2014 Mitsubishi Mirage: Up Close

MitsubishiMirage

We reported in 2012 that Mitsubishi was undecided on bringing its global Mirage hatchback to the U.S. Well, the Mirage has finally materialized. Pricing is still pending, but Yoichi Yokozawa, president of the automaker's U.S. arm, told reporters Mitsubishi will price the tiny Mirage to compete with the Chevrolet Spark, which starts at $12,995 including destination.

More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

A chrome package gussied up the car on display at the New York International Auto Show, but there's little else to describe. The formless bumper leads into equally bland styling around the sides and back. Inside, the front seats have decent adjustment range, but the Mirage's optional knob-style seat height adjuster moves only the bottom cushion, not the whole seat. Crank yours up and the backrest lumbar meets your spine at a lower point. It's not comfortable.

Mitsuseats

Backseat legroom is snug but manageable, thanks to cushy front seatbacks. I like that Mitsubishi anchored the center seat belt in the seatback — it leaves the view straight back unobstructed — but the Spark's head restraints tuck into their seats. The Mirage's head restraints stick up, encroaching on part of the view. The automaker didn't furnish cargo specs, but the area looks to be as small as the Spark's. Still, the backseat folds simply; the Spark has a multistep process that's more annoying than hearing everyone and their mother obsess over "Downton Abbey."

Mitsuscreen

Standard features read impressively, with automatic climate control, power windows and keyless entry included on the base DE. Mitsubishi plans to offer four out-of-the-box colors beyond the standard black, white and silver. The Spark has odd hues of green and pink that certainly make it stand out.

Like the Spark, the Mirage has rudimentary cabin quality. The elbow cutouts along the doors have no padding whatsoever — a provision the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic and other mass-market subcompacts provide — and a center armrest, map lights and a passenger-side visor mirror are MIA. The glove compartment door thuds open; the doors slam with a tinny echo. You get the idea.

Mitsuhatch

But who cares? Mitsubishi expects EPA gas mileage of 40 mpg combined city/highway on the CVT-equipped car, significantly outpacing subcompact rivals by 5 mpg combined or more. That's no mirage. Mitsubishi announced plans in February to double its marketing efforts, and it will need to. A barrage of car ads have convinced many consumers that 40-mpg compacts are the new normal; read the fine print and that's just the highway EPA mileage — and many cars need special fuel-economy packages to get there. Mitsubishi deserves credit here.

Comments 

There may be a lot of haters on this car, but I get it.

It is a refreshingly simple A-to-B car, much in the same vein as the Geo Metros and Daihatsu Charades of the past- small engine, size, built ruggedly, and terrific fuel mileage.

Sure it looks bland and already looks dated, but it doesn't look overdone like the Spark, and doesn't seem gimmicky like the 500.

After renting a Mazda2 Sport a few months ago- it starts at $15k and was even more decontented and was loud, cramped, uncomfortable and didn't get great fuel economy- it was way overpriced for all the compromises.

The Smart is the same price range as this Mirage, but only seats two and gets less fuel economy (and dares asks for premium gas!). The Spark has some potential, but let's not forget it's a Daewoo product and still doesn't reach 40mpg.

If the pricing is competitive with the Spark and starts at around $12k, there may a chance it'll succeed, especially with Mitsu's 10yr/100k mile warranty. It'll fill in the gap the Accent used to fill for people seeking cheap price and the reassurance of a long warranty before that car became more upscale and pricier.

Folks like my fiance would be a perfect candidate for this car- currently driving an Aveo, he doesn't care about style or performance- and just wants the cheapest, most efficient car that will be reliable. I think it's a breath of fresh air to have a simple car out there that doesn't try to be something it's not. There will be a following for this car if Mitsu invests in the marketing

Joe Joe

1. I will be surprised to see a true 40 average mpg rating given this car by the EPA -- we shall see
2. It has got to be painfully (dangerously) slow and noisey between the 3 cyl. eng and CVT
3. It'll need a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty to truly compete with the Spark.

AladdinSane

Ryan, I agree wholeheartedly with what you posted concerning this small Mitsubishi. I'm amazed at all the haters this small machine has amassed in AutoBlog, for example. This Mirage may be quite a competitor to the Spark, Smart, etc, if Mitsu gives it the proper media push it will need to become somewhat of a success to the beleaguered automaker. I could/would check this vehicle out to own for myself if it would be available with a sunroof. It gets so tired reading negative reactions to the Mirage even BEFORE it's sold here!
Peace...
AladdinDane :-)

AladdinSane

Typo: AladdinSane ...

Thanks for the backup Aladdin.

I saw a lot of hate for this car on the same forum as you did on Autoblog.

There's no denying it's not a sports car, and isn't exciting, and it personally isn't for me either. And it does look generic and the interior appears drab.

But it's a (potentially) $12k car that will have standard automatic climate control, power windows and remote keyless, a new car smell, 40MPG combined, and, hopefully, the 10yr/100k powertrain warranty for people with little cash and don't care about performance numbers or style. And it seems to be a better all-around package than the Smart, and the pricier Scion iQ

Not every car can be fast, powerful, or breath taking, especially at this price point. Like Aladdin said, I hope Mitsubishi really pushes and promotes this car to give it a chance

The s

I like it. I plan to buy one when it first comes out. My Montero sport has over 300K miles.

gaius gracchus

Who cares how it looks?

I think it is a nice looking car, but even so, WHO CARES?

What matters is:
Safety
Fuel Economy
Comfort

Period.

Edna Burns

We bought one a few weeks ago and we just took a trip...we are finding the seats very uncomfortable...back support seems out if propotion... headrest are not comfortable. Anyone else feel this way??? Got any suggedtion We only got 39 mpg also..

Volume Van

Its the new mileage leader among non-hybrids.

Soon we will have 50 MPG cars in non-hybrid category as well.

Amanda

I just bought one. I live in Phoenix and commute 60 miles a day. If it is just me in the car I can usually average 45-49 mpg. If my son and boyfriend are in it with me we average about 35-39. I love it!! Saves me so much money. I love to speed so it was hard to downsize in all areas on this car but with 100K/10year warranty and such great mpgs....I FREAKING love it.

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