By Micah Muzio
KBB Expert Rating: 4.4
The Mitsubishi Mirage is an oddity in the automotive world – a vehicle with no upward aspirations. It's a small 4-door, 5-passenger hatchback that, aside from its vivid selection of exterior colors, isn't particularly interesting to look at or drive. Still, it does the job as basic transportation and a peak 44-mpg highway rating coupled with a $13,790 base price (destination included) make the 2014 Mirage one of the cheapest new cars you can buy and drive. Whether entry-level buyers will embrace the Mirage's elemental brand of frugality over the unmatched parkability of the Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ, or the comparatively daring style of the Chevrolet Spark or Ford Fiesta, remains to be seen.
You'll like the Mitsubishi Mirage if you only care about saving money. The Mirage is cheap to buy, cheap to drive and features a confidence-boosting 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. As a bonus, the little hatchback actually drives better than its asking price might suggest.
If you live on a budget but you crave a car with some measure of fun, there are better choices than the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage. In fact, for the same cash you could buy the much more interesting Chevy Spark, though the Spark is less fuel efficient and only seats four.
The Mirage is a new addition to Mitsubishi's lineup for 2014.
Driving Impressions There is little joy to be had when driving a Mitsubishi Mirage, but in the hatchback's defense that's not what it's made for. It's a commuter car, and in that...... role it functions better than you'd expect. The suspension delivers an acceptable ride, and thanks to noise-reduction efforts applied to all U.S.-spec cars, interior noise is largely kept in check. The Mirage's diminutive footprint allows it to fit in tight parking spots while a tight 15.1-foot turning circle enables easy U-turns. If this all sounds surprisingly positive, hold on. Powering the Mitsubishi Mirage is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine paired with either a 5-speed manual or a continuously-variable transmission. The engine is both underpowered and sounds bad, emitting noises reminiscent of gravel in a paper shredder. There is enough power to reach freeway speeds and for passing, just reserve ample time for each.
STANDARD 60/40-SPLIT FOLDING REAR SEATS
I know, usually this is the spot where we'd describe some sweet high-tech feature but given how little the Mitsubishi Mirage costs we're more excited than usual that split-folding rear seats come standard.
NAVIGATION WITH BACKUP CAMERA
Given their likely frugal natures, Mirage buyers will probably just use their phones for navigation duties. Still, it is kind of cool that for $900 you can add navigation and a backup camera, again, on a car that's so dang cheap.
The interior of the Mitsubishi Mirage is utterly simplistic, which can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the dash layout is so simple an 18th-century fur trapper could figure out the heating and audio controls. On the other hand, the armrests are brutally hard, the glove compartment opens with a shin-whacking "thunk," and the cargo cover connects to the rear hatch with just one lonely string. Despite such thrifty touches, the front occupants enjoy decent space and nicely contoured seats. In back, head space is tighter, but there's enough space for two adults, maybe even three if things get desperate.Exterior
With the rounded silhouette of a jellybean, the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback is not what we'd call "cool," though a $695 exterior body kit and a palette of bold paint choices, including Kiwi Green and Plasma Purple, do add a bit of style. Otherwise the Mirage's shape is dictated by pragmatism. Tiny 14-inch wheels reduce rotational mass and are cheap to produce while the body itself benefits from targeted use of high-strength steel. Those efforts along with the car's tiny size result in a feathery, fuel-saving curb weight of less than 2,000 pounds in lightest form.
Given its small size, safety is an obvious concern and one to which the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage responds with standard stability and traction controls and seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag. Along with those safety features, 14-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, power windows, mirrors and door locks, an audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs and, strangely, automatic climate control all come standard on the base DE trim.
Buyers who splurge for the $1,200-pricier SE trim will enjoy steering wheel audio and cruise controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 14-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and keyless access with an engine-start button, strangely located to the left of the steering column.
The front-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Mirage is powered by a positively tiny 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine. The standard transmission is a 5-speed manual featuring long throws and possibly the lightest clutch pedal we've ever experienced, but for maximum fuel economy you'll need to spend another $1,000 for the wide-ratio continuously-variable transmission, or CVT for short. Acceleration is lackadaisical and the sounds that accompany it are an assault on the senses. The silver lining to all this slow, loud movement is found in the Mirage's fuel economy numbers, which rival the efficiency of many hybrids.
74 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
74 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/42 mpg (manual), 37/44 mpg (automatic)
For only $13,790 you can buy a base Mitsubishi Mirage DE trim with a manual transmission. Opt for the higher ES trim with a $1,200 continuously-variable transmission and $900 navigation system, and you can expect to pay $16,890. At those prices, the Mirage is a bargain compared to nearly any other vehicle you can think of. The Chevy Spark commands prices similar to the Mirage, while cars like the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Scion iQ and even the Smart Fortwo are, by varying degrees, more expensive. Kelley Blue Book hasn't posted resale figures for the 2014 Mirage yet, but if the Mitsubishi brand as a whole is any indicator the Mirage's residual numbers will likely lag those of its competitors.
By A.C. on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,385overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel economy! Cost! Warranty! Soft ride! Sturdy!"
Cons: "Shaky handling, no center arm rest, costly tires."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My last car was a 1997 Geo Metro which had logged 262k miles. I had rebuilt the car once at 149k, and by 262k it was once again tired. I am getting to the age where I don't want to be rebuilding my car anymore, and wanted a new car of similar type that would get similar mileage. But in the age of hyper-complex $35,000 hybrids, cars like the Metro seemed to have gone the way of the dinosaur. Cheap, basic, high MPG cars used to be well within the financial grasp of the proletariat. They went by names like Metro, Tercel, and Festiva. But when high MPG went from simply frugality to being green and trendy, these kinds of cars were obsoleted in favor of expensive new technology by which people could have their Cadillac...and forego it, too. Nowadays, one almost has to be upper middle class to get 45 MPG, with everyone else making due with 25. But then I heard about the Mirage. "Three cylinders...with a manual transmission? And Bluetooth? 45 MPG?" I was definitely intrigued. I had heard about the 3-cylinder "EcoBoost" engine that Ford was offering, and being a Ford guy I considered it. But the cheapest car Ford offers with that engine is about $18,000. Too rich for me. So I went to the local Mitsubishi dealership to try out a Mirage, despite the absolutely vitriolic professional reviews. Turns out, the sales guy who came out to meet me was an old friend of mine! I wound up getting a good deal on a 5-speed '15 ES in 'Infrared Metallic'. I haven't looked back. I really do love the car! For what I use it for, it's perfect. I drive 100% in-town, and manage 44 MPG doing it! No lie...44 MPG in the city! The relatively soft suspension compromises high-speed handling prowess for low-speed maneuverability and a pliant ride, which is okay by me. It is, after all, a "city car". Some have said the car is a little woozy in terms of handling on the freeway, and that would not surprise me. It really is set up for Third World potholes, and handles them almost like a '70s Cadillac. Strange for a car in this segment, most of which ride like buckboards. Acceleration is more than adequate, but I don't really hammer the gas pedal. Neither will anyone else who buys the car for it's intended purpose...economy. If you drive this car with ANY kind of eye toward fuel efficiency, you will absolutely blow away the EPA estimates for highway and city economy. I have a hard time getting the car UNDER 40 MPG. I'd recommend the 5-speed unless you absolutely can't or won't drive a manual. The CVT, while reliable, seems to get more mixed reviews. Creature comforts are great, and in line with what one would expect well into in the second decade of the 21st century, even in a low end car. Auto climate control, power windows, locks, mirrors, cruise, tilt wheel, nice stereo, keyless ignition, Blutooth, USB cable, rear wiper/washer, alloy wheels, fog lights, etc, etc. These are things that people are typically forced to live without on economy cars. Truth be told, my Mirage has more features than my BMW 325i has. The seats are comfortable enough. The clutch and steering are almost comically light. The Mirage steers like a 1960s Oldsmobile, and those who remember the ridiculously over-boosted power steering in those cars know what I am talking about. The interior is certainly spartan, but what else would a person expect at this price point? Corinthian leather? Lots and lots of sturdy, if unremarkable, plastic components abound. Critics lament the lack of things like "soft touch plastics" and a "dampened glove box door". I say, "WHO CARES? It's an economy car!" The Mirage buyer puts three automotive characteristics above all others: cost, efficiency, and warranty. If these three things top your list of what you are looking for in a car, the Mirage is a great bet. Conversely, if things high-speed handling, straight-line acceleration, and avant-garde styling are what you need, you might look elsewhere. Personally, this car suits me to a tee. And is a worthy successor to the ol' Metro!"
By Donny Vee on Sunday, January 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, GAS MILEAGE, easy parking, warranty,sporty!"
Cons: "Struggled acceleration just a tinch- trunk space."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely LOVE this car! I have the ES equipped with a push start, cruise control, and Bluetooth. Spend the extra $1,000 and get the ES. Got it on Christmas eve, what a gift it is! Took it on the highway for New Years. 6 hour road trip from North Carolina to Washington DC and it performed fantastically! Averaged about 49.7 mpg all the way there. (Over 50 in some parts) Only filled up ONCE on a 400 mile trip! On my way back it snowed 3 inches and my Mirage pushed through with no problems! With high winds on I-95 my car never rocked! The aerodynamics on this car are great! I think this car gets bad "expert" reviews because this car can put hybrids to SHAME! It's a best kept secret. Getting 50 mpg on the hwy and over 40 mpg in the city in a non hybrid is AMAZING! With only a 9 gallon tank you can filler up with $20 and get $5 back! INSANE! Mitsubishi cracked the code and broke the mold with this car! Finally have a car that saves me lots of money and doesn't take all my money! With a 10 yr 100,000 mile warranty, YOU CANT MISS! If you're smart, you will get a Mirage. It just makes sense!"
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By TSabb on Thursday, November 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great features and mileage.Better than a golf cart"
Cons: "Non percise steering, narrow tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was able to purchase new low end model(DE)well below sticker price including auto air,tilt steering wheel, traction control, usb connector, bluetooth,cd player with great 140-WATT radio, power locks, keyless entry, tire pressure alert, auto mirrors and many, many more features. I get almost 50 MPG and can reach 60mph in under 11 seconds all with a 3cyl 77hp engine burning regular gas. Also CVT transmission seems to have a kick down mechanism for passing. Have enjoyed this 2nd. car for over seven months with no problems. Living on an island it is reliable transportation for getting around Now the downside. Precision handling,steering and cornering caused by narrow 14in. low roll resistence tires inflated to 35psi, and who knows what else, could be improved. Also slight vibration at idle with CVT transmission. While no "sports car", kind of fun to drive! Still use my much larger auto for long trips."
15 people out of 25 found this review helpful