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 This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Mirage
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.
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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.
Pros: "Gas milage, easy to drive and park, great value"
Cons: "Feels cheap, regular maintenance can be pricy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This Mirage is one of the most wonderful cars I've ever driven. I bought it as an A to B commute car, with the occasional road trip thrown in, and it handles that and more with flying colors. Being able to pull a U-turn in a 2 lane road with shoulder, and the ease of parallel parking it is something I don't think I can ever live without.
It's more than accommodating for the driver and a front seat passenger, but things can get sketchy if someone in the back seat is taller than a young teenager.
It does lack power, but it has enough to get itself going in a timely manner. The fuel efficiency is OUTSTANDING. I was expecting a bit lower than sticker. I average 43 city and have hit 51 highway if I use the cruise control and keep the speed under 65. The milage drops dramastically over that, dipping into the low 30s at 75-80mph.
In all, it's a wonderful car for city driving, and open stretch highway. My main complaints would have to be regular maintenance costs. It uses 0-20 oil, which is synthetic and can get pricy at regular changes. The tires are a bit harder to come across too, and seem quite high priced for the size and milage expected out of them before replacement. The panels of the car do feel quite solid, but when closing doors and pushing the sun visors up, the body does sound quite hollow with a very cheap echo inside."
Pros: "price, gas mileage, has "personality", fun todrive"
Cons: "an armrest, a little stiffer suspension"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Ignore the "professional" reviewers and try one for yourself. This car is a great value as it gets unbelievable MPGs and comes with an outstanding warranty. It is also cheaper to insure than its competitors. I have driven this car in all types of conditions to include up Vermont snow covered mountains (with studded snow tires), driven on muddy dirt roads, and have taken numerous long trips on the highway. All of which it does well. I don't know what the reviewers are talking about when they criticize this cars performance. It does well doing what it was designed to do. It is inexpensive, utilitarian, reliable transportation. Think a modern version of the original VW bug. Its inexpensive, fun, quirky, and doesn't resemble everything else on the road. As I said, the car is fun to drive. I think it goes without saying that this car will not give you the driving experience of launching you back in your seat when you hit the gas. It does give you the type of fun driving experience that is associated with driving a lightweight car that you can whip around corners, and in my opinion the car has a very nice exhaust note while doing so. If you are the type who needs a fancy vehicle and a $500 plus car payment to feel good about yourself, this car will not fit the bill. If you are looking to save money while enjoying a fun little car, give this one a try. I have a hard time understanding why so many are purchasing small hybrid vehicles, when this little car does the same job at about half the price, while reviewers criticize it to death."
Pros: "Great for work, I drive around 100 miles per day"
Cons: "Tires are so thin, But Custom wheels can fix it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great gas mileage, I drive standard (manual) and I simply shift at highers rpms to make up for the lack of power, Car is fun to drive and it have good kick when taking off (the way I drive it) I only get around 37mpg due to my driving style. I fill the tank with 7.5 gallons and it gives me around 270-280 miles per tank. suspension is smooth better than some premium cars out there, I have no complains about this car."