Under Cover Assignment

Singapore is a place where appearances count. A common dream is flashy cars, bling, and lots of style – but thankfully the Singaporean mindset also has a big dose of practicality and cutting to the quick of things, just take the direct nature of Singlish as a classic example.

Someone who ought to know a bit about outward appearances and things that are literally flashy or eye-catching is Peter Lee. Lee, 34, is a professional photographer with a specialisation in automobiles and models. In other words, he takes great photos of desirable cars and beautiful people.

Peter’s been on the job for 14 years, so it’s no exaggeration to say he’s developed an eye for the exceptional and he certainly has a healthy regard for aesthetics.

When he was paired with a Mitsubishi Attrage for a few days though,  the outcome was something that was less than expected, and in fact a pleasant surprise.

The super-cost-effective Attrage is a compact sedan, meant for maximum usability in the city. Powered by a 1.2-litre engine, it’s certainly not a fast and furious machine of the kind Peter’s been aiming his lenses at for years.

Having seen his fair share of stunners and blunders, Peter doesn’t think the Attrage resembles your typical family car. “I actually think it looks quite attractive, especially in the red metallic paint, it actually stands out a bit,” he says.

But isn’t a family-oriented, humble sedan a bit of a mis-fit for a aesthete like Peter? Not really, since there’s also a hugely practical, and logistical, side to photography.

“Photography is an art, but it’s also a skill,” elaborates Peter. “That’s why you need to bring a full range of gear to make a shoot work, multiple lenses, reflectors. If you don’t have the proper tools with you, a shoot can be a disaster.”

Luckily, the Attrage is also designed to maximise the amount of usable space on the inside. Thus, it is fitted with front door pockets, seatback pockets, a centre cup holder, glove box, and storage nets.

At the back, is a relatively large boot that can store 450-litres of gear, or more specifically two strobe lights, a big-sized reflector, one camera stand and a tripod — everything Peter needs to get the job done. The huge boot easily swallowed Peter’s bright purple hardcase, which he uses to keep his precious lenses and camera bodies safe from impacts.

Making life even easier is keyless entry, a standard feature on the Attrage. With key in pocket, all you have to do to open the door or boot is press an exterior button, and that helps lots when you have your hands full, as Peter often does.

The new Attrage gets a redesigned hood, grille, front and rear bumper, fog and headlamps, rear spoiler and wheels. The exterior styling was given purpose, with an aerodynamic design to maximise fuel-efficiency and a simple, restraining form to help reduce weight.

A short nose and boot makes this car perfect for maneuvering in congested urban cities like Singapore. Weighing in at just 900kg, the car’s lightness also helps with its handling and efficiency.

Those of you who are in the market for less environmentally-detrimental cars, will know that the Attrage’s quoted fuel efficiency of 4.8L/100km is amongst the best in class, and close to that of a hybrid car as well.

It’s extra useful for someone like Peter, whose photography assignments take him all over the island. We caught up with him at the scene of a magazine cover shoot at the top floor of a carpark, but he’s literally been to all four corners of Singapore in search of unique backdrops.

Going far, and getting lost in hard-to-find places means fuel efficiency is a great boon for him, and after a long day behind the viewfinder, an easy-to-drive vehicle is also another relief.

“Honestly I didn’t expect much from it, but the Attrage did a good job without any complaints. It’s easy to drive, fits all my stuff, and takes passengers too,” he says.

The Attrage has a large rear passenger area, another very useful feature for shoots as it’s never just a one man show – photographic assistants, make-up artists not to mention the models themselves, also needed to get to the location, for example.

There’s no such thing as the best car in the world. Just like how there is no such thing as the most beautiful woman or man in the world. There are however, different cars that are better suited for different situations and in this case, the Attrage is right in its element as a hard-working, behind-the-scenes machine.

For someone who shows artistic flair, and sensitivity to visual arts, Peter certainly didn’t forsake the need for practicality when he chose the Attrage.

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