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2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

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2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Expert Review

By Keith Buglewicz

There were many changes Mitsubishi needed to make to improve the Mirage subcompact, and nowhere on the list was a trunk. But that's exactly what the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is: a 4-door sedan version of the much-maligned hatchback Mitsubishi brought to the U.S. market a couple years ago. Along with the trunked version, Mitsubishi added a new audio system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's refreshed exterior and interior styling, and the engine is smoother at idle. Still, the list of shortcomings remains long, and while the Mirage offers good fuel economy and a decent ride, none of it makes up for its underlying crudity, especially considering that the little Mitsu sedan's price and features pit it against the much nicer Nissan Versa.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you absolutely must have a brand-new car, are seduced by the prospect of a decade-long warranty, and for some reason just don't want a Hyundai, this might be worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even though the Mirage is inexpensive, it's not a good value. If you can afford any other new car -- or even a good certified used car -- you should strongly consider it over this one.

How It Ranks
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is an all-new sedan version of the Mirage hatchback. Along with the trunk, the sedan and hatchback get refreshed styling inside and out, a new audio system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and refinements to the engine to increase power and smooth out the idle.

Driving the Mirage
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage sedan and hatchback offer a comfortable highway ride for such a small car, and the brakes bring the low-mass sedan to...

... a stop quickly, and with a firm pedal. Fuel economy is quite good; we saw about 38 mpg during a highway commute. Unfortunately, that's about where the good news ends. The 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine isn't as rough at idle as it used to be, but it's still raucous at full throttle. Since the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) keeps it near redline whenever you need extra power, you'll hear its unpleasant song a lot. Unfortunately, the noisy and leisurely acceleration aren't the end of dynamic problems. The steering's on-center feel is so bad you have to physically bring it back to center to ensure you don't just keep turning in a broad arc. The suspension bounces over larger bumps, and the Mirage leans heavily even in moderate corners.

APPLE CARPLAY/ANDROID AUTO
We've come to appreciate the integration of our phones with our cars, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it as simple as possible. Just plug your phone in using a USB cable, and you can access functions like text, maps, phone and other compatible apps on the Mirage's touch-screen.

WARRANTY
If you do decide to go with the Mitsubishi Mirage, you'll be benefiting from one of the best warranties in the business. It covers bumper-to-bumper for five years or 60,000 miles, and the powertrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Details
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Improvements to the interior this year include piano-black accents, an upgraded and surprisingly good infotainment system, and a few other bits of trim here and there. Sadly, soft-touch surfaces weren't among the changes, and the Mirage offers no padded elbow rest and no center armrest at all. The supportive seat padding and cloth suggest comfort, and the seat heaters are remarkably efficient, but the lousy seating position makes it hard to actually get comfortable. And there are cheap touches everywhere, like the Bluetooth microphone gracelessly tacked on top of the steering column, or the USB dongle hidden in the glove box. 

Exterior
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage photo

While we wouldn't call the 2017 Mirage ugly, it doesn't benefit from the cutesy charm of some other jellybean-like subcompacts. The styling changes for this year apply to the hatchback and sedan, with both getting a bigger grille with more chrome, and a more detailed lower bumper. The trunk gives the little car a more mature persona, and while it offers decent cargo space, the rear seats don't fold down for long objects like they do in the hatchback. The Mirage G4 is available in a few eye-catching colors, such as bright orange Infrared, or the purplish Wine Red of our test car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The basic 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 comes with air conditioning, tilt (but not telescoping) steering with electric assist, and power windows, doors and mirrors. Also standard is keyless entry with an alarm, a USB port, and a 4-speaker audio system. It's a little sparse, but not surprising considering the low base price. Safety features include hill-start assist, seven standard airbags, including a driver's-side knee airbag, and stability control. That of course is on top of the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, which in base models is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

Foremost among the options is the automatic transmission, which we recommend since the manual is hardly the best. Most options are available as standard equipment in the higher-level SE trim on sedans, or GT on the hatchback. They include a rearview camera, push-button ignition and entry, and the upgraded audio system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Automatic climate control is also part of the upgraded models, but curiously a stand-alone navigation system isn't available; presumably Mitsubishi has decided whatever smartphone you're using will suffice. Also available on the SE/GT models is cruise control and Bluetooth, both controlled through steering-wheel buttons. 

Under the Hood
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Engine photo

The only engine available in the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder with a modest 78 horsepower, four more than last year. The engine's primary duty is saving fuel, and it does this admirably, offering up to 42 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg in the city, numbers we normally associate with hybrids. The downside is that this isn't the most elegant powertrain. The engine vibrates noticeably at idle -- although it's better than it was before -- and at full throttle it sings a raspy, groaning song that will discourage exploring the reach of the gas pedal. Unfortunately, even if you just want to keep up with traffic leaving a stoplight, you'll need to floor it, which of course hurts fuel economy.

1.2-liter inline-3
78 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
74 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/40 mpg (manual, sedan) 33/41 mpg (manual, hatchback), 35/42 mpg (automatic, sedan), 37/43 mpg (automatic, hatchback)

The lowest Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is on the ES hatchback, which starts at about $14,000 including the $835 destination charge. The automatic transmission adds $1,200 to that price. The new G4 sedan starts at about $15,000 with a manual. A fully equipped Mirage G4 SE is automatic-only and starts at a little below $18,000. While those prices are low, they're also not much better than a variety of competitors, like the Nissan Versa or Honda Fit. No matter what you decide, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid; it's a good chance it's well below sticker. As for resale, the Mirage is not expected to hold its value particularly well.

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