2014 Mitsubishi Mirage First Drive

Mitsubishi's Minicar for the New World Order


  • 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage - Action Front 3/4 - 4

    2014 Mitsubishi Mirage - Action Front 3/4 - 4

    At 148.8 inches long, the Mitsubishi Mirage is slightly bigger than the Chevy Spark, yet smaller than the Ford Fiesta. | April 11, 2013

25 Photos

Mitsubishi dealers must be hoping that the 2014 Mirage is anything but an optical illusion. The company's first mainstream launch since the Outlander Sport of 2011 is a minicar built in Thailand for the global market. Its most obvious rival is the Chevrolet Spark, but Mitsubishi's hoping the Mirage's versatility will also help it pinch sales from subcompacts such as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage made its U.S. debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show and will reach showrooms this fall, but it recently went on sale in Europe, and Edmunds secured an exclusive first drive of the car in the U.K. Although this was a U.K.-specification model, it differs little from those destined to cross the Atlantic.

The Pitch
Mitsubishi makes little secret of the Mirage's intent. This is not a fashion-focused alternative for trendy urbanites; it's sensible transport for those who want a minimum of fuss. Even the promotional materials (documents never known to undersell a car) describe it as "a rational, no-nonsense product."

The reason for this can be traced back to the car's origins. While Mitsubishi's last subcompact, the Colt (which wasn't sold in the U.S.) was built in Europe as a joint venture with Smart, the Mirage is Mitsubishi's own and is built in Thailand. It's a global car that's as important to the developing world as it is to the West. The European and U.S. versions feature a significantly upgraded specification, but at its heart, this is a car focusing on simplicity and value.

This is reflected in its size. At 148.8 inches long, it's longer than a 2013 Chevy Spark (144.7 inches) but significantly shorter than a genuine subcompact such as the 2013 Ford Fiesta hatch (160.1 inches). The wheelbase, though, is only 1.5 inches shorter than a Fiesta's at 96.5 inches and a full 3 inches longer than the Spark's, which has a significant impact on interior space.

Outside in
The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage's styling is unlikely to win any design contests. It has been plucked from the drawer marked "generic subcompact," and while the U.S. showcar in New York featured some additional chrome detailing, this is little more than a token gesture. The Mitsubishi is singularly inoffensive, but it lacks the funky appeal of the Spark or the sophistication of the Fiesta. Maybe that's why Mitsubishi is seeing fit to offer it with an eccentric color palette that includes bright green and violet.

Inside, too, the simple fascia and symphony of gray plastic are unlikely to provoke feelings of wanton lust. The egg-shape fascia could have featured in any subcompact of the past decade. It feels well built, though, and while the plastics aren't up to Volkswagen or even Fiesta standards, they're a match for the Chevy.

This Mitsubishi will also be well equipped. The standard specification will include a 60/40-split rear seat, seven airbags, Active Stability Control (ASC), electric windows, automatic climate control and a four-speaker sound system with iPod/USB connectivity. Options will include a satellite navigation system with a reversing camera, parking sensors and an interior LED lighting package.

The cabin might not be the most stylish, but it is practical. Although the front and rear seats are notably flat, this is a minicar in which four 6-foot adults can travel in something approaching comfort. Indeed, in terms of passenger space, there's little difference between the Mirage and a Fiesta.

There's also a surprising amount of cargo space. With the seats up, its 17.2 cubic feet of space is larger than both the Spark (11.4 cubic feet) and the Fiesta (15.4).

The Driving Experience
In Europe, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is offered with a choice of two three-cylinder, 12-valve engines, a 1.0- or a 1.2-liter, but only the latter will be offered in the U.S. It produces 74 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 74 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm and will be available with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Not surprisingly, it's not what you'd call rapid when it comes to acceleration. Mitsubishi U.K. claims zero to 62 mph in 11.7 seconds for the manual and 12.8 seconds for the CVT, with a top speed of 112 mph (107 mph for the CVT). Modest figures for sure, but the Mirage goes about its business with plenty of spirit. The three-cylinder engine has a throaty, engaging hum and the manual gearbox has a positive action and slips merrily from cog to cog.

In urban centers at least, it has little trouble going with the flow. The turning circle is just 30.2 feet, the electrically powered steering is finger light and the softly sprung suspension copes admirably with London's potholes, which challenge Manhattan's for their scale and quantity.

On the highway, though, the Mirage is less convincing. The ride that felt compliant in town now fidgets awkwardly, making the car a tiring companion. Body roll is more pronounced than you might expect and the lifeless steering doesn't help either. It's a shame, because it compromises the Mirage's appeal as a versatile, budget-conscious all-rounder.

The Economic Factor
Mitsubishi expects the Mirage's running costs to be among the lowest on the road. Indeed, it is claiming that the CVT-equipped car will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline vehicle available in the U.S. Although official EPA ratings are yet to be announced, Mitsubishi is expecting to achieve ratings of 37 city/44 highway and 40 mpg combined. This compares with 28/37/32 numbers for an automatic Chevy Spark.

To achieve the impressive statistics, Mitsubishi worked hard at optimizing the Mirage's aerodynamics (the drag coefficient is 0.27) and reducing its overall mass. It weighs just 1,863 pounds versus the Spark's base curb weight of 2,337 pounds.

Expect to see an equally low price when the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage goes on sale later this year. It will need all the help it can get as it faces competitors that leave it in the dust in terms of performance and overall refinement. But as we said, Mitsubishi knows this isn't a flashy hatchback, so there are no false pretenses here. This is an inexpensive car that will deliver outstanding mileage. If you want more than that, look elsewhere.

Year Make Model: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Base 4dr Hatchback
Vehicle type: FWD 4dr 5-passenger 4dr Hatchback
Configuration: Transverse, front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected inline-3, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,193
Valvetrain: Double overhead camshaft
Compression ratio (x:1): 10.5
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 74 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 74 @ 4,000 rpm
Fuel type: Regular unleaded
Transmission type: Five-speed manual
Steering type: Electric power steering
0-60 mph, mfr. claim (sec.): 11.7 (0-62 mph)
Fuel economy, mfr. est. (mpg): 37 city/44 highway/40 combined
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.): 1,863
Length (in.): 148.8
Width (in.): 65.6
Height (in.): 59.1
Wheelbase (in.): 96.5
Turning circle (ft.): 30.2
Seating capacity: 5
Behind 2nd row (cu-ft): 17.2

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Comments

  • seathl1 seathl1 Posts:

    Correct me if I am wrong. But if this car is built in Thailand, why would it cross the Atlantic like the review states? Wouldn't it not cross the Pacific?

  • zoomzoomn zoomzoomn Posts:

    So diasappointing what Mitsubishi has become. Used to have some well styled and fun to drive cars, but now... :(

  • jeffinoh jeffinoh Posts:

    I thought it was a little dull on first sight. Thankfully more plain than the Spark. But the mileage is impressive. And I really like the plain interior. It is dull, tho. Apparently this is a CAFE car.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Mitsubishi's only hope of selling this really boring and unattractive little car in the US is for it to be really really REALLY cheap. Like original Excel level cheap (but in 2013 dollars). A fully loaded, CVT equipped version better top out at $16k or less (undercutting the more powerful Spark by about a grand) or the car has no hope of selling more than a few thousand units a year.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @bankerdanny: I agree about the price, base models need to get close of the ten thousand dollar mark. Also, the city mpg are great which is to be expected given the curb weight and power, but is anyone else disapointed from 44mpg highway? I was expecting

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    1. Bad omen-- the Mirage has the same green color that was used in the Mazda2 when it first came out, and the 2 didn't sell then and doesn't now. Good luck Mitsu. 2. 16K tops? Who in their right mind would pay this much for such a (vehicle?)? 3. At some point there will be "cars" that are not hybrids or EVs, but will get 50+ mpg. Those "cars" are called scooters. The Mirage is almost there.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I thought in this day and age that we were past penalty boxes. I'm not sure this is the car that Mitsu needs to survive. maybe if this came out a decade ago with these specs.

  • mirageforum mirageforum Posts:

    Re: drag coefficient and curb weight... The figures given here are for the most efficient U.K. spec car. But Mitsu said the U.S. version has a slightly higher 0.28 coefficient of drag (though we don't know what accounts for the difference). They didn't mention curb weight at the New York debut of the US Mirage, but it's likely higher than the UK spec car, since the U.S. car gains an additional airbag and larger rear bumper.

  • mirageforum mirageforum Posts:

    @Bankerdanny: remember, power is only half of the equation -- the other half is weight, and the Spark is a real porker for its size. Guess which car has the better power:weight ratio? (Regardless, it's kind of silly comparing those stats in this segment

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    What an ugly little turd. It's supposed to undercut the Spark? I drove a Spark overseas two years ago and it was thoroughly unimpressive-- aside from the fact that it a) didn't fall apart and b) could get up to 60 mph at all, though it took what seemed like 30 seconds. I have already told everyone who's interested in a car NOT to buy the Spark, so this seems to be a no-brainer. My advice: spend a bit more and get a much nicer car new. Or spend the same and get a nicer car, used.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Rad. Actually, I think it would be great for drivers if Mitsu could make money on this, then bring other interesting cars to market.

  • based on HP, weight and MPG we've got the successor to the CRX here... :P

  • jvoelcker jvoelcker Posts:

    To Alastair and the Edmunds folks: I'm not sure that "exclusive first drive in the U.K." is entirely accurate. Green Car Reports attended the same U.K. drive event as your reporter, but posted their first drive report on March 21: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1083065_2014-mitsubishi-mirage-brief-drive-of-ny-auto-show-debut

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    You guys MUST get one of these for your LT fleet.

  • treeweezel treeweezel Posts:

    The one saving grace, besides MPG, is the low low curb weight. This has the potential to be a great driver, a return of the 90's Civic. It's possible but I sure wouldn't bet anything on it. Has this already been released years ago overseas like Spark/Fiesta/2?

  • mirageforum mirageforum Posts:

    @treeweezel: probably a safe bet. It's been out for just over a year in some southeast Asian countries. Many reports describe it as quite softly sprung (so the ride is smooth for a small, light car), and the electric power steering is said to be *very*

  • aladdinsane aladdinsane Posts:

    I wish this little critter came with a sunroof option...that would make it complete, speaking for myself...I'd definitely check this out upon its debut later thjis year! Peace! AladdinSane BTW: I know that haters will post negative things to say concerning this Mitsu, but then again haters make mush noise concerning almost anything and everything.

  • aladdinsane aladdinsane Posts:

    BTW: I'd go with the Violet exterior color...for sure! Peace.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT

Featured Video

ADVERTISEMENT

Marketplace

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific