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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Photo
6.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by John Voelcker
Senior Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$12,712
BASE MSRP
$12,995
Quick Take
The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage smaller than a subcompact and larger than a minicar, but offers five-door hatchback versatility on the cheap–and the best fuel economy you'll find in a non-hybrid car. That comes at a price in performance, though. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web - Mileage

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage: 37/44 mpg, 40 mpg combined (CVT); 34/42 mpg, 37 mpg (manual)

EPA »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$12,995 $15,395
MSRP $12,995
INVOICE $12,712
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4-Door HB Manual DE
Gas Mileage N/A
Engine Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
EPA Class Subcompact Cars
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
6.0 out of 10
Shopping for a new Mitsubishi Mirage?

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Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
STYLE INVOICE MSRP
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage 4-Door HB Manual DE
4-Door HB Manual DE
Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 12,712 $ 12,995
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage 4-Door HB CVT DE
4-Door HB CVT DE
Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 13,788 $ 14,095
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage 4-Door HB Manual ES
4-Door HB Manual ES
Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 13,983 $ 14,295
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage 4-Door HB CVT ES
4-Door HB CVT ES
Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.2 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 15,059 $ 15,395

The Basics:

The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage may offer some of the best fuel economy you can find in a non-hybrid car, but it's not as rewarding to drive as most other small cars on the market. It's one of the two smallest five-door hatchbacks sold in the U.S.–smaller even than a subcompact–but dimensionally, it's larger than a minicar.

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 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.). With the Mirage base-priced at less than $13,000 (before the mandatory delivery fee), Mitsubishi is targeting first-time buyers and those on very limited budgets. One of the main selling points, though, is the rated fuel economy: At 40 mpg combined, the new Mirage has the highest EPA gas-mileage rating of any non-hybrid gasoline car sold.

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.

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.

Competitors for the Mirage range from minicars to subcompacts. The Mirage fits between minicars and subcompacts: It’s larger than the Smart ForTwo, Scion iQ, Fiat 500, and even the five-door Chevrolet Spark. But it’s smaller than all other subcompact hatchbacks, which include the Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Kia Rio5, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and the largest of the class, the Nissan Versa.

Granted, there's a single and very rare stripped-down model of the Versa that undercuts the new Mirage on base price--but it's extremely hard to find one, and that model is really just a lure to get you in the door so the dealer can sell you a nicer model. But the Mirage is pretty much a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. And for its $13K-plus-delivery price, you do get standard automatic climate control and a few other features.

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.

Likes:

  • Five-door practicality
  • Good low-speed response
  • High fuel efficiency, low price
  • Real-world mileage may be higher

Dislikes:

  • Mush handling
  • Marginal acceleration
  • Cutesy color choices
  • Dead spot in steering
Next: Interior / Exterior »

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