I bought the 2015 Mirage in Oct and I do not regret it. Before buying it, reviewers, including Edmund really put the car down. I feel most of them were unfair with the reviews. This car is no louder, rougher, or less quality built compared to other subcompacts cars out there and I drove quite a bit before deciding on the Mirage. Yes it is a little loud when revving, yes it can be bumpy on a bad road, yes it is small and compact but at $13,000 base, it's loaded enough and fun! I got it for a better price with some effort. Think of it as a Modern Geo Metro, better built!
I LOVE this car. I have had it for ten months and have put nearly 25k miles on it, so I now feel as though I am in a position to comment on it here.
I bought the Mirage mostly for the same reason people bought VW Beetles back in the '60s or Chevy Chevettes in the '70s. Not for performance or handling, not for comfort or style. But for economy. The comparison of the Mirage to the original Beetle or the Chevette is not an unwarranted one. Adjusted for inflation, the Mirage, the Beetle, and the Chevette cost about the same amount. In 1970, the Bug was about $2000; in 1976 the Chevette was near $2,800...both of which would be right around $12,000 today. Though I don't think the VW or the Chevy came with automatic climate control and power windows as standard equipment...in fact, they weren't even OPTIONS!
The average transaction amount for a new car nowadays is somewhere north of $30,000, so if a person is spending less than half of that they can expect to leave a few things "on the table". This is not a fault with the car, but rather just COMMON SENSE! Is the car a bit noisy? Yes. Does it handle well? Not really. Does it accelerate like a rocketship? Nope. Many other reviewers lament these facts (unfairly), but the Mirage simply isn't designed for any of that. Though the one thing it IS designed for it does very well. It is cheap to buy, cheap to insure, and VERY, VERY cheap to run. Most critics of the Mirage simply expect too much for the car's incredibly low price point.
My 5-speed ES model was a shade over $14,000. Could I have bought a 37k-mile 2011 Corolla with that money? Sure. But I wanted a new car with a warranty and without a previous owner's cigarette burns and dog smell on the seats. And I didn't want the Corolla's 30-ish mpg, either. Over the 25k miles I have driven, I have averaged about 48 mpg...that is not an exaggeration! Driven correctly, these cars are almost unbelievably thrifty. Creature comforts are in line with a 21st century car...even an economy car. Fog lights, passive "F.A.S.T. key" ignition, nice stereo, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, automatic climate control, power everything, etc, etc. I have had ZERO problems with the Mirage, and all it has needed is oil changes.
Not everyone wants or needs the classic "A-to-B" car anymore, and there are those among us who feel that we, as a species, should have evolved well beyond such humble cars by now. But for those of us that DO still just want to get there without having a $500-a-month car payment, I really can't recommend the Mirage highly enough. As an economy car in a bad economy, it truly has no equal.
***Original poster here. Just an update on the Mirage. It has been outstanding! The car has needed nothing but oil changes, a set of front brake pads, and a set of tires over the 35,000 miles I have driven it. Still averaging around 48 mpg.***
***Original poster again. Another update on my 2015 Mirage, which I have now owned for almost two years. I just rolled over 50,000 miles, and the car is as solid and trouble-free as the day I bought it. No repairs of any kind have been needed, just oil changes. Still averaging right around 48 mpg. Would I buy it again? YOU BET!***
I did my research...oh did I do my research on this car. I am truly grateful for all those owners that posted their honest opinions, likes and dislikes which were more informative than the jaded opinions of the professional reviewers. I am of the generation that wished for a simpler, inexpensive car that got great gas mileage with roll down windows (less to break down unless you had my new Chevy Monte Carlo at the time which got lousy gas mileage and on which everything broke). If I could have fit this car into that one Corvair body year I liked it would have been perfect. I absolutely love this car.
I've seen Consumer Reports trashing this car (more than once). I'd like to think I have reasonable expectations when buying a new car (I've have over 10 in the last 45 years during that time driving about 40,000 miles per year) knowing what are the plusses and minuses of each so I don't know if I can be accused as having low expectations and/or if Consumer Reports has some sort of issue with their own evaluations of vehicles. It's almost as if they're being prissy about it as if they're being put-upon by having to explain to us lesser mortals what should be obvious to everyone. Well, it may be obvious to them, but not to me. If I want something that is a definitive sports car I'll get a Corvette; if I want something that defines luxury maybe one of those in the class of a Lexus, top-end Hyundai, etc. I wanted something this time as an economical alternative to the wife's very nice SUV as a practical matter. For 14 thousand, contrary to Consumer Reports, the car handles well-enough, has enough power if you drive it intelligently on the road (I used to own the original Volkswagen normally aspirated diesel which taught you to be aware of your driving conditions and to think ahead), the CVT works well with the non-hybrid 3 cylinder without the heavy added costs and complexity of a hybrid, has proximity sensors and a decent radio with mapping and Bluetooth. Of all things, the fit and finish is better on this car than ALL of my previous new ones-and cripes, it's made in Thailand. But then I did take the time on the lot to look for the one that looked the best to me in terms of fit and finish and took it for a test drive. Yes, it doesn't have a center console but with the space savings I found I didn't need it. Yes, it doesn't have Corinthian leather, but it saves me attempting to patch it when the dog attempts to claw it to death. Yes, it doesn't like potholes and bumps. But on a decent road it rides as well as the wife's SUV. Yes, it leans on turns and I would have preferred to have a sway bar, but not dangerously so unless you are stupid enough to try to drive it like a sports car. Yes, it has 14 inch tires and I would have preferred 15 inches. But it actually drives pretty good in the snow. Yes, because the car is so light it doesn't like strong crosswinds and the CVT intrudes in the cockpit. So what? I'll take that for 50 mpg with the air off. And it has "gasp" a spare tire unlike the low end Hyundai and the newer model version of my previous Optima. You get a can of useless flat tire repair for that. But to my immense irritation, it didn't have hooks to hang laundry like on my last car. After grousing about that to the wife for about a week I ordered a hanger from Amazon that attaches to the back of the front passenger seat. All is good.
Update request by Edmunds: Car itself has been perfect....except the steering wheel has discolored...maybe my sweat is corrosive...the CVT has been properly matched with the engine and is very smooth...for a 3 cylinder noise and vibration is better than most of the 4 cylinders from other cars in that class...and I test drove most of them...doors have stayed aligned unlike previous cars and there are absolutely no creaks or rattles...I have never had that with any other car and there are some really bad roads in NJ...I hate the standard Dunlops...they do not hold air well...they are ok in the snow and for handling but once they wear out I will replace them...It's not just these Dunlops...the Dunlops that I have had on other cars with different sizes that came standard I have had problems with also so it seems to me there is a quality control issue...either they didn't hold air or blew out from small potholes...it will either be Michelins or some other manufacturer when replaced...I still can't understand Consumer Reports and other "professional" reviewers trashing this car...one of the few objective evaluations I have seen of this car came from MotorWeek...and from individual assessments from actual owners found on the 'net...I do like the ground clearance the car has consider it is a small car which works well in snow unlike a earlier Honda I had that acted like a snow plow...
This is the best car for the price I have owned other than the original normally aspirated Volkswagen Rabbit diesel. My priority was mpg and I'm getting about 54 for this 2014 leftover. The build on this car is tight with all seams aligned. The CVT is not dangerously slow. You just have to think a little ahead in certain circumstances as I did with my Volkswagen. The ride is as good as the 2011 Optima I traded in. This is a very light car so there is some wind buffeting but I'll take that considering the mpg. Comfortable seating. No harsh vibration from the engine at idle. At least on my car, the engine is smooth and the noise level is only intrusive at hard acceleration. Good radio.
I read plenty of relatively poor reviews by the official car rating companies, as well as relatively positive rating by consumers before deciding to buy my Mitsubishi. I decided to trust the consumers and I am very glad I did. I love my car, and I am very happy I bought it. I knew going in that it is not a luxury car nor will I win many interstate races with it. I have a 60 mile / day commute to work so I bought it for that reason. I have been incredibly impressed with the gas mileage, I am always getting 45 miles / gallon and much of that is over dirt roads and back road driving. I live in Vermont and I have had no major issues with driving the car in the weather. It isn't great in the snow but it isn't that bad either. As far as the poor acceleration, I disagree, I have had plenty of power and acceleration for the type of driving I do. I don't slow down on the hills etc. I am impressed with the 3 cylinder engine. It is a little noisy as your driving it, but I am usually listening to music anyway, so I don't notice it. By the way, very nice stereo system. If you are looking for an inexpensive car with incredible gas mileage and I think plenty of power despite the small engine, I highly recommend this car.