Named after the company’s small car from the 1990s, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback is one of the least expensive new cars on the market. Powered by a 1.2-liter three cylinder engine mated with either a 5-speed manual or a CVT, it returns excellent gas mileage. The Mirage is also quite roomy, with up to 47 cubic feet of cargo space. That said, it never lets you forget that it is one of the cheapest new cars.
As with many of the recent generation of subcompacts, the Mirage’s styling will win the hearts of some and leave others scratching their heads. With its bulbous headlights, bubbly shape and smile-grille, it reminds one test driver of the cartoon cars in a ’90s auto insurance commercial.
The 2014 Mirage’s interior is clean-looking and functional, though its design lacks the humor of the car’s exterior. Switches and buttons are where you expect them to be, and the features list of our Kiwi Green ES model test car was actually pretty long. It shipped with automatic climate control, a bluetooth-capable stereo with USB and Aux inputs, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an engine start/stop button. (On the left of the steering wheel. Just like a Porsche!) Our car’s options list was also comprehensive. It included… a full tank of gas- a feature that apparently doesn’t come standard at the Mirage’s price point.
While the three-cylinder engine is fine for city traffic and light suburban drives, its 74 thoroughbreds have to work hard to get the Mirage up to highway speeds. While it can’t quite match the blistering performance of the 113-horsepower, 4-cylinder Mirage of 20 years ago, the current model does get more miles per gallon- it’s rated at 37 city/ 44 highway, as opposed to the 1994 model’s 28/35. Overall, the 2014 Mirage is a roomy and practical hatchback, at a very attractive price- at least for a new car. The biggest argument against a new Mirage will probably be the fact that used cars exist.
However, if you really have to have new car smell, room for five, and bluetooth, for the price of a mid-2000s Honda Civic, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is hard to beat. Unless, of course, you can find a mid-2000s Honda Civic, an air-freshener and an aftermarket stereo.