By on May 30, 2014

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Deep within the comments of a recent luxury vehicle review, a familiar, satirical exchange takes place:

Googleplex:                       The pixel-density on the new touch system is passable, but LCD screens in cars in 2014 are laughable. Have these people even heard of AMOLED?

MauraudStar:                    Panther Love knows no touchscreens, my friend.

MoparMalaise:                 Panther Love knows no rich Corinthian leather, either.

VivaVega:                           We lost the war against fuel injection in the 1980’s, and I’m not about to give up the rest of my control to electronic nannies. Spare me your all-wheel drive, your dual-clutch transmissions and the 30 years of weight gain! Why can’t someone build a simple, functional car anymore?

Will any manufacturer answer VivaVega’s question? Enter the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage.

This isn’t the first time Mitsubishi has sold a subcompact with the Mirage nameplate. The first generation Mirage debuted in 1978. (You might be more familiar with it as the fourth gen Dodge Colt or Plymouth Champ). Mitsubishi’s fortunes waxed and waned over the next three decades, and the Mirage was eventually discontinued in 2003. The name was revived in 2012, and North American exports started for model year 2014.

So how far have we come since 1978? Generation one was notable mostly for its fuel efficiency and price. Braking was handled by vented discs in the front and drums in the back. Seventy horses were corralled in a 1.4 liter four-cylinder engine. Overall weight ranged from just 1,700 to 1,984 pounds.

Generation six, represented by today’s 2014 specimen, is notable for fuel efficiency and price. Braking is handled by vented discs in the front and drums in the back. Seventy-four horses are corralled up in a 1.2 liter three-cylinder engine. Overall weight is just 1,973 manufacturer-stated pounds.

Wait… what?

Yup. 1,973 pounds in a street-legal 2014 with seven airbags, five seats, four wheels and a compact spare tire. A modern Mirage’s weight and power may be indistinguishable from its groovy forefathers, but the equipment list certainly isn’t – standard features include keyless entry, air conditioning, a 140 watt stereo, and powered windows, locks and mirrors. Not too shabby for $13,805 (DE trim with 5-speed manual at MSRP plus destination).

Most sales volume is expected to come from the ES trim with a CVT. Parting with $16,005 adds fog lights, 14” alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, passive entry and a push-start button that curiously resides to the left of the steering wheel.

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How are these prices accomplished? The manufacturing location certainly plays a role. Much hay has been made on TTAC about the viability of Chinese-manufactured cars in North America. Open the Mirage’s hatch (or eventual trunk in the Canadian market) and take a whiff. That ain’t wasabi, but it ain’t dim sum either. Hope you like Thai!

Most likely, the Mirage is a small start to a large trend. While just 7,200 Mirage’s are forecasted for the US market this year, Thailand is already a major regional automotive exporter. Automotive News pegged Thai automotive production at 2.45 million vehicles in 2012, and over a million were exported. Other nameplates, most notably the Ford Fiesta, will also exported to North American from Thailand over the next few years.

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Small export volume certainly helps account for the Mirage’s nondescript, global looks. Styling a vehicle 148.8 inches long and 59 inches tall is tough, but Mitsubishi could have done worse (the i-Miev comes to mind). The scant grill looks a bit odd, but it does help the Mirage achieve an impressive coefficient of drag – just 0.28. The spectrum of available colors – bright green, blue, red, even a noxious purple – is a welcome change from the white, black and grey Mitsubishi could have certainly made a business case for.

Mitsu1_front

So the exterior is cheap and maybe even a bit cheerful. Does the interior continue the theme? Unfortunately, no. Plastics are hard and drab as expected, but they are also severely straightforward. Unlike the Fiat 500, there is no playfulness or fashion in the design. The experience is aesthetically similar to Korean vehicles designed in the early 2000s. Fit and finish is similar too – a few trim pieces didn’t line up well, and exposed fasteners are easy to find.

Functionality isn’t following form, but it still isn’t flawless. Driver controls are simple, but only one cupholder is available in the rear. The roofline enables decent cargo capacity in the hatch, but the only dome light is up front near the driver. Rear leg room is surprisingly good, but the contourless rear bench forces passengers in back to brace themselves during routine urban maneuvers.

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The suspension’s constant body roll can be blamed for some of that. Ride quality was better than anticipated though, and the brakes felt decent. Still, understeer is high, tire grip is low and the electric power steering is poorly implemented. Enthusiasm just isn’t welcome here. Count me out of Derek’s spec-Mirage racing series.

The powertrain never promised fun though, just efficiency. The 1.2 liter three-cylinder engine manages 34 city/42 highway/37 combined with the five-speed manual and 37 city/44 highway/40 combined with the CVT. Mitsubishi claims the Mirage has the best combined non-hybrid efficiency in the US (Ford’s three-cylinder Fiesta scores 32/45/37). The CVT gets clunky around complete stops, but it is mostly helpful on the road. The car is never fast, but it did feel wholly adequate for use around town with occasional interstate jaunts.

Considering the physical dimensions, budget and powertrain, Mitsubishi succeeded in crafting a very efficient, mostly normal driving experience. They deserve applause for that. Unfortunately, they won’t hear it due to the Mirage’s abnormally high noise levels.

I’ll be frank – the Mirage is the loudest passenger car I can remember driving in the last five years. Only jackhammer operators and cross-country motorcycle riders could describe it as “not too bad.” At idle, the engine note varies somewhere between a warble and an unsteady growl. Rumble up to highways speeds, and the turn signals are nearly inaudible. My wife, a decidedly mainstream consumer, felt the noise levels let down the rest of the car.

Vibration will also be problematic for the average Joe. The passenger seat shook at idle, and a constant tingle could be felt through the steering wheel. The three-holer doesn’t generate Peterbilt-grade rumble, but buzz is always present. Like the 2014 Outlander I recently drove, the brand-new Mirage also had a constant interior squeak.

So where does the Mirage stand? The Chevy Spark’s fuel efficiency falls short, but the design is more upbeat. A Nissan Versa is larger and can be configured cheaper, but its warranty is bested by the Mirage’s 10-year guarantee. The used market offers myriad possibilities, but buying new is a point of pride for many consumers.

Many people say they just want something cheap that runs. Consider the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage their litmus test.

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188 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage...”


  • avatar
    James2

    If it’s between this and taking the bus…?

    At the low end of totem pole at least it’s better looking than the Versa. (Which isn’t much of an achievement)

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Beats walkin’.

  • avatar
    lowsodium

    Or just buy a used car

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      $16k gets you a nice, gently-used CPO Sonata, 35 mpg highway, and no embarrassment.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        $16K fetches alot of things. Its funny I think this thing is supposed to see around 12, maybe with basic features its 16. However its tough to get something nice and real clean for 12 and under, but at 15-16 it becomes much easier. If Mitsu put out the “good” model for an even 12 they might have something.

        EDIT: Mitsu USA has what I think is base for 12.9 on it with manual, 13.9 with CVT, so realistically most will be sold for 14 plus dest plus tax at min, or mid 15s. Mitsu USA is toast.

        http://www.mitsubishicars.com/mirage

        • 0 avatar
          JohnnyFirebird

          For under $16,000 at my dealership you could get: 2011 Honda CR-Z manual, 2007 Mercedes R350, 2009 Acura CSX, 2007 GMC Acadia SLT AWD. Under $12,000 such delights as a 2005 Jaguar X-Type ($8000), 2010 Dodge Caravan SE ($12,000), 2010 Nissan Versa 1.8S 6spd hatch ($8500 with less than 20k miles), 2006 Infiniti G35 coupe, low mileage 2011 Mazda 3 with mags and AC ($11000)… but none will come with a comprehensive warranty like Mitsubishi offers. And it won’t be new, which does mean a lot to people – you can pick the colour, some people get freaked out by the idea that other people have been in the car, period.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        That’s why vehicles like these are for developing countries where there has not been widespread auto ownership and therefore no ready supply of used cars to fill basic transporation needs.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree.

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          +1: Here in the US where the supply of good used vehicles is plentiful, there is only a limited demand for this sort of entry level, no-frills car.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            +1 Plus, we have plenty of capable independent mechanics to fix the used cars when and if they break using cheap parts from the junk yard .

        • 0 avatar

          Makes no sense. Some countries might be like that but cant put the developing world in one back. There were 3.6 million brand new cars sold in Brazil last year. For every brnad new car, 2.9 secondhand cars per brand new car sold through delaerships. probably closer to 4 (including indie shops, maybe more), but at least 10 million secondhand cars changed hands. The proportions are very smilar to the US market.

          There are cities in Brazil with greater car penetration than Europe (Curitiba 1 car per inhabitant, same as US). In my city there are now 1 car per 2.3 inhabitants same as much of WesternEurope. Yeas, there are regions where it drops to about 8 inhabitants per car but it seems no where in the country is there now a region with over 10 people per car.

          Signs of a market maturing fast with a consolidated secondhand market.

          Cars like the Mirage sell (or would in the Mirage’s case) cause there is a market ready and willing to buy it. for most, no 5 yr old Focus will give as much satisfaction as a brand new Mirage.

          In other words, people buy these cars becase they want, they see value.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Pretty much. People in Asia buy these things by the truckload because of the perceived value. Even against a secondhand CiviCorolla.

            And nothing secondhand for the price, except perhaps a Geo Metro or a very old Prius, will get you anywhere near the real-world in-traffic economy of this.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The only way a car can be an embarassment to you is if you don’t keep it clean and maintain it properly.

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        Doesn’t the new Honda Fit start at $16K? You’d have to have suffered severe head trauma in the recent past to pick this thing over the new Fit.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel Latini

          The Fit’s starting price is a few hundred dollars away from a top end Mirage with nav, proximity entry, etc. If you don’t care about driving dynamics and are fixated on the MPGs, the Mirage might make sense.

        • 0 avatar
          rudiger

          I can’t see a whole lot of people going for a loaded Mirage instead of a stripped Fit. All the bells and whistles would have a tough time offsetting the Mirage’s poor driving dynamics.

          But a bottom-feeder Mirage with some decent money on the hood (there’s already a $1,000 rebate) might be okay.

        • 0 avatar

          not everybody, just for the underdog thing this is worth it over a Fit. A Versa is better than a Fit, a Fiesta too. Nah, plenty of option no need to fixate on that only option.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “A Versa is better than a Fit”

            Said no one ever.

            Seriously, I test drove a 2013 Versa sedan in SV trim and CVT, it was basically a 1980s econobox reincarnated, in a bad way. The Fit is a much better driving and more thought through vehicle, believe me.

      • 0 avatar

        ANd Im embarrassed that you’d be embarrassed by driving a car, any car, especially a brand new one.

        im going to count how many times the term comes in this thread and x that number embarrassed for all the embarrassment.

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          One phrase sums up this car for:

          “Got a pocket full of NOPE.”

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          As others have agreed with me in response to my comment, the point is that there are many vehicles with a better value proposition than this one – with more style, comfort, safety, and performance for the same money.

          Last year, my son cross-shopped a new 2014 Versa Note Plus (>$14k) and a CPO 2011 Sonata with 10k miles and new tires. He ended up paying $15.9k for a nicer car with more warranty left than most new cars have.

          • 0 avatar

            Now my friend these are good points and are mainly subjective. My contention is the embarrassment part. Subjectively, Id probably have taken the Note over the Sonata. Is were talking the same cars, more space inside for driver than Sonata.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I spent under $16k on my car which has double of nearly everything, quadruple horsepower, and leather.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    400-pounders are simply not going to get into that rear seat. How do you take the kids to the casino?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This will be one of the last nails in Mitusbishi’s US coffin.

    • 0 avatar

      how many nails will there be?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Everything which has gone before, with the possible exception of the Eclipse.

        Their US sales have dropped over 80% since 2002, and now they are hovering near the 5000 units/month limit of viability for a mid-priced mfr.

        Playing in the low-end market with the Mirage may help move metal (now about 20% of their sales volume), but it won’t help profitability or brand image.

        • 0 avatar

          Dont know SCE, there IS money in small cars. Companies scream and wail but usually its the sellers of small cars or budget cars that buy up makers of luxury ones. Its the whole history of FOrd, GM, Fiat, the French. Dont know if the last decade has shown a fundamental difference in that. Selling the Mirage in north America is good to keep Mitsubishi in this market as a name people remember. Glocal volume for cars like Mirage is what keeps Mitsubishi Auto alive. Besides the point that Mistsubishi can sell cars for as long as they want. The auto business is at best a side show in the whole Mitsubishi megacluster.

          Besides dont know if its so bad brandwise. Vis-a-vis the competition it may pale, but its hardly like an old Aspire or Festiva. we’ll see i guess.

  • avatar
    Victor

    This reminds me of the Top Gear segment on the Nissan Pixo. I’d rather go for a used car.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    i’d rather drive this than a smart car.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    It sounds like my kind of car.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    Wonder is a RalliArt engine and turbo would fit….

  • avatar
    jmo

    From the New York Times:

    “Low expectations don’t guarantee happiness, but at least there isn’t much disappointment. The reborn Mitsubishi Mirage lowers expectations, strangles them and buries their remains in a deep unmarked grave. If this car wasn’t disappointing, it wouldn’t be anything at all.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/automobiles/autoreviews/its-cheap-but-is-it-overpriced.html?_r=0

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel Latini

      A counterpoint:
      http://jalopnik.com/this-brutal-nyt-mirage-review-is-whats-wrong-with-cheap-1583123298

      For the record, I (heretically) think the truth is closer to Jalopnik than the NY Times.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My car now drowns out the turn signal noise on the highway, and it cost ~$40K new 10 years ago. Any guesses as to what it is?

    That is an interesting metric for noise levels though.

  • avatar
    dwford

    My first new car was a 1989 Plymouth Colt base base 4 speed stick, vinyl seats, no a/c, no radio. sticker was $7,995. I had a lot of fun beating on that car. Once the brakes, struts, and transmission got replaced around 25,000 miles, it served me well through my college years.

    • 0 avatar
      turvo

      Hahaha, I might as well cut and paste your comment. That was my EXACT first new car! Mine was light blue. We had the dealer install an am fm radio and two front door speakers though. That lack of a 5th gear was a bitch on a road trip from Maine to Virginia.

  • avatar
    daviel

    The closer the manufacturers get to my 1964 Beetle, the better I like it.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I would be honored to die in a 45mph combined force collision in this vehicle.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Popular in Quebec, with women, sans A/C.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Who wouldn’t want to be popular with Montreal women?

      Seriously, a light FWD car with a set of Hakkapeliittas and a 2 foot snowfall is one of the only things that’s almost as much fun as Montreal women. Combine the two and you have memories you’ll still cherish in the old folk’s home. “Why does grandpa have that stupid grin on his face again?”

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        +1 to that.

        The Canadian used car market is much different from that in the U.S.A. Used Toyotas, Honda Civics, etc will often cost the buyer more than a new one if the buyer has to finance. There just are not enough good used cars to go around.

        The Quebec market is even more different, almost European. They love small hatchbacks.

        So this car may ‘move’ in Canada.

        My only suggestions/comments are why not de-content all the way? Roll down windows, manual door locks, forget the poseur ‘starter’ button? Get the price down even more, lower the weight by a bit and simplify.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …i love cheap, simple, functional cars, but this is a tough sell when one can find stripper mazda 2s for thirteen thousand all day long…

  • avatar
    mcarr

    This car makes sense at $8,990. The $12,900 base price makes you wonder how they got there when the Versa base price is $11,990. And the Mirage makes the Versa look like a luxury car.

    I’m not sure how dumb you’d have to be to pay $16k for this car.

    • 0 avatar

      you have a point on price, but i dont know where the Versa so outshines this. Unless the American Versa is vastly different from the Brazilian Versa (i dont think so, they come from the same factory), the Versa’s finishing is a hair above acceptable.

      I think the Versa pricing is very aggressive. I dont know how they do it.

      • 0 avatar

        The only Versa I know is the US model. Compared to the US-spec Mirage it is 85% of the price, at least 20 db more quiet at speed, roomier including a back seat usable for persons larger than children, equivalent fuel economy, and a somewhat less herky-jerky CVT. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Nissan, but the fit and finish of the Versa is less than average, while the f&f of the Mirage is like a hastily produced Chinese copy. For people who care about such things the Versa is just another car, while the Mirage resolutely plays the role of the penalty box. Don’t get me started about the suspension. It is quite literally enough to make a guy stick with his 12 yo Corolla for a little while longer.

        • 0 avatar

          yeah, ill have to see it for myself, but i find it hard to believe Mitsubishi would do so poorly on a car that is important to it in its main markes and could be competitive for them in markets that would welcome a good competitor. Bad engine, bad transmission and bad suspension definitely make it worthy of derision. The Versa is not much, but its a modern car through and through with respectable hardware. Improve the finishing and no one would complain (though then there’d still be the styling).

          • 0 avatar

            “I find it hard to believe Mitsubishi would do so poorly on a car that is important to it in its main markets and could be competitive for them in markets that would welcome a good competitor.”

            Me too. I dismissed reviews from all over the world and went down to the Mitsu dealer anyway. If anything happens to my Corolla some time soon, a Spark will be its replacement. I know three Spark owners all of whom supposedly would never consider an American badged vehicle until they sat in the Spark. Mirage works the other way.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I love the idea of a new sub-2,000 lb car. Unfortunately, this seems like a lot of effort in cost containment for a relatively small savings over other offerings. Is this really a viable alternative to a base Versa sedan? Fiestas are discounted well below the Mirage’s MSRP in my area. The Spark has a 4-cylinder engine, which is the minimum for me. I heard a Mirage start up and drive away today while waiting for my neighbor at a hospital. It didn’t sound like a brand new car with its lumpy idle. OTOH, the Mirage isn’t just about lowish price. I’ve seen one review where they averaged 49 mpg. That’s the sort of economy I’ve always suspected would be possible with modern engine management, low weight, and no gimmicks.

    I saw three Mirages on the road today. It’s hard to believe they’re only planning on bringing in 7,200. I saw more Mirages in one day than I’ve seen some other new econoboxes since their release last year.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I am perfectly fine with the start/stop button being to the left of the steering column. I have nightmares about a mischievous or clumsy passenger pushing (and holding) the start/stop button in our Sonata (where the button is to the right) and cutting the engine off while the car is in motion. I believe Porsche puts its key slot or start/stop button to the left of the column, which is great. Bentley usually puts the key slot to the left of the column, but then places a start/stop button in the center console, where it is even more likely to be pressed than if it were on the dashboard.

    But I digress.

    The Mirage is a perfectly decent car. And at $9K-10K, I’d maybe consider it. But I won’t suffer just to save a few MPGs. At almost $14K, better can be had, like a base Soul or Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar

      i dont like the placement. I d be worried that at stoplights one of the ubiquitous street vendors that do their things at traffic lights in the worlds developing cities, would turn out not a businessman but rather a thief. Would make me feel unsafe.

      Porsche did it there for racing. with the placement there the driver could start the car while releasing the handbrake and gain time. In a Mirage is just a penny saving measure.

      • 0 avatar
        kuman

        The start button is on the left because its mainly designed for asian / australian market which majority is right hand drive. and yes its quite dangerous as if the window is opened someone can just press it easily from the outside.

        On the side note, u”ll need to have the window opened all the way, otherways it still would be akward to be able to reach it.

        If i were to live in a left hand drive country, with high criminal record, i would come up with cover for that switch just for the sake of safety, or simple yetm just use the aircon all the time and not open the window fully.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve got the advertising tagline…

    “It’s not a car, it’s simply a (wait for it) Mirage.”

  • avatar
    klossfam

    “…but buying new is a point of pride for many consumers.”

    Not in this thing…I can’t imagine renting one much less buying one NEW…THERE are a ton of nice gently used choices at this price point…including with warranty left…just like the CPO Sonata SCE to AUX noted…

  • avatar

    I love simple cars. I hate pretension. I was excited about this vehicle, even if I am the only American to choose rather than be talked into such a car. I very seriously considered buying a new, base 2011 Hyundai Accent under the impression such cars would soon be gone forever. When the Mirage was announced I had the gall to say, here no less, it could be the one that saves Mitsu in the US. It’s much too loud, not just the engine. It’s too expensive for what it is, especially considering most Americans finance. That weird thing where the steering stays where you put it rather than attempting to pull the car straight. Americans don’t care about how jerky the CVT is, but they do care what reviewers say about it. This car should not have been placed on sale in the US. It doesn’t have a place here.

  • avatar
    scwmcan

    It should be interesting to see comparisons here in Canada of this vs the Nissan Micra, the Nissan is cheaper, but is it any worse than this car? Tune in some time, I am sure some one ( in Quebec especially) is waiting impatiently.

    • 0 avatar

      i dont know about the Mirage really but I guess that to people used to cars like the Micra/March a Mirage is an acceptable car; if not, than it would be an unmitigated disaster. the car has weak points. I think besides the engine I ‘d have to drive one before condemning.

  • avatar

    When I checked out Mirage at the show, I was very positively impressed. It definitely has more headroom than Mazda 2 or iQ. It is sold with a manual, which is getting rare. Everything seemed in place — car or the show easily. Unfortunately, I never was able to identify the noise levels. In addition, I had somewhat dubious Mitsubishi ownership experience for some 12 years, so I’m wary of the durability here.

    Unfortunately, Mitsubishi dealership in my town is the worst.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “more headroom than Mazda 2 or iQ”

      I don’t know if that’s necessarily impressive, never been in those. But you must be effectively sitting a mere inch or two off the floor because the Mirage makes even Japanese models standing next to it look tall.

      I don’t think it’s arthritic-friendly like the Soul or, to a lesser extent, the Versa.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Manual transmission is “getting rare”… doesn’t the current state qualifies for “got rare”?

      It is very unfortunate you never were able to “identify” noise level. On the other hand, you’d be one fortunate man if you could. Alas.

      P.s. it’s “getting rare” to find a car with out a power steering, and I like to steer for my self. It’s also “getting rare” to find one with out power brakes – why can’t I brake on my own, give me a choice! And don’t get me started on power windows, door locks, and, goooooooooood – mirrors

  • avatar
    Monty

    Less than a ton curb weight? Man, put some really good snow tires on it, and you’ve got a recipe for some crazy fun winter hooning.

    I am semi-seriously considering replacing my Ranger with a 1 to 3 year old: Soul, Fit, Yaris, Sonic or Versa, but the Mirage or the Micra as a brand new purchase are going to receive serious consideration. I’ll have to test drive each before any further decisions are made. I have driven or test-driven all the others on the list, so I do have a basis for comparison. I average about 4000 miles a year, 99% of it urban/city, so comfort and ease of parking are much bigger factors than mileage. Frankly, I just like driving small vehicles with standards, especially in the winter.

    I seen half a dozen already on the streets of Winnipeg – they stand out due to the bright array of colours available!

    • 0 avatar

      As a long time reader of your comments, i’d greatly appreciate a review. I think you’d be able to evaluate the car for what is is and against the competition, not the mythical 40 hw mpg v8 behemoth that one can buy at that price just 2 and a half years old.

      I too appreciate a small car and am frankly curious about the Mirage. If any better than Micra/March than it is good. The March is good thought there are many better.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        Thanks, Marcello. I will at some point in the near future take a Mirage and a Micra for a test drive, if for no other reason than I just enjoy spending a couple of hours on a Saturday doing just that!

        I will say that I was more than surprised at how good the Sonic is. GM’s best attempt at a small car yet. At this point, though, I’m still leaning towards the Fit – legendary Honda reliability, and are remarkably easy to find with a manual transmission. The turbo Sonic is second on my list, with the Soul and Versa close behind. The Yaris garners consideration simply because it is a Toyota that will last forever.

        I doubt the Mirage will tempt me away from my top picks, but I will give it an honest try.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    There’s no reason to buy a car like this in the United States with the ABUNDANCE of reliable pre-owned/off lease/used cars available with decent warranties for the price of a brand new 2014 Mirage.

    $16k could get you a much quieter and comfortable vehicle that’s about 2-3 years old. Any of the mid sizers (Altima, Fusion, Accord, Optima, Sonata, Camry, etc.) would be a much better buy than this.

    • 0 avatar

      And there’s no reason not to get a Mirage if one deems any of the cars mentioned too freaking big.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Agree that the mid-sizers are a poor comparison, but a clean, low-mileage Focus hatch, Mazda 3 hatch or even a Golf seem just as practical, easy to park and VASTLY more enjoyable to drive than this rattletrap.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey Sproc, the cars mentioned are more my speed, but there is also something to be said of the driving dynamics of truly good A segment cars. In different times and for different uses but cars like Fiat Uno, Palio, Punto, Renault 5, Twingo, Clio, VW Polo, Gol, Ford Fiesta, Ka, Peugeot 205, 206, just off the top of my head and among others, all inhabit the realm of my dream cars.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This car answers a question no one asked. With the CPO used market we have why would you buy this pile?

    30 years ago we did not have The airport rental fleets we have today, so first iteration of this car served a purpose. The plethora of reasonably priced, reasonably nice cars that are just out of rental service serve the market for fuel efficient, yet presentable less than 15k auto market. You can’t tell me this is better than a 35k 1LT Impala with heated leather seats for $13,981. I get the Impala does not have Blutooth and 40 mpg. It is quiet, gets 30 mpg, and yes will outlast this turd pile long term and is not a complete embarrassment when you have a passenger in the car and are trying to converse with them while driving 55 MPH. Same goes for the other rental rocket offerings, Camry, Altima, 200, Mazda whatever, or Fusion.

    • 0 avatar

      Turd pile and embarrassment. ok.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Marcelo,
        I believe we both know the code used on this site:

        turd pile + embarrassment = Check It Out!

        Granted, I’m leaning toward a Versa or Fit for my tiny wife, but I’ll at least look at a Mirage for the knowledge.

        • 0 avatar

          hahaha! True Kenmore, true!

          I think you should and a Spark too. I would lean towards a Versa in this particular, though at least in this regard we are full of options that in my mind outshine the Fit and probably shame the Mirage (Fiat Grand Siena, Linea and Punto; Chevy Cobalt and Prisma; Renault Logan; VW Voyage among others. All better to drive than Fit and cheaper in our market).

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Yes, Marcelo, for my druthers as the secondary driver I wanted a Soul, she hated it, now I’m angling towards the Versa because it strikes me as acceptably easy for entry and exit.

            But that’s wrong and I’ve got to stop projecting my preferences to her car, otherwise she’ll just stop going with me to dealerships if nothing pleases her. There’s a 14″ difference in our heights.

            Fit and Sonic are the other two I’d like her to test. But who knows? Maybe she’d fall in love with the Spark, especially if there’s a yellow one on the lot :-)

          • 0 avatar

            I like the Sonic too, specially interior. I also like the ride, traditional GM very middle of the road. Beware though the new model has been photgraphed out and about and should be coming soon. Use that to hammer the price down. I think the Fit is just too hard and so-so inside. But im a value shopper. I never pay a premium for brand. That automatically eliminates any Honda from my considerations.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Very good review, Mr Latini. Captured the essence. Way noisy, bad steering, vibrates at idle. Should be ideal for those pining for their old Cavalier, but now with a great warranty and airbags too, and purty good mileage.

    It’ll probably sell quite well.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Even if you want to hold a “take it for what it is” approach to the Mirage I have not seen any publications claim that it fares much better than low/mid pack in its competitive set.

    This car is a curiosity in most of the American car market, but the international reviews I have checked out have also not been glowing.

    Granted, if the Mirage interests you, you should check it out for yourself and not take someone else’s word for it.

  • avatar

    To me the biggest embaraessment is on Mitsubishi’s part. A modern 1.2 3 cylinder only gets 72 hp? How come? Even all Brazilian 1.0, 4 and 3 cylinders come with more hp that that. The lastest 1.0 3 cylinders have more than 80 (VW 82 and Ford 86) and they don’t sound that bad and are barely noticeable at idle.

    There are exceptions of course. Hyundai’s 1.0 3 cylinders that equips its and Kia’s cars is terrible. Loud and rough at idle, it sounds bad accelerating, deaccelerating. So much so that even people who dpnt like cars (but are used to 1.0 4 cylinders) think something is wrong with the car. VW’s new Up that sports a 3 cylinder on the other hand is another universe. 82hp, naturally aspirated, is responsive in acceleration thoughout the power curve (another traditional 3 cylinder negative). Most don’t even notice the relatively unstable idle except those looking for it nor hear anything different in the noises it makes (though a tad different the noise is). Ford’s new 10 3 cylinder is even more powerful, and just as quiet at idle, though i ve heard it’s less responsive than VW’s (meaning more gear changing0.

    All this to say that the engine is not a promising start. If the suspension is bad than indeed one will have a truly bad modern car that will go join some other (few, mainly Chinese) truly bad modern cars.

    I think the author’s assessments are mainly due to a lack of familiarity and appreciation for the modern small car. Its a viewpoint I must respect and the its a well written article. I just suspect my judgement would be different.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel Latini

      Hey Marcelo. I’ve driven most of the A and B segment cars available in the US market, but I freely admit you have more experience with this segment than I. If you can review a Mirage, I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Daniel, not knocking you but you do have a North America centric viewpoint and I cannot knock that. However im. 42 so when I cam of age 40hp Beetles were still a reality, my 1.5 ethanol powered Fiat Uno with 76 hp was quite fast, an Escort XR3 was almost a rocket ship with 88-ish. A few years ago I was driving a 65 hp Palio and Ford Ka, and my Renault Logan has 79. In that context I think I could possibly see the car differently. I have read some Phillipino and other Asian sources on the car and they dont knock it that much. Form what you wrote though the engine seems closer to Hyundai’s than VW and the suspension is not up to even the Korean cars (bad) standards and cant hold a candle to a modern small European car suspension systems. So in the end our opinion would probably be similar but due to my experience I think i wouldnt discard the car right off the bat. A manual and things improve markedly.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel Latini

          Suspension behavior was better than expected overall. I was prepared for a choppy ride with lots of back-and-forth motion due to the short wheelbase. In reality, the Mirage was relatively soft and compliant. The body roll happens easily, but that can be remedied by just easing up on the thing. It did much better at US interstate speeds than expected, but “better” is relative.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for the reply, Daniel. So, all is not lost. That would be the difference between the small cars of yore and those of today. DOn’t really know why but back in the day a choppy ride for a small car. Nowadays, if the car exhibits this behavior it’s a surprise and a cause for derision. Exactly why I slammed the Hyundai HB20 i reviewed for TTAC a while ago. The reason why Chinese cars are bad.

            Body roll is another matter. Small Fiats tend to roll more than Fords or French small cars, but the movement is predictable and its intentional as it serves as a warning. Knowing the car you can usually push it more and it settles down admirably before the limit. Some don’t like it but I know how to use it (Brazilian and Euro Escorts had the same set up). Other cars like the Ford Ka has almost no body roll, but if it starts you better be quick and have finesse to catch it or it will be gone. So, depending on the tuning it can be that the body roll exhibited makes for a more comfortable suspension tuning, but if the limits are too low it’s another failure.

            What I’m reading is disappointing engine, bad transmission and a suspension system still in doubt. I have to drive it, but it sounds inferior to the March/Micra which is pretty good but not the best. So Id have to drive it to know, but sounds like its in the low end of the segment, but acceptable. Being that Mitsubishi has a strong reputation in many markets, but probably not good enough for the US or even for countries like Brazil where the sheer number and quality of cars like this is beyond most markets in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Magnusmaster

      This Mirage sounds more like a Chinese car than something from Mitsubishi. Not to mention it sounds even worse than my own Fiat Uno.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …stateside motors are tuned to run on 87-octane detonation-juice; that’s likely the primary reason…

  • avatar
    TW5

    Cheap and quirky is fine by me. I ride cross-country motorcycles and I have a Wrangler.

    The MSRP numbers for the Mirage are not worth publishing, imo. My local dealer group offers between $1,500 and $2,000 on every Mirage, and some of the base trim manual configurations are priced just over $11,000. Close to Versa cheap, but with better mpg.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Getting a lot of comments for a dead-brand, noisy crap box.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    I’m tired of hearing the typical whining: “Instead of the Mirage, I’d buy a CPO Impala/Camry/Accord/etc etc etc.” Yeah, good luck with that.

    Have you checked out independent used car lots lately? It’s all junky, wheeled abominations straight from a Mad Max movie. Anything decent with 4 cylinders gets snapped up, leaving only tired SUVs and stinky minivans and a smattering of over-waxed Volvos and Bimmers with incessant electrical problems……

    Face some facts: One, there is no such thing as Certified Pre-Owned anything. All “CPO” means is that some kid with a can of WD-40 performed a half-assed checklist on some beat-on former rental or lease car, then sprayed the inside with orange cleaner to cover the cigarette stink. That checklist won’t reveal oil usage, electrical gremlins, slow leaks, or even squeaks/rattles.

    Two, everyone wants a new car at least once in life. People get tired of buying used cars that others have been farting in or spilling french fries in for 2-3 years.

    Three, as to the Mirage’s durability? Well, I see plenty of Geo Metros out there that have outlasted those allegedly unbreakable Crown Vics and Malibus. Most have over 300k miles. The Metro has a maniacal following and the Mirage seems to be its spiritual (albeit vastly updated) successor….

    • 0 avatar

      Hah, gotta agree.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      Sketch447 nailed it.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Yes, the “new car stench” of a petroleum-based interior is still vastly preferable to someone else’s DNA/bacteria/pheromones spewed about. That said, that which “does not kill you makes you stronger”. I suppose.

      Two Elios for the price of a clapped-out Mirage, though. It could come down to a battle of “worst NVH”.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Shaker,
        I fear you’re teetering on the brink of an organic episode (dreads, patchouli, bacteria buddies) and only your rational mind as strengthened by E-school will save you. Oh, and your nose.

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          I have purchased 3 new cars in the last 4 years, and it seems the new car smell these days is the leather. The old plastic curing and formaldehyde reeking carpet is gone.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          Between my own personal effluvia and the regular numbing caused by Marlboro Silvers, my schnozz is fairly numb these days – except to the smell of gasoline, which wafts in on the breeze on too many days from the nearby pipeline terminal. I find this pretty offensive (and my complaints to the local and state air quality entities have gone unanswered), which is why I’m growing to hate the whole idea of fossil fuels.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            That would be nauseating, true. I’m OK with the occasional gas smell but other distillates give me instant ice-pick headaches.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I’m tired of hearing the typical whining: “Instead of the Mirage, I’d buy a CPO Impala/Camry/Accord/etc etc etc.” Yeah, good luck with that.”

      But why would you buy a Mirage over anything else in its class? It sounds like a fundamentally poor vehicle.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I owned one of the last era Mirages. The possibility of living with another for 10 years is something I do NOT want to think about. Keep it in Thailand; I just doubt it could be better than the virus that my old Mirage was. Anything on that car that could suck, unless it was supposed to, did.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Your logic would never have given Hyundai or Kia a second chance.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        True, but unlike Mitsu, they’ve made a miraculous comeback. I’ve seen nothing from Mitsu but the EVO, and they had to decide whether or not to continue with it. I also remember how ticked the Eclipse owners were with Mitsubishi ..

  • avatar
    mechaman

    The ‘for’ side sounds a lot like the Monty Python Cheese shop sketch: no cheese, but it was the best because it was so clean.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I rarely (actually never) read up on this end of the vehicle market.

    What I find surprising is this isn’t the cheapest vehicle we receive and yet we get it cheaper than in the US by around $900.

    Apprentice hairdressers and university students would find this appealing or even a retired couple living in an inner city region where long distance travel is to an airport for an overseas flight.

    As a dedicated commuter vehicle I think this would work if one or two people need to travel.

    Maybe Mitsubishi can make a miniature pickup out of this like the old Suzuki Might Boy pickups we used to get.

    Here’s a review of the Mirage from Australia.
    http://www.carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-reviews-road-tests/2014_mitsubishi_mirage_review_es_auto_82460_20140307

    A Mighty Boy

    http://www.tuneurcar.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Suzuki-MIGHTY-BOY.jpg

    Modified 4×4 Mighty Boy.

    https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3531/3851409649_03ba7b26eb.jpg

    A Skoda ute

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/bt-design-etape-skoda-yeti-ute-2-e1338957764624.jpg

    Sort of got carried away with these little things. I like them, maybe a little diesel version would be nice.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would much rather have the Mirage as a commuter car than an Impala or Sonota. I agree I would not want to take a long distance trip in a small car like the Mirage, but for commuting to and from work and for areas with limited parking then you want something smaller. A used European luxury car would not be a viable alternative at a similar price unless you had the money to keep them running and then you would not buy a small car like the Mirage. There is something to be said for a new car with a full warranty over the unknown especially with the newer used cars that have the life time coolant and transmission fluids which most will take the manufacturer at their word and get rid of the car before there are any problems.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I would much rather have the Mirage as a commuter car than an Impala or Sonota.”

      But would you rather have a Mirage than a Yaris, or Fit, or Fiesta, or PriusC, or Rio, or Mazda2, or Spark?

      • 0 avatar

        PriusC is almost 2 times more expensive than this, it’s completely out of the running.

        Fiesta and Mazda 2 were kind of fun, but something didn’t work. Maybe our Ford dealer was too ghetto, so not really the fault of the car. Mazda 2 was unacceptably cramped and thus out of the running.

        The new Yaris with conventional cluster is pretty good, even though Jack ripped it a new butthole for the soft suspension. I would probably choose either Yaris or Fit (in fact I did, but it was 6 months before Miraga became available). Note, however, that either of them is a higher class car than Mirage by about $3k. The two really are what your question is about: would you pay just a little more for a better car (and not a whole lot more as is the case of PriusC)?

        Rio – haha. How about no. I gave a good look to Accent, however.

        Spark and Mirage are a toss-up, they are about in the same class.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    And as they round the bend for the final stretch it’s Crap Box in the lead with Thirsty Vic second and Kill Bot in third.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    It depends on the price and condition of the Prius, Yaris, Fit, and the other alternatives. I did not say the Mirage was my first choice, I have owned a Mitsubishi before and the price and availability of parts would not make it among my top choices. I would buy a Hyundai or Kia before I would buy a Mitsubishi or even a Toyota ( Toyotas are reliable but overpriced and cheaply finished compared to many competitors). The Mirage does come with air and electric windows and for its price it has more features than a stripped Versa with no air. I would consider a 5 speed base model Mirage for 11 to 12k.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think in the US every Versa comes with AC. I’m personally in the Yaris camp for this vehicle class.

      I haven’t driven one, but from reviews the Mirage seems like an under engineered car that tries to make up for it with a long features list.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        The engineering in the Mitsubishi is top notch.

        It’s the compromises the engineers made to hit their targets that hurts it in reviews. Dull steering? Space saving electric power steering assist motor tucked up around the column.

        So-so handling? Space saving suspension design, which includes a very simple, flat rear torsion beam without many of the links you’d find on a more complicated H-shaped twist-torsion beam on something like the Fiesta.

        NVH? Who cares about that when you’re going for lightness?

        Sloppy shifter? Weight saving cable-shift.

        Buzzy motor? Two engine mounts only… (plus a torque mount built into front suspension subframe), saves weight on extra mounts.

        This car was built with two targets in mind: 1. Great space for the footprint…. achieved. 2. Good fuel economy through aero, lightweight construction and drivetrain… achieved.

        Everything else was inconsequential to the project heads.

        As such… it’ll appeal to consumers who need cars like this (and there are many), but typically ham-handed (and footed) auto-journos and enthusiasts won’t dig it at all.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not every Versa. Nissan still offers the Versa and the Frontier without air but they are not that easy to find. In this day and age I can’t imagine many takers for a vehicle without air. The manual transmissions are getting harder to get as many people don’t know how to drive them or they want their hands free to text while they drive even though this is dangerous. I myself like to shift, but then those of us that do are becoming more of a minority. The Mirage has a lot of features for the price and it is more like a modern Geo Metro which was a rough car but economical and with proper care would last. The Versa and Yaris are not that refined either but they serve a purpose. This is a last ditch effort for Mitsubishi to keep their toe in the US market which at this point what do they have to lose (at least they are trying something).

  • avatar
    StaysCrunchy

    I just bought a 2014 Mirage for the wife. Some of the highlights/lowlights of the car mentioned in internet reviews are spot-on, some of them are overblown or just flat wrong. All in all its exactly the car we expected it to be given the price, and it works great for where and how she drives. I wasn’t really interested in doing the math on how many 10-year old Mercedes-Benz’s we could have bought for the same money. If I wanted one of those I would have bought one. I’m not going to defend the car or our reasons for buying it, I’ll just say different strokes for different folks. For what it’s worth, my wife is absolutely in love with the little thing (the car that is, not… never mind) and while I fully do not expect to change anybody else’s mind on it, as an owner I can honestly say it’s really not as bad as you may think. :)

  • avatar
    Hummer

    While this car may be a third world crapbox, are you really dinging a vehicle for exposed fittings?

    That’s a sign of quality whether the vehicle costs 4k or 400k
    An exposed fitting will last longer than any snap fitting attached to a cheap plastic panel.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh Hummer, you have a way with words don’t you? If it’s a crappy car or not the jury is still out and as to Third World, I guess your world has just been third-isized a bit as the car is available at friendly neighborhood dealer near you. Ironically, not available at the same friendly venue near me. Guess the market here is too tough for this one.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Why are you so intent on defending a car you don’t even have availible, Mitsubishi hasn’t offered anything worthwhile to America in 20-30 years. Maybe you work for Mitsubishi I don’t know, but their reputation for the cars they build is well deserved.

        • 0 avatar

          yes sure and i get paid in yens too. hell of a living.

          i’m not defending the car per se, but i do “defend” (if you want to use that word) small cars in general. calling them crapbox, penalty box, clown car whatever simply because they’re small is moronic. and behind the times. buy whatever you want, i buy what i want, but i can see value in every kind of car. in other wors, open your mind, the world is much bigger than a BOF SUV and there’s plenty to like in modern day small cars (and some of the old ones too).

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Why do you assume I’m against it based on its size?
            Anything smaller than full size or 76 inches wide feels tiny to me, but that doesn’t mean they’re crapboxes though. The Mazda 3 for example is a great car that I’ve had a bit of experience behind, lots of fun through curves with the 6MT, the 2.5 engine is on the small side and nothing to write home about, but its just enough to make it interesting on curvy roads.
            But to hell if I’m going to spend lots of time in this Mitsubishi tin can, driving through small city streets accounts for about .001% of my driving. That’s the only argument that can be made for something excessively small and it accounts for so little actual driving its practically an invalid argument.

          • 0 avatar

            I assume you don’t like small cars because of the vocabulary you use whenever they pop up on TTAC. And there you go again with tin can.

            I get you don’t like small cars, you’re free and welcome to voice your opinion, that doesn’t mean that if you throw out negative expressions than can and will be read as insults, you will get responses that more or less echo your own words.

            Never said the Mirage or cars like it are for everyone. Hell, for me if it or something similar were our only car it’d be tight. That does not mean that every small car is automatically bad or unsafe or whatever to drive. Your driving is not the norm. Billions of people drive everyday in the sort of conditions you describe as 0.001% of your driving. That does not mean that if someone is not faced with tiny streets everyday, they can’t buy and enjoy the car. That is not the only reason to buy a small car. Lots of people get enjoyment out of driving a small car even in the most open of spaces. It may not be the default choice, but it takes all kinds.

            Hummer, you frequently comment on TTAC and I read your comments (unlike others I ignore) because what you say makes sense and is even funny ad insightful from time to time. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but my read on you is that small cars bring out the ugly in you.

            BTW, a Mazda3 can be construed as being on the biggish side and a 2.5 is huge in most parts of the world. Driving up a mountain road, in a well sorted, under 2.0 engine-sized, small car is a challenge and a joy when done by someone who knows what they’re doing.

            YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Marcelo,
            Hang in there, pal. I am now completely a convert to the coolness of modern small cars.

            We just bought a “new” 2013 Fit for my wife today after 6 months of her refusing, refusing, refusing to go check anything out. It was love at first sight for her.

            I’m just gobsmacked by Honda’s genius at interior space apportionment and DLO design. I’m 6’1″, she’s 4’11” and both of us were just “Wow! So much space and visibility!”

            So don’t worry, more and more Americans are going to see the light with high-grade “crap boxes” :-D

          • 0 avatar
            mechaman

            Kenmore, you are right about the Fit. I tried to talk my mother into one (she doesn’t like the hatchback style), but my sister-in-law had one. I was quite impressed with it inside; if you don’t haul around a lot of crap, it’ll fill the bill. Interestingly here in Chicago, the Aveo outsold it, or it seemed that way. Can’t go anywhere without tripping over Aveo’s .. with body kits and plus one wheel tire mods yet!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Mechaman,

            It’s bizarre you should say that about Aveos. It looked like they were swarming today where we test drove the Fit. Two other lookers at the dealership drove up in them, there were two yellow ones in the Perkins across the street where we had lunch and made our decision and I must’ve seen a dozen more as we test drove around the west side of Green Bay. I saw maybe 4 Fits during that time.

  • avatar

    Did some exploring. For the same money would you rather have a Mirage or a Fiat 500? Do you change your mind knowing the 500 Pop costs less than the Mirage ES?

    • 0 avatar
      StaysCrunchy

      I’m not saying the Mitsu is a better car by any means, but you’re comparing the base/entry Fiat to the highest trim Mirage. If you’re arguing on price alone then you need to compare like-to-like.

      • 0 avatar

        Look at the specifications. This is like to like. Evidently the Fiat has an even less usable back seat and merely a theory of cargo capacity. The MPG ratings aren’t as far apart as I imagined.

        • 0 avatar
          StaysCrunchy

          I can disprove that statement with sentence: “I can’t drive stick”

          Look, I’m not trying to turn this into an internet argument. I’m not saying that you’re wrong about the Fiat being a better car, I haven’t driven one but I’m almost certain it is. I’m just saying if you’re solely focusing on price then you gotta do like-to-like for any validity.

          • 0 avatar

            How is the 500 Pop distinctly unlike the Mirage ES? The automatic is included in the sticker price of both. Both are A-segment or minisubcompact cars originally intended for outside the NAFTA zone. They both have Bluetooth, voice control, cruise control, power windows and all the common buttons. The Mirage has a much smaller turning circle and is 6½ inches longer with a less tight rear seat and usable cargo capacity. Mirage drives like a car designed in 1980 with incomprehensibly poor fit, finish and image. If I’m the average American shopping for the smallest cars available, the 500 looks pretty good especially for less money and better resale.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I had a 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup for 14 years and was fairly reliable. My issue with Mitsubishi was getting parts for it even when it was a few years old. That might not be as much of a problem today with the internet, but when I had my Max it took a while to get parts and they were more expensive than Toyota or Honda parts. Also there are not a lot of dealerships. You cannot compare a Mirage to a bigger more expensive car because it is built to be cheaper and get better mpgs. Not everyone wants or needs a bigger vehicle, especially for commuting and running errands. Every vehicle has its place and not everyone wants or needs the same type of vehicle. I hope Mitsubishi is successful, it is not good to have another manufacturer drop out of a market.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Heck, once the Elio comes out, Mitsu won’t be able to give the Mirage away. The entire sub-compact market will collapse, and it’s tenuous the way it is. Even the Fit, which gets huge press, doesn’t generate big sales numbers.

  • avatar

    A lot of folks on here are saying that a CPO Sonata or Altima would be a better choice than a new Mirage. It could be the case, but for some of us, we need a small car to park on city streets, and don’t want anything as large as a family sedan. The size and girth of a larger sedan would be more of an annoyance in some of the parking situations we deal with, and if there’s only two people in the car on a regular basis, what’s the purpose for the big back seat? Plus a hatchback will always carry more gear than a sedan while having a smaller footprint. Plus, after always buying cars that are 2-3 years old, I’m ready for my first brand new car. There’s a sense of pride in being the first owner of a car and knowing that no one has farted in it, or wiped their greasy Burger King laden fingers over all the buttons and steering wheel.

    I’m seriously looking at the Mirage as my next car, and yes, I am a car enthusiast, and no, I do not need a catscan. Essentially, it meets all of our requirements in our new car: cheap to buy and own, roomy enough for me and my husband’s 6’4” frames, a manual transmission, and cruise control are all I need, simple and [hopefully] durable, not overly complicated, and hopefully reliable (plan on keeping it ten years, so the long warranty helps). I’ve driven my share of sports and luxury cars as rentals, and somehow this Mirage still appeals to me. Must be the honest-to-goodness nature that is lacking in many of today’s cars; many are trying to be something that they’re not. Heck, I rented a Mirage a few weeks ago and drove it 800 miles over mountains and deserts just to see how God-awful it was, and still like it. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad, and not nearly as bad as the reviews have you believe. And I have driven some awful cars in the past. Here is my blog on that weekend: http://roorentalcarreviews.com/2014/05/22/2014-mitsubishi-mirage-the-small-car-with-a-big-responsibility/

    Some have asked why choose the Mirage over other subcompacts? From someone in the trenches and has looked at all of them: here is my reasoning on some of the Mirage’s competition and why I wouldn’t consider it:

    Chevy Sonic: I really liked this car, but the reliability is a huge concern. Check the Sonic forums and you’ll see. It didn’t put my mind at ease that when I test drove one, the engine cut out on the highway (it started again immediately, but wasn’t reassuring)

    Chevy Spark: A Daewoo sourced product with no spare tire. No thanks. And no CD player can be had on any Spark. It’s either an AM/FM radio or a touchscreen that can attached to your smart phone (it’d be helpful if I had a smart phone, and I don’t like touchscreens, call me old school)

    Fiat 500: Just don’t trust the reliability, and only a two door unless you go to the more expensive, and more complicated, 500L

    Ford Fiesta: I love driving this car, but extremely cramped (could not find a comfy driving position), overly complicated controls, and terrible reliability ratings

    Kia Rio: No spare tire, and cruise control cannot be had on a manual Rio

    Kia Soul: Just can’t get past the looks, sorry. Seems like a decent car otherwise

    Mazda2: Like driving this car, but the console hits my knee, it was loud, low fuel economy ratings, and to get cruise requires the Touring for $17k. This cramped noisy little car isn’t much better than a Mirage IMO, but is $2k+ comparably equipped and less roomy

    Nissan Versa Note: Same as Rio, no cruise and manual combo available, and I actually found this car’s interior to be more dreary than a Mirage

    Toyota Yaris: The weird interior style urks me: round or square vents? Why not have both?

    It comes down to the Mirage, Fit, or Accent. The Accent has no spare but can be bought with one, the new Fit seems very good, but I’ve never really liked Honda and it’d be hard to say I own one, and then the Mirage, but its dealer network is terrible and it is indeed loud and a little rough

    I guess it comes down to different strokes for different folks

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      festiboi,

      You’re both 6’4″? I’d be really interested in your final decision and hope you eventually comment about it. How did you find ease of entry for the Rio5? I cracked my temple and knocked my cap off trying at only 6’1″.

      I hope you’ll at least sit in a Fit if you haven’t already.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s correct, we’re 6’4”; essentially eye-to-eye. We do look a little silly when we shop small cars. He drives an Aveo5, that I was married into and didn’t have a choice with. Surprisingly, it’s been reliable and a solid car [knock on wood]

        Strangely, I didn’t encounter the issues you did with entry/exit in the Rio. Or at least it didn’t stick in my memory. At least the Soul across the showroom, with its tall roof, resolves that problem.

        I’ll be sure to give the Fit a fair chance. Even though I’ve never been fond of Honda, the Fit is a good effort and has always had amazing and clever packaging for a small car. The 2015 promises to improve on the driving dynamics and value (the base LX has all we need and starts at $16k, or about $1k more than a comparable Mirage ES). I’m just anxiously waiting for the 2015 to finally arrive into showrooms.

        We are aware that the Mirage isn’t perfect, but at the same time find its character endearing and different. Whether or not the rough-around-the-edges charm of the Mirage will wear off after a few short years is another question. The Accent and Fit are much more refined, and could be easier to live with over a decade. All of this is going into consideration.

        I’ll keep ya’ll posted when the time comes, probably around September

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Thanks for the reply. It’s cool to see all the thought and discernment you’re putting into the purchase in a segment so often scorned on car blogs.

          Too bad you found the Soul offputting, it’s got all the tall even you two would need. Our purchase of the Fit was well over six months in the researching, I’m sure your diligence will be equally rewarded.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re welcome Kenmore, and thank you for taking interest in our “predicament”. It’s a big decision for us, and it’s amazing how far econo cars have come in the past decade.

            It is too bad about the Soul. My best friend has a ’13 and it’s a good car. I could maybe get over the looks, but like the Rio, no manual can be had with cruise, and no spare either.

            How do you like your Fit? The interior packaging is mind-boggling in such a small car, and it seems to have good visibility. It stays true to the original Honda formula of offering smart engineering in a clever package than any other of their offerings. Have you had any issues, or any unexpected delights since buying it?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            My pleasure, festiboi. There are darned few people on this blog willing to trade intelligent comments about cars that bore the majority to tears. Among them, Marcelo de Vasconcellos is undisputed king.

            We actually bought the Fit only yesterday so I have little to add to the initial impressions that enamored us. The best summary I can give is:

            Light, Precise, Spacious and Airy.

            When I first sat in it, it almost brought tears to my eyes for reminding me how much I loved my ’82 Civic wagon as well as a past flame’s ’87 Prelude. It’s got that low-dash, big vista feeling (if not the entire reality..it’s a “2013” after all) of those old rides and that feeling is bolstered by the excellent & tight steering, an oval cross-section steering wheel that feels marvelous to both our hands and the all around sense of chassis rigidity.

            There’s even the ghost of the short throw “snicky” precision of the controls, especially levers, that they had. Since this is for my wife an MT was out of the question. But I’m going back when they have 2015 MTs in just to see what their gearboxes are like nowadays.

            There is noise. Probably subject to tire type, there is a very ignorable but curious sort of drone at <50 mph, barely audible, that reminds me of the Bombers Over Germany kind of sound all the old war movies used.

            Gotta be all the resonances in that tight, capacious body shell amplifying the tire's song. It came with Dunlop SP37s…no idea how they rank, I've usually bought Michelin and Conti's. But again, it was only barely perceptible to me and my wife never picked up on it.

            Strangely, the car quiets down once you're at highway speed. Everything I'd read predicted the opposite, but it's nicely calm and quiet at 70-75 mph.

            Hope these early impressions are a little informative. I'm not the one to give you anything useful on power, torque or cornering capability except to ape old RR ads and say "adequate". For us. We're old :-)

  • avatar
    V6

    I just think the cost of cars in America is so low that there isnt the room for these super cheap cars at the lower end.
    Here the base ES with standard CVT retails for $17g. Yaris/i20/Fiesta etc list price starts at over $23g to there is a big difference. $17g will buy a 5-9 year old Mazda3 depending on spec

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There is plenty of room for super cheap cars. Most of the cars are getting bigger with more complex electronics which make them out of the range of many who would like a newer more efficient vehicle. A smaller less expensive and more efficient vehicle would be a perfect vehicle for a younger person in college or just starting their career. Also for a second or third family vehicle for commuting to work or running errands.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    It occured to me that this car is the antithesis of what driving enthusiasts expect from a car. If this is the future, I’m sure a lot of us are dreading it. I don’t have the need or funds for one of the desirables of car enthusiasts’ wet dreams (including mine), but this seems like a step backward from the basic transportation I have now; seeing more of the same does not fill me with joy. Well, better than taking the bus, walking or biking. But not by a lot..

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Weekend Roundup

    While all y’all are still curled in the womb of REM sleep, your vigilant fridge has tallied the response for all posts on and since Friday. As of 0330 hours CDT, 6/2/14, the top four finishers are:

    Crap Box – 179

    Thirsty Vic – 136

    Kill Bot – 123

    Humble Honda – 102

    Yay, Crap Box, Darling of the B&B!

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Don’t write off the Mirage. I’m around them every day at work, and they are nice little cars for the price. Scrap your Toyota Crapry or Honda Sh*t and enjoy a genuine Mitsubishi.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Talk about a dollar store interior. This car has that in spades even right down to the floppy 4″ piece of cable that provides a USB port hidden in the glove box. The road noise is easy to explain. The doors are about 1″ thick leaving no place to even put insulation. I’m sure the floor boards and fire wall have no insulation either. I’ll take the 1-2 year old Cruze Eco please for about the same coin and highway MPG.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Dealership near me is selling new Mirage DE with CVT for $12,700. EPA combined of 40 mpg

    Using Cars.com, the best used Hyundai Accent with automatic I can find for $13,000 are 2012 Accent GLS with 25,000 – 35,000 miles. EPA combined of 31 mpg.

    The used Sonatas in the $12-$13 k are 2010’s. EPA combined of 25 mpg.

    Hyundai powertrain warranties are not transferrable either.

    The Elio is what I’m waiting for, but if that does not happen, something like the Mirage is my next option.

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