Test Drives

Mitsubishi Attrage 2016 review: Fleet of foot


mitsubishi attrage singapore

Minor upgrades keep the Mitsubishi Attrage fresh, but it’s the same, sensible workhorse underneath

SINGAPORE – Take it from me, this is a new Mitsubishi Attrage. Well, not new, maybe, but upgraded. Let’s call it the Mitsubishi Attrage MY2017 (or Model Year 2017).

Can’t tell what’s new? You just have to know where to look. And in this case, the best place to point your eyes is the press release.

Besides being unusually well-written, the one that accompanies the MY17 gets straight to the point. The Attrage, it says, has received steering and suspension tweaks that give it a more stable ride.

It’s also been crash-tested by Asean NCAP now, receiving a four-star score (out of five). That’s good to know because the impact speeds used by Asean NCAP are actually higher than what’s required by law, and because regional crash tests are about smashing up cars that are actually on sale in our part of the world.

Inside, the little Mitsubishi has been given a mild makeover, with a new instrument cluster that has white backlighting, and a new steering wheel design.

mitsubishi attrage faceliftSo far, so minor.

But maybe what’s significant about the MY17 Attrage is what hasn’t changed. At heart, it’s still a fuel economy champ, with a small three-cylinder engine and Continuously Variable Transmission helping it to stretch a litre of unleaded to 20.8km. You’re unlikely to get that far in start-stop conditions, but the Mitsubishi is still a fundamentally frugal car.

So much so, in fact, that its carbon output is small enough to qualify it for a $10,000 CEVS rebate. That’s significant because you can only get a CEVS-driven refund on taxes that you actually pay, so if your car cost, say, just $5,000 fresh from the factory, you wouldn’t be entitled to a full $10,000 rebate. That, in turn, means that Cycle & Carriage has ticked pretty much every item on the Attrage’s options list, in order to make sure that it qualifies for as much tax savings as possible.

Clear? Never mind if not. Just enjoy the result, which is that the Attrage is specced to the gills. It has keyless entry and engine starting, automatic climate control, audio buttons on the steering wheel, and five proper seatbelts (along with two front airbags).

mitsubishi attrage review singaporeThe leather upholstery is factory-fitted, and apparently so is the sound system, although its GPS navigation system looks like its software is from Singapore. At least it works fairly well, and is a worthwhile feature to have.

What your Attrage won’t deliver is a stirring drive. Three-cylinder engines tend to let out a merry chirrup when revved hard, but the Mitsubishi gets boomy inside when you dig the spurs in. There’s little point in doing so, too, because it doesn’t pick up speed with much urgency.

The roadholding is actually surprisingly secure (perhaps because you’re seldom moving fast enough to get yourself into trouble) but the Attrage is very obviously a city-oriented car, with light steering and a tiny turning circle.

For such a small car, it’s actually quite roomy in the back, and the boot is a big one. Like, 450 litres big.

mitsubishi attrage singapore review

Yet, in spite of the generous space packaging, it’s hard not to be reminded that the Attrage is a small car. There’s a bouncy character to the way it takes bumps, and the driving position is a little strange, leaving you more with the feeling of sitting on the car than in it.

But ultimately it’s easy to see the sense in one of these: it’s roomy, frugal and well-equipped, with the big fat cherry on the cake being the fact that it also happens to be one of the cheapest cars in Singapore.

Little wonder that Lion City Rental, the company that wants to supply Uber drivers with cars, has apparently bought a thousand of them from Cycle & Carriage.

That should tell you something about the nature of the Mitsubishi Attrage. Some horses are born to win races, while others are destined for a life of work.

mitsubishi attrage price singapore

NEED TO KNOW Mitsubishi Attrage 1.2
Engine 1,193cc, 16V, inline 3
Power 78hp at 6000rpm
Torque 100Nm at 4000rpm
Gearbox CVT
Top Speed 170km/h
0-100km/h 14.0 seconds
Fuel efficiency 4.8L/100km
CO2 113g/km
Price $89,999 with COE
Availability Now

about the author

Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.