The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage turned more heads than any other car we?ve driven recently. It wasn?t the stunning good looks, the powerful sounding exhaust note, or even the AM/FM blaring tunes from unknown stations?it was the color.
If you?ve ever seen a Plasma Purple (better described as bright fuchsia) five-door hatchback Mitsubishi Mirage, you?ll understand what we are saying.
Now that we got the color out of the way, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage turned out to be an interesting car especially on two counts. The fuel economy was outstanding and it?s the lowest price car we?ve driven in ages. Our test car was the top of the line 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES Hatchback with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and was priced at only $15,990, including the destination charge.
The Mitsubishi Mirage pricing starts at $13,895 for the DE model with the five-speed manual transmission. The CVT adds $1,100. Other than colors, the only option, on the ES is the Navigation and rear-view camera system which adds $900. The navigation is not available on the DE model.
We?d like to think the great fuel economy came from our efforts, but Bill was driving most of the time, and he usually gets lower numbers than Barbara. Rather, the Mirage is powered by a 74-hp, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and it weighs under 2,000 pounds. The EPA rates the Mirage with CVT at 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined. After a week of mixed driving we averaged 46.4 mpg in the Mirage ? these are numbers we?d expect from a hybrid or diesel. Across the board, the CVT gets two to three miles per gallon better fuel economy than a Mirage with the standard five-speed manual transmission.
Using hypermiling tricks in a competition earlier this year in California, a friend of our from the Los Angeles area recorded 74.1 MPG over a 275-mile drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles — his car was Kiwi Green.
The Mirage is a cute little car designed to seat five people, but it?s more comfortable with four. Cargo space was surprisingly generous holding 17.2 cubic feet with the rear seat back in place. When the rear seatback is folded the cargo space expands to 47.0 cubic feet.
The interior design is simple and clean. The seats are more upright than those where your legs are stretched out in front of you. For the price, it?s well-equipped with features like automatic climate control, 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, USB auxiliary input, Bluetooth phone link, fast-key entry system, one-touch start/stop, power windows and tilt wheel. The leather-wrapped steering wheel on the ES model houses the cruise control buttons and redundant audio controls for easier access.
At highway speeds the Mitsubishi Mirage runs along nicely as long as you don?t have to make any quick passes or climb steep hills. A 0 to 60 mph acceleration run takes about 10.9 seconds. It?s smooth at speed, but does suffer from a fairly high level of road noise. Around town and in traffic, the three-cylinder engine tends to be a little rough, lacking the balance of a typical four-cylinder engine.
The electric-assist steering is light and agile with one of the tightest turning diameters we?ve seen ? 32.1 feet. The ride is comfortable, but there?s a definite lean on corners. The brakes tend to be a little soft.
The Mirage has a good selection of standard safety features and technologies including seven airbags (including a driver?s knee airbag) and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist. It also has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Active Stability Control with Traction Control Logic plus Hill Start Assist for CVT models.
Mitsubishi includes an excellent warranty on the Mirage which includes a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle basic limited warranty, 5-year/unlimited miles roadside assistance and 7-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion limited warranty.
The Mitsubishi Mirage is a perfect as commuter car, for running around town or for a young driver or student. Recreational vehicle owners might want to consider the manual transmission model to tow behind as a dingy. It wouldn?t be our choice for a road trip, but the fuel economy and prices certainly make it a great value.
To see more about the Mitsubishi Mirage go online to http://www.mitsubishicars.com/.