"I rate this car 10 out of 10 overall considering what it COSTS to own. For a car to acheive 10 out of 10 it must do what it sets out to do perfectly. The Mirage does just that: Great fuel economy, inexpensive to purchase new and own.
I traded my girlfriends car on a DE CVT because she was having trouble affording her car. After driving hers a few times and seeing her fuel economy, I returned to the dealership and traded my car on a ES 5-spd not even a month later.
I purchased it for $12,350 after rebates, before tax and tags. MSRP was $14,990. It is has Aluminum Wheels, height adjustable seat,folding rear seats, Blue Tooth with Streaming Audio, AUX input and USB, Power Locks and Windows, and Proximity Keyless entry, push button start (on the left side of the column...), fog lights, Leather wrapped steering wheel w/ audio controls/cruise and automatic temp. control. This is exceptional and uncommon for the price (Nissan Versa has rollup windows and little else around this pricerange). For an extra $900 I could have had a very nice Navigation System w/ Backup camera. I couldnt seem to find one with a Standard Transmission and I'm NOT a huge fan of the CVT, but they are available if you look. Huge value for the price.
I purchased it with 33 miles on the odometer, and by time my fuel gauge started flashing it read 342 miles. I filled up the tank and to my surprise it only required 7.07 gallons to fill back up.....there was still almost 2 gallons left in the 9.1 gallon tank. This indicates I acheived 43.7 MPG average, 70% HWY 30% City driving. With the same city/HWY driving percentages, that is as good as my friends Prius C. Thats 309 Miles for just under $27 @ $3.75/gal in MD. Huge value.
Tires are 165/65 R14, a quick search tells me they can be had for $60-$80 each. The first major service (Timing Belt) that many simple DIY types may not want to attempt on their own is at 100,000 miles. Mitsubishi Recomends 7500 mile oil changes for normal use. I intend to do mine every $5000. Only 3 quarts of oil are required. Huge value.
Safety ratings are all around good, with the exception of moderate frontal overlap driver, rated Moderate by the IIHS. This is ok with me as the most precious cargo rides in the back seat. Acceptable considering size and price. Most subcompacts are rated similar.
Warranty: This was one of the major factors for me. 5yr/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warrany is as long as Fords POWERTRAIN warranty. 10yr/100,000 mile powertrain warranty is UNBEATABLE, especially for you people who drive 10,000mi/yr or less. Huge value.
Driving Dynamics.... this is one place that I've seen reviewers destroy this car. DO NOT compare it to a Subaru Impreza, Honda Accord, even a Chevy Spark..... all are more expensive upfront, require more maintenance, do not come with as good of a warranty, and do not get the same real world fuel economy. At 79 HP and 79 lb/ft of torque, I was skeptical. I was trading in a turbo charged, 350 hp producing machine, and going to this. It is not fast. It is not extremely fun to drive. I asked my self, is that what its built for? Is that what I'm looking for? No. I love my car (previous car), but I'm looking to save money. I've always driven Standard, but this stick took a little getting used to. Very low power in first, the gear shift is a little slushy for my taste, and the clutch feels like I'm stepping on air. Learn how to drive it, and it has no problem merging and passing on the highway. Even at "high" speeds (70-80 mph) it maintains its excellent gas mileage. Around town it is perfect. Very nimble, parallel parks where nobody else can. Steap country roads are a non issue, again, once you get a feel for it. This is why I don't like the CVT....it does not have a tiptronic shifter and hills with a fully loaded vehicle can be a little slow. I hardly feel road bumps, but I may be biased here....the car I traded in was VERY, VERY bumpy with the way I had the suspension set up. The mirage is certainly not a Cadillac. The road noise is another complaint I've read. Again, my previous car was LOUD, so all I hear is quiet. If you drive a Prius, it may be louder than you are used to. I've seen complaints about its handling. I've tested it at 70 MPH on a full circle exit ramp...it held the line like it was on rails. I felt a little body roll at 50 MPH on a hairpin, but that is really not how the car is intended to be driven. The turning radius will get you in and out of almost anywhere. Did I mention parallel parking is easier in this than anything I've ever driven? Only room for improvement for drivability is a 6-spd trans. This would increase the cost just a bit, but I think 3000 RPMS on the Highway is just a tad too high in this day and age. Acceptable value for cost/MPGs.
The interior: One major complaint here - no arm rest. I don't care if its available as a $300 option, it needs to be there. I had a 98 Civic DX with the same problem. My first order of business is to custom fabricate one. Other than that, it is very comfortable. Dash and doors are plastic...for the money that is to be expected. 3 cupholders, room for storage, a power outlet, sizeable glove box, and door storage are all there. ES has height adjustable drivers seat, DE does not. Cluster is nice and simple....Tach and speedometer, with a small EVIC which displays fuel gauge, "xxx until empty", trips A and B, and Average Gas Mileage. Its controlled with a push button on the cluster. This could be improved with steering wheel controls but it is forgivable, again, given the price. Speakers are clear, but not particularly loud. I will be upgrading soon. Mitsubishi says the purple seats in the ES are going away for 2015 because people hate them. My opinion: They are very comfortable and of top quality cloth. I like the purple because it adds quirkiness to and already quirky car. It just works....if you don't have a sense of humor about yourself you need to get over yourself.....that or buy seat covers. Despite the mostly plastic interior, it flows together, and feels well put together. It is not hard or uncomfortable, just not a Cadillac. Radio works simply, I can't comment on the touch screen. The automatic temp. control is wonderful and typically only found on far more expensive vehicles. I could definitly live without it in favor of an armrest! Huge Value (except for lack of armrest).
I can't comment on reliability because I havent owned one for long. I can say that I have owned a lot of vehicles....the ones I took care of lasted, and the ones I neglected didn't. Due to the very low cost of upkeep associated with this car, even the most frugal should be able to keep up with the recomended service. I expect it to last with how little it costs to take care of. Huge value (cost to own)
The exterior is not going to wow anybody....but what in the subcompact segment does? Its a goofy looking car. Thats not for everybody. I like it but I can't comment on others tasts. This much is up to you to decide.
I give Driving Dynamics 9/10 for slushy stick shift and CVT. Other than that it drives exactly how it should for its intended use.
I have not rated reliability.
I give Design 9/10, knocking one point for lack of armrest
I give quality 10/10...its top notch for what you can buy it for.
I give comfort and convenience 10/10 (I already knocked one point for the armrest in design, so I won't do it again as much as I am tempted to)
I give Value 10/10. It lowered my payment, lowered my insurance, DRASTICALLY lowered my fuel expense, and DRASTICALLY lowered my service and upkeep cost. That and for the price it comes packed with expectional creature features.
I give Overall Rating 10/10, because when value exceeds price, you buy it, and the Mirage does just that. It succeeds perfectly in what it was build to do....be inexpensive without being total garbage.
I hope this write up helps anybody reading make a decision. If you're in the market for a subcompact, do not write this one off based on "expert" reviews. Go drive one, see for yourself!"
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