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Mitsubishi ‘Mirage Dingo’ Was Actually A Convenient Compact Wagon

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TEXT: 小鮒康一(KOBUNA Koichi)  PHOTO: MITSUBISHI MOTORS/AMW

  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo introduced in 1999

The Mirage Dingo was also sold in China

The Mirage Dingo was a compact car launched by Mitsubishi in 1999. Although the name of the car was Mirage, it was not based on the same car, but on a newly developed platform. The earlier model was characterized by a unique front mask, while the later model was changed to a milder design.

The car featured a seat layout that could be fully flattened

The Mirage is a Mitsubishi compact car that was sold until 2002 and was popular as a 1.6-liter hot hatch alongside the Honda Civic, with one-make races held in the past. It was also popular in motorsports such as gymkhana and dirt trials, and together with the coupe-style Mirage Asty, still has a strong fan base. However, among the derivatives bearing the Mirage name, there was one that had nothing to do with motorsports at all. This was the Mirage Dingo, which was launched in January 1999.

The Mirage Dingo was a tall wagon with a compact body size, and was styled like the big brother of the Toppo BJ, which existed at the same time. However, the front mask was very distinctive, with round headlamps arranged vertically and different-diameter headlights that gave it an unusual appearance.

In contrast to these distinctive looks, the car was very seriously made, especially targeting users of the child-rearing generation, and included an attachment that could be used to hold a folded baby pram upright, and a “baby mirror” that allowed the driver to see the child in the rear seat without having to look back. A model equipped with a “visible mirror” was also released.

Also, by eliminating the center console and adopting a column shift, it was possible to walk through from front to rear and left to right, and the seat layout could be made fully flat, making it both compact and practical for flexible use.

At first, the line-up included a 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine, like a practical car, but in January 2000 a cheaper 1.3-liter model was added, and the following month a sporty grade with a 1.8-liter engine, low-down suspension and aero parts was also added to the line-up to achieve wide variations.

But not a few users found its overly distinctive looks difficult to accept, so the front and rear designs were changed to a milder, more conventional design in a minor change in February 2001 (only the Aero grade adopted a conventional front mask). The transmission of the 1.5-liter models was changed from a four-speed AT to a CVT.

However, due to the effects of the scandal of concealed recalls that had been uncovered the previous year, sales went downhill and production was discontinued in the spring of 2002. Models after the minor change were very short-lived.

The Mirage Dingo was produced and sold under license by Hafei Motor in China under the name Saima from around 2001, but Hafei Motor itself fell into financial difficulties around 2014, and all models under the brand, including the Saima, were sold off and the company was dissolved.

translated by DeepL

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