Ace of Base: 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

It has come to our attention that there has been a dearth of Mitsubishi products in this Ace of Base series. Seeing what’s on offer at the instant noodle end of a particular price spectrum can be entertaining, so there’s little reason for us to have ignored one of the least-expensive new cars on sale in America today.

Poking fun at an entry-level car is low hanging fruit, one that’s been picked clean by many corners of the internet. Ignoring that dross, what exactly does Mitsubishi offer in an entry-level Mirage? The answer: more than I expected.

Push the styling to one side for a minute and concentrate on the feature count. That’s what I, an unabashed extrovert who delights in annoying the people with whom he shares road space with with automobiles featuring loud colours and over-the-topiary styling cues, had to do. Creeping toward my fortieth year, I’ve learned that not everyone cares (or even *gasp* notices) what their car looks like. “I just know where to put the gas!” they happily chirp, choosing to expend their attention on other matters. To them, this car looks fine.

For a sum of $13,795 one will find themselves in charge of a stickshift Mirage featuring cruise control and the all-important air conditioning. Remote keyless entry is a feature owners of this car will enjoy, along with the likes of a touchscreen infotainment system and Bluetooth wireless gubbins. A power- and joy-sapping CVT is a $1,200 option that should be avoided like the plague. In fact, the base Mirage is the only way to evade it.

Joyfully, Mitsu will allow the choice of seven colors — including the fun Sapphire Blue shown above — as $0 options, even on the base car. This handily beats other manufacturers who simply offer various shades of grey for their cheapest models in what is surely an attempt to upsell cheapskates to the next-highest trim.

It is worth noting that this car’s MSRP is less than that of a Spark, Fiesta, or Accent ⁠— the latter of which has creeped over $15,000 while no one was looking. While it is easy to look down one’s nose at cars like this until one remembers that, for some, this is all the car they want. The assurance of a 10-year warranty is a big deal for folks in that mindset as well, don’tcha know.

Cars like these, and I’m not picking solely on Mitsubishi with this musing, ask an existential question: at which price point does one start shopping for a gently used compact car with a few more features for the same amount of cheddar? A quick perusal of AutoGuide reveals plenty of barely driven Civics for roughly the same price; Elantras are even more plentiful.

I guess this turns today’s post into a twofer — an Ace of Base and a mini question of the day. What’s your take?

[Images: Mitsubishi]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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3 of 75 comments
  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Oct 22, 2019

    I looked at one of these when I accompanied my sister to look at an Outlander PHEV, which she bought. I have no hatred toward Mitsubishis, I had an 04 Lancer Sportback (wagon) that I put 70k on in 3 years and it never missed a beat. My sister had an 06 Eclipse GT that served her well. There's a simplicity and a cheapness in Mitsubishi vehicles that's endearing and annoying at the same time. Switchgear feels solid, but the carpet is junk. Build quality is good, but it's painfully obvious when corners are cut to save money. There was a Mirage in the showroom with a stick ( as well as a 2wd Outlander Sport with a manual too.). The Mirage is made in Thailand, all of it. As mentioned by the author, it has "stuff" that would have been unthinkable on a cheap, entry level car 20 years ago like PW, PL Bluetooth audio, etc. Anyone over 35 remembers Dodge Neons with no right side mirror and Toyota Tercels with four speed manuals and no A/C. And, adjusted for inflation, they were more money with less in them. You can argue build quality, power etc. but again, people who want cheap, new, wheels don't really care. The worst thing about the Mirage, in context of a cheap car, was the seating position. It was much too high, because the floor jack is mounted under the drivers seat. Deal breaker there, because I'm 5'10" with short legs and long arms. I couldn't sit in the car because it was so annoying. I understand that it probably doesn't drive too great, but again, most people who buy these cars don't care. They want NEW A to B transportation and can't afford or won't afford anything else. Sure, a used car makes more sense ( my 17 Golf Wolfsburg would retail for about 15-16k now, about the same as a new ES Mirage) but some folks want no part of a used car. I see a fair amount of them, in various conditions of course, over an Accent or Yaris in my area.

  • Aaron Costello Aaron Costello on Oct 22, 2019

    I bought a Mirage new in December of 2014 to use as a work car. It was about $14k. Mine is red, ES trim (fancy one back then), and a manual. Why did I buy it? I have fond 3-cylinder Geo Metro memories, it was cheap, it had a great warranty, lots of features, a timing chain, and nobody in the civilized world was reporting having any problems with them (unlike the Spark). It now has just under 130,000 miles on it. It has consistently gotten over 40 mpg, and has never broken down. The only problem I ever had with it was a broken clutch cable at 113,000 miles, but I would probably consider the clutch cable to be a wear item. The cable was about $55, and took about 15 minutes to change. Seriously...NOTHING else has broken. Not a handle, not a clip, not a switch. Nothing. This car was built for Third World abuse, and it shows. It's like a little urban Land Rover. Honestly, it is a neat little car. Incredibly easy to work on. Nothing of importance is on the back of the engine, it is all up front. It is still on it's original clutch. I tested the compression at 100k, and it was near factory spec. Changed the plugs, but it didn't need them. All it has needed is gas, oil, filters, brakes, tires, and bulbs. The headlights are great, and the bulbs are easy to get to. You don't have to remove the front end to get to the battery. Front brakes take about 20 minutes. There is a tiny little spout under the oil filter so oil does not run down the front of the engine block. It has a grab handle for closing the rear hatch. It has speed-sensitive variable wipers. It has automatic climate control. It has 'one touch' turn signals. There are just lots of little things that make it awesome. Best $14,000 I ever spent, and hands-down the most reliable car I have ever owned. Were it wrecked today, I'd be at the dealership tomorrow buying another one. Hell, I may buy another one before Mitsubishi fcuks it up by turning it into some 30 mpg, AWD, Renault-based cute ute. I know five other people who have Mirages, and all are as happy as I am with mine...and I ask them. If I had to complain about it, I'd note the crashy suspension, easily scratched interior plastics, numb steering, and user-unfriendly TPMS system. This car occupies the same position in the market as the VW Bug did 50 years ago, and you either understand that kind of car or you don't. Oh, and adjusted for inflation the Mirage is CHEAPER than that Bug.

    • SPPPP SPPPP on Nov 06, 2019

      Thanks for the description of the real-world qualities of this car.

  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!
  • Roman Our 1999 Pontiac Sunfire Gt is still running without any issues. 25 years and counting.