The Mitsubishi Mirage returns for the 2017 model year after a one year break. It has one of the lowest starting prices in the subcompact category, boasts great fuel efficiency and comes with a heck of a warranty. So it may be worth considering for very budget-minded buyers. It will probably not be the first choice, however, for those who can spend a bit more.
The five-passenger Mirage gets a new sedan body style for 2017 and gets updated styling and a slightly more powerful engine. It’s available as a hatchback or sedan. The hatch is available in ES, SE and GT trims; the sedan in ES and SE trims. Starting prices range from $12,995 to $16,995 for my tester.
The front-wheel-drive Mirage is powered by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard on most trims, and a continuously variable transmission is available. My tester has the CVT.
The Mirage is not very peppy off the line and basic maneuvers such as passing at freeway speeds can be challenging, particularly when traveling uphill. There’s also a noticeable amount of engine, wind and road noise. Once you reach cruising speed, handling is okay. Ride quality is actually decent; it’s not too bumpy over rough roads.
The Mirage has better fuel economy than most subcompacts. EPA mileage estimates for my tester are 35 mpg city and 42 mpg highway with a combined rating of 37. I got 35 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is nothing to write home about. There’s a lot of hard plastic and materials look rather cheap. Seats are cloth. The steering wheel doesn’t telescope so it can be tough to get it in the best position for the driver.
There’s a short list of standard features including a four-speaker audio system, CD player and USB port. Only a few options are available including proximity key, push button start, rear view camera, heated front seats, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Backseat passengers may feel cramped due to limited legroom, as you’d expect in such a small car.
On the plus side, at least controls are well laid out and easy to reach, and the upper trims have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy to integrate your smart phone.
The Mirage sedan has decent cargo space for such a small car: 12.3 cubic feet of storage in the trunk, and 17.2 cubes in the hatch with the rear seats in place and 47 cubes with them folded down. But the back seats don’t fold flat so it may be challenging to transport large and/or bulky items.
Safety ratings aren’t great. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2017 Mirage gets an overall rating of four out of five stars.
The Mirage has Mitsubishi’s five-year/60,000-mile new-vehicle warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. These are some of the best warranties around for the class.
One of the lowest starting prices for a compact car
Great gas mileage
One of the longest warranties in the class
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make for easy smart phone integration
Decent cargo space for the segment
The not so good:
Engine is loud and strains when pressed
Interior materials look cheap
Few available safety features
Lower crash ratings than many competitors
Relatively low reliability score of 2.5 from J.D. Power and Associates
The cheap starting price is the best thing going for the Mirage. If you want a new car and can’t afford to spend more than 13- or 14-grand, you’ll want to consider the Mirage. But if you can spend a bit more, you’ll probably be better off with another vehicle that will offer better performance and a nicer interior.
My tester starts at $16,995. Destination fee is $835 bringing the grand total to $17,830.