Shopping for a new Mitsubishi Mirage?
GET A FREE PRICE QUOTE
Save this car now, and view it in your Showroom!Save to My Showroom
Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
4-Door HB Manual DERegular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 12,712||$ 12,995|
4-Door HB CVT DERegular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 13,788||$ 14,095|
4-Door HB Manual ESRegular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 13,983||$ 14,295|
4-Door HB CVT ESRegular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 15,059||$ 15,395|
For the very budget-conscious buyer, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage offers two appealing features. It's not only the most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in the U.S. that isn't a hybrid or plug-in, but the base model carries a price of just $13,000 plus delivery--making it inexpensive both to buy and to run. There are some downsides, though: The 2015 Mirage isn't particularly rewarding to drive, and it got one particularly bad score on a recent IIHS safety test.
The Mirage is not only one of the two smallest five-door hatchbacks sold in the U.S.–it's smaller than a subcompact–but its price is one of the lowest around. Sure, a single and probably quite rare Nissan Versa model is so stirpped down that its base price is cheaper. That Versa (known in the business as a "unicorn" for its rarity) really exists only as a lure to get you in the door so the dealer can sell you a nicer model.
The Mirage, on the other hand, is pretty much a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. The base model Mirage DE includes automatic climate control and a few other features as standard. Most Mirage buyers will likely step up to the ES, for an additional $1,200. That's still reasonable against its competitors, which range from two-seat minicars to subcompact hatchbacks. Mitsubishi is targeting first-time buyers and those on very limited budgets.
The smallest Mitsubishi actually straddles categories: Its size puts it between minicars and subcompacts. It’s certainly larger than the Smart ForTwo, Scion iQ, Fiat 500, and even a bit bigger than the five-door Chevrolet Spark. But it’s dwarfed by every other subcompact hatchbacks: the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio5, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris, and the biggest boy in the class, the Nissan Versa.
The Mirage name was last seen in North America as a new car way back in 2002. The 2015 Mirage is sold in the U.S. and in Canada (where it competes with not only the Spark but also the Nissan Micra, a five-door minicar not sold in the U.S.).
The 2015 Mirage suffers from a soft suspension with a lot of body roll and tire squeal, along with a dead spot in the center of the electric power steering that can find the car drifting toward the edges of the lane with no feedback to the driver. The very small 14-inch wheels and tires may be at least partially to blame. The ride is smooth and quiet on good roads, but acceleration causes the engine noise to rise substantially--and broken pavements and surfaces are frequently jarring.
The high fuel economy comes at a cost, though. With a 74-horsepower 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, the Mirage is neither fast nor powerful. Paired with a new continuously variable transmission (CVT), its performance away from stoplights and around town is fine if you work it hard. A five-speed manual transmission is also offered--for $1,000 less--but it reduces the gas mileage to 37 mpg combined. At highway speeds, though, there's very little margin indeed for acceleration or passing, regardless of which transmission you choose.
Looking at the Mirage, about the best you can say is that the design is inoffensive. There's a reason for the bland, characterless front end: aerodynamics, meaning that the rounded nose smooths the little car's path through the air and uses very little fuel to do it. The rest of the car's design is generic small hatchback, perhaps with a hint of last-generation Nissan Versa at the rear.
The materials inside are inexpensive, but Mitsubishi has crafted a straightforward dashboard that doesn't really betray its hard-plastic surfaces. Upholstery is simple black cloth with a subtle purple check (it's not as bad as it sounds). The front seats are comfortable, but the seat cushions are short; the rear seat will fit two adults, but while Mitsubishi calls this a five-passenger car, the rear seat will only fit three if they're exceptionally skinny teens or children.
The Mitsubishi Mirage is offered in just two trim levels: the base DE and the better equipped ES. Beside the standard automatic climate control, all Mirages have power locks, windows, and mirrors; a 60/40 split folding rear seat back (although it doesn't fold flat); and variable intermittent wipers. The AM/FMCD audio system has a USB port, an auxiliary input jack, and there's a 12-volt power outlet in the console. Standard steel wheels are fitted with silver plastic wheel covers.
For $1,200 more, the ES adds alloy wheels, pushbutton start, cruise control, a height adjustment for the driver's seat, leather wrappings for the steering wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, Bluetooth pairing, and audio controls on the steering wheel. It has more chrome and silver trim accents as well. Even a top-of-the-line Mirage won't be much above $15,000, and Mitsubishi offers both trim levels with either transmission.
For trivia fans, the Mitsubishi Mirage is also the first passenger car sold in the U.S. to be built in Thailand. A dedicated factory there can build up to 125,000 Mirages a year for global markets. In the U.S., however, Mitsubishi has modest aspirations for the Mirage: It hopes to sell about 7,000 during 2015. The Mirage will likely do somewhat better in Canada, where small and inexpensive cars take a larger share of the market.
- Five-door practicality
- Good low-speed response
- High fuel efficiency, low price
- Real-world mileage may be higher
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Mush handling
- Marginal acceleration
- Cutesy color choices
- Dead spot in steering