2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 31, 2019

Buying tip

Gas is affordable, so if you actually want a Mirage, some serious discounts should be available.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage ranks near the bottom of our ratings, but gets excellent gas mileage.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is a new car, but you’d likely be better off with any used car for the same price. With great fuel economy and a solid factory warranty, it does have some positive qualities, but they’re few and far between.

It earns a 3.3 out of 10 in our overall ratings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Mirage ranks below average in nearly every category we evaluate: styling, performance, comfort, safety, and features, making nearly any used car at a similar price point a better deal. It’s drab, the interior is cheap and noisy, the standard 3-cylinder is beyond slow, and it’s about as small as new cars come. Fuel economy is great, however, at between 35-40 mpg combined depending on which transmission and body style you choose, sedan (G4) or hatchback.

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For 2020, the Mirage gets only minimal updates, including automatic climate control as standard on every model. The G4 sedan model gets a new LE trim and front grille design.

Standard features don’t include automatic emergency braking—it’s not available at all—and the Mirage has done poorly in federal crash testing, relative to other cars. If the low price is a strong lure, there’s that new-car warranty—but not much more.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Styling

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage has a no-frills shape, inside and out.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is both inoffensive and instantly forgettable at the same time. It’s the purest manifestation of a subcompact economy car and is unlikely to excite nearly anyone. We give it 3 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Nothing has changed about the Mirage’s looks for 2020, but it manages to look nearly a decade old at least, despite being a new car. The hatchback is short, stubby, and almost cute, while the sedan wears its minimal styling more handsomely thanks to a different grille and bigger wheels available on higher trims.

The interior is similarly plain, with a center console and round air vents that could hail from any year this millennium. Other subcompact cars like the Chevrolet Spark and Fiat 500 at least manage some character, but the all-black plastic and cloth of the Mirage is purely plain.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Performance

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage offers no quarter for performance.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage performs well in just one area: fuel economy. We cover that separately, so the story here is a bleak one. We give it a dismal 1 out of 10 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Let’s start with the good news first. Its small footprint comes with a tight turning circle and low weight, so braking performance and low-speed maneuverability are as good as one would expect from a subcompact.

A 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine is standard and makes 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the very few new cars that has less than 100 horsepower. As you can imagine, acceleration is glacial: the Mirage reaches 60 mph from a stop in more than 12 seconds. A 5-speed manual and front-wheel drive are standard, but even the stick shift isn’t fun to operate. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional for $1,200 and would be our pick for its improved fuel economy.

Above 60 mph, the Mirage wanders on the highway, and the little engine wails just to keep up with traffic. Hills are a struggle and passing is not recommended.

Normally, subcompact cars are reasonably fun to flick around despite being slow, but the Mirage somehow manages to undo that as well. Steering is light and vague, and the suspension is neither compliant enough to be comfortable nor taut enough to make cornering fun.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage has cargo room and decent space for four, but its interior is low-rent.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is reasonably spacious for a subcompact car, and it has good cargo room. We give it 3 out of 10 here as such. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front seats are somewhat comfortable and provide decent bolstering, and thanks to standard height adjustment for the driver, it’s not hard to find a comfortable driving position. The rear seat is thin and flat, on the other hand, making long journeys uncomfortable.

Interior space is decent for such a small car, and can fit four average size adults for short trips.

Cargo space is admirable at 17.2 cubic feet for the hatchback, and a full 47.0 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. The trunk of the G4 sedan is only 12.3 cubes, however, so if practicality is important, we suggest the hatchback.

Where the Mirage falls desperately short is in the quality department, featuring hard plastics and cheap cloth as far as the eye can see. Sound deadening is minimal as well, making highway jaunts in the Mirage a droning experience.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Safety

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage gets mediocre crash test scores and offers no active safety features.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the few new cars that has more safety concerns than features. It gets below-average crash test scores and has no active safety tech, so it earns a 2 out of 10 rating here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The NHTSA gives the Mirage four out of five stars, when most other new cars manage five stars overall, including many in the Mirage’s class. The IIHS tells a slightly better story, giving the Mirage “Good” ratings in most categories, minus a “Marginal” driver front overlap score.

There’s no safety technology to speak of beyond anti-lock brakes, airbags, and stability control, and while not all subcompacts offer tech like automatic emergency braking as standard or optional, it’s becoming a necessity for many new car buyers.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Features

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is reasonably well-equipped for its price.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is as basic as a new vehicle comes, no matter how much you spend. We give it 4 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Available in ES, LE, and SE trims, the Mirage ranges from around $14,000 upwards, with the sedan costing $1,000 more than the hatchback.

The ES trim includes 14-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, a 5-speed manual transmission, cloth seats, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display audio system with Bluetooth. For 2020, the Mirage also gets automatic climate control as standard across the range.

The LE trim adds the CVT as standard (normally $1,200 more on the ES), as well as a 6.5-inch infotainment system that loses some screen real estate but gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also gets red stitching inside, 15-inch black alloy wheels, heated front seats, and a driver’s side armrest.

SE models lose the black wheels for 14-inch alloys, but include keyless ignition, fog lights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

At the top of the range, the GT model wears unique 15-inch alloys and HID headlights, but its equipment list is nearly the same as the SE and LE, so we recommend choosing one of the former trims.

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2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage manages over 35 mpg combined, excellent for any non-hybrid car.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage manages excellent fuel economy thanks to its tiny engine. It gets 7 out of 10 in this category. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base ES trim with a 5-speed manual transmission makes 33 mpg city, 41 highway, 36 combined, while the sedan version suffers slightly at 33/40/35 mpg.

Choosing a CVT-equipped model comes with a benefit, pushing numbers to 35/41/37 mpg for the sedan and 36/43/39 mpg for the hatchback.

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3.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 3
Performance 1
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety 2
Features 4
Fuel Economy 7
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