2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 9, 2021

Buying tip

The Mirage makes the most sense the less you spend, so grab a hatchback if you must.

features & specs

Carbonite Edition CVT
ES CVT
ES Manual
MPG
36 city / 43 hwy
MPG
36 city / 43 hwy
MPG
33 city / 41 hwy
MSRP
$16,995
MSRP
$15,595
MSRP
$14,295

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is a cheap car that looks, drives, and feels like one.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage? What does it compare to?

The Mirage is America’s second-cheapest car. It’s a hatchback or sedan, and it’s best shopped against the Chevrolet Spark, Hyundai Accent, and Kia Rio. 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage a good car?

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You get what you pay for with the 2021 Mirage, including decent standard safety gear and a long warranty but little power or refinement. We rate the Mirage at a 3.7 out of 10. A similarly-priced used car with the remainder of its warranty would rate much higher. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage?

The Mirage lineup gains active safety tech for the first time this year, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Additionally, a few minor styling updates breathe a hint of life into what is otherwise an aging design.

The Mirage has been around since the 2014 model year, though even then it felt like an older design. The bite-sized hatchback is actually the smaller of the two, measuring just 151 inches between its bumpers. The G4 sedan is nearly 20 inches longer. Inside, the two share a dash that houses a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen with advanced smartphone compatibility—not bad for the price, if we’re honest. 

But underhood, the Mirage ekes out just 78 horsepower from its 1.2-liter 3-cylinder. Fuel economy is good, but not astounding. Most used compact cars will nearly match the Mirage’s fuel economy while providing better acceleration, handling, and ride.

The standard 5-speed manual gearbox is fine, while the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) fitted to most will deliver better fuel economy. Look for as much as 39 mpg combined for the hatchback—that’s nearly hybrid-level economy in a simpler and less expensive car. 

At least this year’s new safety gear brings the Mirage up to par—and it bests the even cheaper Chevrolet Spark, which doesn’t offer automatic emergency braking. 

How much does the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage cost?

The cheapest Mirage is the ES hatchback at about $15,300. Add $1,000 for the sedan or $1,300 for an automatic transmission.

Sure, you can spend nearly $20,000 on a Mirage with every option, but don’t. 

Where is the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage made?

In Thailand.

3

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Styling

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is a little more shapely this year, but it’s not exactly pretty.

 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage a good-looking car?

The 2021 Mirage is a prosaic small car, even though this year’s updates add a little styling flair. We rate it at just 3 out of 10.

The base Mirage hatchback has a pert, balanced profile, while the G4 sedan has an awkwardly long trunk lid. Both feature new lighting, grilles, and wheels this year that do little to advance this design.

Inside, the style is clean and unadorned, but also very, very basic for a new car. The touchscreen standard on all is positioned high on the dash above climate controls that are easy to sort out, but that’s the end of the excitement here. 

A new Carbonite Edition package this year adds tacky carbon fiber-looking trim elements outside. Spend your money elsewhere.

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2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Performance

The Mitsubishi Mirage is a reminder that not all small cars are fun.

 

Is the Mitsubishi Mirage 4WD?

No, all Mirages are front-wheel drive. 

How fast is the Mitsubishi Mirage?

The Mirage is a slow, slow car. Its 3-cylinder engine puts out just 78 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque, which reaches the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a CVT. Neither is especially fun, but at least the CVT helps out fuel economy.

Overall, the Mirage scores just 1 out of 10 on our scale. We deduct two points for its power output and two for its handling.

This little car is best-suited to in-town use, where its small size makes it maneuverable enough to park in the smallest spots.

The Mirage accelerates very, very slowly and is nervous once up to highway speeds, with its narrow tires providing little confidence above about 55 mph. The light, vague steering makes the Mirage hard to settle back into its routine once it has been disturbed, too. The ride is lumpy but tolerable around town, at least.

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2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Mirage makes good use of what limited space it offers inside, but materials and assembly are vintage in all the wrong ways.

 

The Mirage comes as either a sedan or a hatchback, neither of which takes up much space on the road. Space for humans is decent up front and tolerable at the rear given the diminutive proportions. We rate the Mirage at 3 out of 10 for its comfort and quality, with points deducted for lousy materials and the small back seat compared to the automotive world in general.

Cargo space is good in the hatchback. Look for 17.2 cubic feet behind the second row and a maximum of 47 cubes with the seatback folded down. That’s not far behind some small SUVs. If you need a bite-size delivery car for your business, consider a fleet of Mirages—we bet you’ll get a heck of a group buy discount from your local dealer.

Materials inside are cheap without cheerful, and sound deadening is virtually nonexistent. 

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4

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Safety

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is now up to par when it comes to collision-avoidance tech.

How safe is the Mitsubishi Mirage?

The latest Mirage will finally do its best to avoid a collision—a good thing since its crash test scores are not very good.

Newly standard automatic emergency braking is joined by optional blind-spot monitors and automatic high-beam headlights in higher trim levels. 

The IIHS awards it mostly “Good” ratings aside from a troubling “Marginal” for the front overlap test that simulates impact with an oncoming car or a utility pole. The NHTSA hasn't tested it recently.

At least outward vision is good and the Mirage comes with the expected set of airbags.

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2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Features

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is cheap but decently-equipped for the money.

 

If the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage makes a case for itself in any single category, it may be this one. Decent standard equipment makes it a somewhat compelling choice versus an older used car that may lack smartphone tech or a warranty.

We rate the Mirage at 4 out of 10 for features. It comes with active safety gear, a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, keyless entry, automatic emergency braking, and basic power features. 

All Mirages come with a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, plus extended 10-year, 10,000-mile coverage for the engine and transmission. 

Which Mitsubishi Mirage should I buy?

The most basic Mirage is the smartest Mirage, as far as we’re concerned. Stick with the base ES hatchback and then decide if you want a 5-speed manual or a CVT. A sedan costs $1,000 more but offers less cargo space and takes up more room on the road—after all, the Mirage’s appeal is mainly in its small size. 

The LE tosses in alloy wheels but not much else, and a new Carbonite Edition adds carbon fiber-looking exterior trim that’s just the wrong side of tacky. The range-topping SE adds blind-spot monitors, but it’s priced far too close to larger compact cars. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage?

A loaded Mirage G4 SE runs nearly $20,000 with extra-cost paint.

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2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Mirage is one of the most frugal cars on the road.

 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage good on gas?

The new Mirage nearly matches some hybrids thanks to its tiny engine. We rate it at 7 out of 10.

The greenest version is the hatchback with the CVT, which is rated at 36 mpg city, 43 highway, 39 combined according to the EPA. The Mirage G4 sedan is less aerodynamic and rates 35/41/37 mpg.

Manuals are thirstier yet. Look for 36 mpg for a 5-speed hatchback or 35 mpg combed for the Mirage G4 manual. 

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$14,295
MSRP based on ES Manual
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3.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 3
Performance 1
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety 4
Features 4
Fuel Economy 7
Compare the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage against the competition
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    5.3
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2021 Mitsubishi Mirage Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Mirage refreshed and in stock
  • Lease: From $179 for 36 months
  • Rebates: Up to $1,000 off
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 48 months + $500 bonus
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