2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Review By Larry Nutson
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.
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 Cars.com "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.
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!
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.
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