Although it has been on sale in other markets -- including Canada -- for a year or so, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is a new addition to Mitsubishi's U.S. portfolio for the 2014 model year...
The Mirage nameplate has been absent from the North American market for nearly a decade, but when Mitsubishi recently elected to send its new subcompact four-door hatchback stateside, it revived the mothballed name. The Mirage, along with the 2014 Outlander, is one of the few all-new vehicles that Mitsubishi has up its sleeve in the near future. Derived from Mitsubishi's new Global Small Car architecture, the Mirage is essentially a clone of the Colt sold elsewhere around the globe. Although some markets also receive a sedan variant of the car, the 2014 Mirage is sold only as a four-door hatchback in our market. Base DE models, which start at $12,995, include power windows and locks, a split-folding rear seat, and an audio system complete with a USB/iPod input. For another $1200, the upgraded ES trim level lumps in fourteen-inch aluminum wheels, foglamps, passive keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. A DVD-based navigation system, bundled with a rearview camera, is optional on ES models.
Mitsubishi likes to call the 2014 Mirage the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid car sold in America. The company doesn't, however, like to note that the Mirage is also one of the smallest. At 148.8 inches long, the 2014 Mirage is nearly a foot shorter than a Ford Fiesta hatchback. Interestingly, when placed next to the Chevrolet Spark -- one of the Mirage's closest rivals in our market -- the Mitsubishi is actually an inch longer.
Arguably, the Spark has the Mirage beat on style points. Although flashy exterior and interior designs, along with a vibrant color palette, are de rigueur for subcompacts these days, the 2014 Mirage delivers only the latter. Its soft, doughy exterior isn't offensive, but its curt rear quarter panels and undersize grille instill an awkward look. Interior appointments aren't much more inspirational, either. On the plus side, that exterior has been purposefully sculpted to be quite aerodynamic; at 0.28 cD, the 2014 Mirage's coefficient of drag rivals that of the slippery 2014 Chevrolet Volt.
We've yet to drive the 2014 Mirage, but we're not expecting it to be all that quick. Power comes from a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, which produces as much as 74 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque, both delivered rather high in the rev band. Those figures are down 10 hp and 11 lb-ft from the Spark, but Mitsubishi claims that the Mirage has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Chevy.
We don't know how that affects performance, but it may help explain the car's outstanding EPA figures. When fitted with a five-speed manual, the front-wheel-drive 2014 Mirage is rated at 34 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Spend an extra $1000 for the continuously variable transmission (CVT), and those numbers jump to 37/44 mpg city/highway.
The 2014 Mirage doesn't dazzle or, for that matter, bring anything novel to the burgeoning super-small-car sector in North America. That said, for shoppers simply looking for practical transportation, stellar fuel economy, and a bargain-basement price tag, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage may be worth consideration.
- Chevrolet Spark
- Ford Fiesta
- Mazda 2
- Scion iQ