We have a date with Mitsubishi Mirage (again). The Japanese subcompact is slated to arrive on our shores in September 2013, and it's one of the product offerings meant to help Mitsubishi's US arm raise sales in its next financial year from 55,000 to 80,000. If next year were 1989, we'd say there's no reason that couldn't happen, but from what we've seen, the Mirage is so magnificently meek (have you seen the interior?) that we aren't sure how it will manage that kind of US sales aggression in the 21st century.

Continuing that theme, Car and Driver reports that the Mitsu will launch here with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine. Make no mistake, this is a very popular engine in the Mirage and responsible for its excellent fuel economy. The hatch is doing so well in other markets with its two naturally aspirated tri-cylinders that the Thailand facility that builds the Mirage will have its capacity increased by 33 percent to try and meet demand. In European spec, the 845-kilogram (1,859 pounds) subcompact with the more powerful engine offering 79 horsepower and 78 pound-feet of torque gets 57.3 miles per US gallon and takes 11.7 seconds to get from zero to 62 miles per hour. The question is whether Mitsubishi will boost the output of that engine for our market. If not, only the 70-hp Smart ForTwo will have less horsepower – but the Mirage, interestingly enough, weighs about the same as the microcar.

On its UK site, Mitsubishi said the reveal of the Mirage in back 2011 meant "redefining the standards by which to judge a compact passenger car." We can't wait to find out if that's still true and what that means when it gets here. To prepare yourself, there's video of the Mirage in action below.



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  • 65 Comments
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 2 Years Ago
      My former 2001 Metro made do with 55 hp out of its one liter triple and I could run the a/c and drive on the freeway, although I often turned off the a/c to accelerate to get on the freeway. We can make do with 79 hp and not have the hassle and expense of the turbo (lookin' at you Fiesta ecoboost 1.0) I wish Mitsu the best.
      Jim R
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only way I could see this selling in any kind of significant numbers is if it comes in under $10,000 base. And not just by 5 bucks, but by a grand or more. If this was $8,995 brand new with no options, they'll sell a bunch because there are lots of people out there that just want basic transport with good gas mileage--and 40+ MPG is pretty damn good. They won't care if it's slow, as long as it can do 70 on the freeway...eventually.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      Under $10k Mitsubishi, make it happen!
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Conservative style does not mean a flop these cars are ment for the commuter crowd not everyone needs race inspired handeling or super powerful engines or a catalog of options. I drive a new Versa myself fantastic small comfortable economical car for my daily all in-town commute. I could car less about handeling, power, and styling when I'm stuck in crowded city streets all day. I just want comfort and economics. I hope the Mirage finds it's niche.
        starryknight936
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        Well said, Cruising...I agree totally. It's a pity though that many are judged by the machines they drive. That mindset is pathetic, speaking for myself. I'm sure that many well to do peeps purchase a Versa, or would consider this Mirage, not because they're frugal but because it's a statement against the high price of automobiles in general and rebelling against what peeps may think of them and what they drive. Do I compute, Cruising? It's like back in da day when all types, rich and poor, purchased an original VW beetle...making a statement against Detroit and it excesses. Peace!<-AladdinSane<- :-)
      jebibudala
      • 2 Years Ago
      My guess this is aimed to compete directly with the Fiesta 3cyl 1.0 Ecoboost. There's an increasing demand for no thrills basic transpo great MPG DD vehicles in the US. More households are purchasing vehicles based upon special purpose. i.e. Sports car for weekend, crossover for family, microcar for work commuting.
        Temple
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jebibudala
        The 3-cylinder Ecoboost for the Fiesta will be positioned as an upmarket engine for the Fiesta line. Mitsubishi doesn't have a turbo, and the output will be much much much less. But the Fiesta weighs around 2,600lbs, this cars is an insanely light 1,859 pounds. We're talking a good 700lbs difference, the Fiesta weighs ~%40more, which is massive for a car in this weight range. The Fiesta and Mirage are two totally different class of cars. If Mitsubishi can sell this car in the $12-13k range and get 45-50mpg COMBINED in the US cycle. They have a huge hit on their hands.
          foxtrot685
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Temple
          "Mitsubishi doesn't have a turbo..." That's not true, Mitsubishi has a turbo version of both the 3B20 and 3B21 engines. The 3B21 is the 3-cylinder in the Smart ForTWO and there is a turbo version in Brabus models in the UK. It makes 97 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. That would be a cool little engine in something this lightweight especially if the torque comes early in the rev band and they pair it with a 5 or 6-speed manual.
        Kurt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jebibudala
        I could compete with it, but the numbers tell a different story. 74ft*lb torque vs 148 for the fiesta, CVT vs. 5-speed manual, N/A vs. turbo, over 50mpg vs under 50, under $10,000 (hopefully) vs over $17,000. The Ford looks to be a nice compromise between efficiency and performance with sweet infotainment options, though.
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jebibudala
        In terms of having 3-cylinders, yes, it will be a battle of Mirage vs. Fiesta. But if the price of the Mirage is anywhere near the Fiesta, the Fiesta has it roundly outclassed.
        Quen47
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jebibudala
        The Fiesta 1.0 is not at all intended to be a no frills car. It's the upmarket engine and will be sold with a much higher level of trim than the 1.6.
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everything about this car points to fail, the looks, the company and the outdated interior. That said, I think if they can price it correctly(12K range) and that 3 cylinder engine can in fact get 50mpg, I believe they would have a steady seller. Cheap car that gets that kind of mileage, would be a fleet sales champ and great starter car for young driver.
      QCRamAir
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they can price this thing around $12k or less, they may hit that sales goal. It'd be hard to argue with that price for a new commuter car that can deliver 50+ mpg, regardless of how ugly it looks, as long as the materials and drivetrain hold up (not holding my breath; this is a Mitsubishi after all). This has the potential to be a decent 2nd/work car.
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @QCRamAir
        I'd say closer to $11k, since the Versa starts at $13k and has a lot more room and trunk, though Mitsu has MPG on its side
      Temple
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they can price this cheap, and it gets hybrid-like 45-50mpg in the US cycle (down from the 57mpg in the Euro). I think Mitsubishi sell quite a bit of these. At 1,859 pounds; 3 cylinder with CVT, its easily possible.
      brgtlm
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only way this ugly thing will succeed is to lure people in with a dirt cheap price.
      aacfx09
      • 2 Years Ago
      As generic and 15 years ago as this car looks, I think Mitsubishi could bring it into the 21st century with a clever bumper design front and rear. It wouldn't be amazing, but it would certainly help. If they market this car with the wicked mpg it gets and at least give it a tiny bit of visual appeal, it WILL meet their sales targets. And I don't know why everyone's saying "have you seen the interior?!" because in that sense the Yaris is worse, in my opinion.
        foxtrot685
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aacfx09
        They make upgraded trim levels of this car with lip kits and they have a RalliArt appearance package for it as well. Autoblog just loves showing this pea soup green base model for some odd reason...
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once upon a time, the Mitsubishi Mirage / Dodge Colt was highly reccommended by Consumer Reports. And that was enough to sell a ton of them. Unfortunately, this probably will not meet the safety standards necessary to merit a recommendation from Consumer Reports.
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      1993 called - they want their car back. Seriously, this is a NEW car? This is Suzuki waiting to happen.
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