Short of hybrids and plug-ins, the Mitsubishi Mirage is currently the most fuel-efficient gasoline car on the market. To do better on gas mileage in a car this size requires stepping up to the Toyota Prius C hybrid (at 50 mpg combined) or the Honda Insight at 42 mpg combined. (While Honda discontinued the Insight for 2015, there are remaining stocks of 2014 models still at dealers.)
Both of those cars are five-door hatchbacks as well, and both are slightly larger than the Mirage—but their base prices are $6,000 to $7,000 higher. If you’re looking for very high gas mileage in a car with four usable seats, the 2015 Mirage is the cost-effective champ.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage has the highest fuel-efficiency rating for any car that’s neither a hybrid nor a plug-in. The version fitted with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is rated at 40 mpg combined (37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway). Opting for the five-speed manual, which is $1,000 cheaper, knocks that down to 37 mpg combined (34 mpg city, 42 mpg highway).
Those are remarkable numbers. They’re higher than the two-seat Smart ForTwo, and the lower of the two combined numbers equals the previous highest-rated gasoline car, the “3+1-seat” Scion iQ that’s only marginally longer than a Smart. Yet the Mirage offers four entry doors, seats for at least four, and all the cargo flexibility of a small five-door hatchback.