This could have been something great. Last fall, Mitsubishi slapped its triple-diamond badge on a dainty little hatchback called Mirage, offering plenty of functionality and 44 miles per gallon on the highway, all starting at a super-low $12,995. For budget shoppers, this seemed to be a good thing – not to mention a much-needed breath of fresh air for the company's waning US automotive arm. I will fully admit to being a bit harsh on the Mirage following its debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show, often making it the butt of jokes with my colleagues. But at the end of the day, I love cheap, basic, honest little cars like this, and I wasn't prepared to write off the Mirage until I spent some time behind the wheel. After all, on paper, a Mazda2 looks pretty unremarkable, and yet it's one of my favorite small cars to drive. Much as I wasn't looking forward to putting my foot in my mouth, I was sort of hoping to feel the same way about the new Mirage. It's a bland package, but it could have been filled with the same spunky spirit and well-meaning composure of vehicles like the aforementioned Mazda, or even stuff like the Honda Fit or Chevy Spark and Sonic. It could have. And in this day and age, it should have. This Mitsu already looks mid-Nineties dated. Let's start with first impressions where, if I'm honest, the Mirage doesn't even look like a new-for-2014 model. There's this sort of charming, cartoon-like quality to the design of many modern subcompacts – look at the oversized features of a Spark, Fit or Fiesta to see what I mean. Their big eyes, tall glass area and seemingly oversized mirrors are often endearing – cute, really. But the Mirage just doesn't have it. I suppose it didn't help that my test car was painted in this gray-as-the-sky Starlight Silver, but even in flashier Kiwi Green or Plasma Purple, there's no escaping that this Mitsu already looks mid-Nineties dated. At 148.8 inches long, 65.6 inches wide and 59.1 inches tall, the Mirage is ever-so-slightly larger than the aforementioned Spark, yet it offers a wee bit less passenger volume than the taller Chevy. That means the Mirage is easy to drive and easy to park, with good visibility all around. Puny 14-inch wheels are placed at all four corners, wrapped in 165/65-series tires – if you want bigger duds, you'll have to look to the aftermarket. The 14-inch rollers are standard across the board, though ES models are fitted with the seven-spoke alloys you see here. Larger rolling stock might – might – help the Mirage's driving dynamics, but as I would come to learn, it's still pretty much a lost cause when it comes to driver involvement. Power comes courtesy of a 1.2-liter MIVEC inline three-cylinder engine delivering 74 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 74 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Considering the Mirage's curb weight of just 2,051 pounds …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||34 City / 42 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||74 @ 6000 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.