The Mitsubishi Space Star has been around on the Old Continent for a few months but Asians have bought it ever since the first quarter of 2012, when the model was launched under the Mirage nameplate.
Engine and Transmission
The model we tested was powered by a 1.0-lter DOHC (double overhead cam) three-cylinder 12-valve MIVEC engine (999 cc), which is producing a total output of 71 HP (52 kW) at 6,000 rpm and it has a peak torque of 88 Nm available at 5,000 rpm. Mitsubishi says that the 0 to 100 km/h sprint takes 13.6 seconds but this can pretty much say 13 days and 6 hours, because it’s exactly the same. Power is sent to the front-wheel drive through a five-speed manual transmission which does its job quite well, but the annoying part is the engine. Let’s put it like this, the Space Star felt like the most underpowered car I have ever driven and my everyday car is a 1.2-liter Chevy Aveo, so I’m used to driving small engine-powered vehicles.
With the AC on the whole time, because Bucharest felt like a giant oven, I’ve taken the Space Star for a quick trip around the city and every time I stopped at a red light, I had only one thought in my mind: how will I convince it to move its wheels again? Because this is the only big problem which the Space Star has and you literally feel your hair becoming all white every time you shift into first gear and push the throttle. The gearbox is on the other hand is surprisingly good and this is a big “plus” compared to the huge “minus” received by the powertrain.
Mitsubishi says that the average fuel consumption stands at just 4.0 liters burned every 100 km and they are so proud that they’ve written this all over the test car. In the city the model should consume 4.6 liters and on the highway 3.6 liters. False, extremely false, if you want to drive it like a normal car and you shift gears at just over 2,000 rpm, the trip computer will indicate an average fuel consumption of 8.7 liters in the urban environment. On the highway, at 100 km/h with the AC on, this indicates just over 6 L / 100 km, which is huge compared to the official figures.
I wanted to see in what circumstances the Space Star can burn just 4.0 L / 100 km and I left the AC on and went on the highway. The solution came after a few minutes when at an average speed of 70 km/h, in the fifth gear, the trip computer finally showed me the magic figure of 4.0L, but I didn’t dare to try and achieve the 3.6L Mitsubishi says it can do because I still have a personal life.
The Mitsubishi Space Star is a surprisingly comfortable vehicle but this shouldn’t be such a big surprise considering the fact that this is a modified Nissan Micra. The carmaker has used the same platform from the Micra to develop it and this has turned out to be a good decision. The ride is good and the steering is even better, compared to the competition, so there you have it, the small car has some “ups” too.
Mitsubishi’s designers did a pretty good job in creating the cabin of the Space Star and if we can ignore the predominant dark and grey shades, we can say that the overall looks are better than what Nissan is offering on the Micra. The seats are surprisingly comfortable even if they’re not offering any side support but it’s not like you can show up at track days with the car. There are enough storage spaces like the two cup holders in front of the gear shift lever, the door pockets can receive small bottles, on each side, all the buttons are where you expect them to be but the downside is the lack of a front armrest. Mitsubishi could have copied the Micra’s design here and incorporate a small armrest into the driver’s seat.
As for the equipment level in the test car we can mention the single-zone AC, the AUX input, the two front electric windows, electric mirrors, trip computer and that’s about all. And yes, you also have a button on the driver’s door to lock the windows, but if you push it, you won’t be able to play with the front passenger’s window. There is also a stop/start system which doesn’t work if the AC is in the third or fourth position.
Likes / Dislikes
As I said above, the Space Star was the most underpowered car I have ever driven. The engine is simply horrible at low revs and it doesn’t get any better in high revs either, you just feel like you’re a normal man driving a normal car. The fuel consumption is another drawback because what Mitsubishi is saying and what really happens is miles apart. I don’t like the name either because it tells me that the vehicle can do stuff out of this world. I wanted to take it to the Moon but because NASA has stopped lying and the Russians were untouchable, I couldn’t actually get there. So I took it on a dirt road to see if Mitsubishi has misspelled “Space” for “Field”. Bad idea, because turning it around in some huge bumps made me wonder why I am driving it in the first place.
The “like” part is quite big but sadly it doesn’t compensate for the engine and fuel consumption figures. For instance I liked the suspension setting, the car is very comfortable in the city, the seats are good and the gearbox is even better. Good job, Nissan! The AC works good and it doesn’t feel like there is an asthmatic blowing air through a straw every time you turn it on. The sound system isn’t signed by Bose or Harman Kardon but it’s enough to turn the volume up once your favorite track comes on the radio. So make sure you properly test drive the Space Star if you want to buy it and in the process, go to Nissan and ask for the Micra and don’t forget about Chevrolet’s Aveo.
The Mitsubishi Space Star’s previous generation wasn’t a safe vehicle and it only received a 3-star safety rating. But the new car is aiming for the full 5 stars which were received from the ANCAP (Australian New Car Assessment Program). The Space Star hasn’t been tested in Europe just yet.
Cheapest version – 11,490 EUR, VAT included
Test car – 11,490 EUR
* The Space Star is coming with a 36-month / 100,000 km warranty.
** The Dacia Sandero 1.2L 16V Access has a starting price of just 6,990 EUR and it’s coming with 75 HP. The Nissan Micra costs 11,500 EUR, the Kia Rio, with its 85 HP 1.2L engine 10,097 EUR and the Chevrolet Aveo, with 86 HP, 11,400 EUR.