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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review By Larry Nutson

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

A fellow auto writer recently said’, “In today’s market, the correct vehicle to buy is usually governed by personal taste and preference.”

And, an auto industry PR professional has said on a couple occasions, “ there are no bad cars today” when speaking about the industry in general and competitors to his brand.

With those thoughts in mind, many of us know that there are many non-drivers on the road who are driving a car not because they want to or because of some passion, but because they have to get from point A to point B. And there are cars out there that are not engaging and are non-driver cars. I put the Mitsubishi Mirage in that category.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)

The Mirage nameplate had been absent from the Mitsubishi product line since 2003. The all-new Mitsubishi Mirage 5-door sub-compact returned in late 2013 as a 2014 model with the claim as the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline-powered vehicle available in America with an EPA-rated fuel economy of 40 mpg combined city and highway.

That fuel economy leadership claim continues for 2015. Priced at a low starting MSRP of $12,995, its extreme fuel efficiency has helped the Mirage capture numerous awards. The Mirage was ranked #1 in "New Cars for Penny Pinchers". The Automotive Science Group named it "Best All-Around Performance" and "Best Environmental Performance" in the Mini-Compact Class and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy named it to the ACEEE's "Greenest Vehicles" list.

The front-wheel drive Mirage is offered in DE and ES trim levels with a choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a CVT. All 2015 Mirage models are powered by a 74-horsepower, 1.2-liter, double overhead cam, three-cylinder engine.

I spent a week driving a 2015 Mirage ES equipped with the CVT. Base price on this model is $15,395, and then add $810 for destination and handling charges.

The EPA test fuel economy combined rating is 40 mpg or 2.5 gallons per 100 miles. Think about that. That’s in the neighborhood of $7-$8-$9-$10, depending on where you live in the U.S., for a 100 mile trip. The EPA test fuel economy city rating is 37 mpg, while the highway test rating is 44 mpg. The 9.2 gallon fuel tank should get you around 350 miles or more.

Note that the 5-speed manual has lower EPA ratings by two or three miles per gallon.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)

In addition to low fuel consumption, other “big pluses” of the Mirage are a very short 148.8 inch overall length making for easy parking and maneuvering in a big city. Being a short car on a short wheelbase, the turning circle is small also making for easy maneuvering. And, the large rear hatch opens to 17.2 cubic feet of trunk space and that can be expanded to 47 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

On the down side, I’m not a fan of CVTs. In the Mirage acceleration from stop is very leisurely, due to low engine torque at low speed. With frequent stop signs and red lights in city driving, I found myself really needing to step deep into the throttle. Highway on ramp merging also takes a deep stab into the throttle with the engine winding at a constant 3000 rpm as the transmission does its “variable” thing. So even though I find the Mirage not engaging you have to stay engaged to get going with the rest of the traffic.

The manual transmission model is probably more engaging to drive, offers you some fun, but will require lots of gear shifting and clutch pedal action.

Engine sound is very noticeable, even causing my wife to ask if something abnormal was gong on. There is noticeable road and tire noise as well as wind noise around the doors. Keep the low price in mind!

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)

Overall the ride is firm yet not uncomfortable. The electric–assist power steering works well for parking and maneuvering however on the highway I would have liked more feedback and a little heavier feel.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)

If you are interested to compare the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage to other subcompacts you can do that right here on More information and detailed specifications on the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is just a mouse click away at The Mirage is not a “stripper”, and does have a nice list of standard and optional features that you would expect to find in a new car today. Keyless entry, push button start, Bluetooth, a Navigation system and park assist sensors all can be had.

I see the Mirage being shopped by folks not only looking for a new car but also possibly considering a lower-priced used car. However, note that the average retail price of a used vehicle in the United States this year is in the $17,000 range.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review (select to view enlarged photo)

City dwellers will like the Mirage for its small size and hatchback versatility. The Mirage also makes for a good commuter car, for example, to drive the few miles to the suburban railway station for a commute into your city workplace. And we shouldn’t overlook that many wealthy folks live below their means, so who knows. So far this year around 13,000 Mirages have been sold.

I’m not fond of the Mirage for long distance highway drives. Personally I like a bigger car than a subcompact, and the Mirage requires lots of planning to maintain smooth driving. I’m not quite sure how rested one might feel after 500 miles in a Mirage.

On a final note, the Mirage includes a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and its new-vehicle limited warranty is for 5-years/60,000 miles.

Larry Nutson