at least, the Attrage is as frugal as they come.

Eye of the beholder

What seems to be missing though, is a bit of glamour. The car’s plain looks mean that the Attrage is unlikely to ever grace a bedroom poster or computer screensaver.

But it helps to think of the Mitsubishi more as a beast of burden than a car. That way you can ignore the lack of glamour and focus on the winning format: A Japanese badge, four-door body, large boot, roomy interior and small appetite for fuel.

Given the above, it is no wonder Lion City Rental grabbed a fleet of them. And what makes sense for Uber drivers can make sense for the ordinary driver, too.

Mitsubishi Attrage 1.2

Engine: 1,193cc, in-line three, 78hp, 100Nm

Performance: 170kmh, 0-100kmh: 14.0s, 4.8L/100km, 113g/km CO2

On sale: Now

Pros: Well-equipped, relatively spacious and easy on the fuel bills

Cons: Slow, sometimes noisy — TODAY

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