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    Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES


    • The Little Car That Can

    If you ever wanted to get a group of automotive writers angry and upset with you, just say or write the following words: I like the Mitsubishi Mirage. When I posted a picture of the vehicle and said those very words in a Facebook post, many automotive writers thought I had lost my mind. But I really did like it and began to wonder if I really had lost it or if everyone else missed the point of the Mirage. That’s what I decided to find out.

    Let's get something out of the way, the Mirage really doesn’t have any style. The best way I found to describe it is to imagine a kid making a car out of a tub of Play-Doh. What he or she will end up creating is something akin to the Mirage. That’s not to say Mitsubishi hasn’t tried its best to spruce up the Mirage’s looks. There is range of colors from bright green to purple to make the vehicle stand out, while the top of range ES model gets 14-inch alloy wheels. But you can only do so much to make a somewhat bland vehicle stand out.

    Inside, the Mirage is a mixed bag of what you expect in a cheap car and some surprises. The dashboard looks and feels decent with solid hard plastic and glossy black trim on the surround for the stereo and climate-control system. The door panels are another story as there isn’t very much padding for you to rest your arm and the plastic appears to be scratched by breathing on it.

    Seats are wrapped in a red-and-gray cloth that helps give the interior a bit of character. But the seats themselves do need some work. The front seats don’t have enough padding or support, which means don’t even try to attempt a long trip in this. The back seat has the same problems with support as the front, but head and legroom are decent.

    The big surprise with the Mirage’s interior is how much equipment you get. All models come with air conditioning, automatic climate control, power windows, and locks. This particular ES tester came fully stocked with keyless entry, push-button start, navigation, and backup camera. Keep in mind that this vehicle carries an as-tested price of $16,990. Impressive to say in the least.

    All Mirages come equipped with a 1.2L three-cylinder engine with 74 horsepower and 74 pound-feet torque. This can be paired up to either a five-speed manual or a CVT. While the power numbers seem minuscule, the Mirage doesn’t really need all of that power as it tips the scales at 2,051 pounds for my ES CVT tester. Around town, the Mirage does fine with leaving stop lights and keeping up with traffic. The freeway is another story as the little three-cylinder has to work its heart out to get you up to speed. Not helping matters is the engine noise as you're accelerating. I liken the noise to a lawnmower when you first start it up. On the plus side of the Mirage’s powertrain is the fuel economy. The EPA rates the Mirage equipped with the CVT at 37 City/44 Highway/40 Combined. In my week of driving in the Mirage, I got an average of 42 MPG.

    The Mirage is really mixed when it comes to driving. The suspension does a decent job of minimizing bumps and road imperfections. But out on curves, the Mirage feels like its going to tip. I kept thinking back to a line from an old television show where they were testing a 1971 Mercury Marquis and said this about the handling: “Through the pylon course, we asked ourselves questions like is it possible for a modern-day automobile to lean over far enough to fall off its springs? What would happen if it did?” The reason for this is the suspension is tuned for third-world countries. Mitsubishi decided to not to do any changes for US-Spec Mirage, a big mistake I feel. Steering has the feel of a stretching rubber band.

    As my week came to a close, I began to realize that I hadn’t lost my mind for liking the Mirage. Despite all of the problems and complaints I had about this car, I came away impressed. What Mitsubishi has done is built car that was built with the mindset of dirt-cheap driving. In this regard, Mitsubishi has succeeded. It might not be the best to drive, to look at, or to sit in for awhile. But if you want a vehicle with a low price tag and impressive fuel economy, then Mitsubishi has a vehicle for you.

    Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Mirage ES, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Mitsubishi

    Model: Mirage

    Trim: ES

    Engine: 1.2L MIVEC 12-valve DOHC three-cylinder

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT

    Horsepower @ RPM: 74 @ 6000

    Torque @ RPM: 74 @ 4000

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 37/44/40

    Curb Weight: 2,051 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Chonburi, Thailand

    Base Price: $15,195

    As Tested Price: $16,990 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Navigation Package - $900.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    User Feedback


    Remember that the big warranty comes with it too.

    This car allows freedom and access to drive for many who otherwise couldn't. It's easy to park in urban environments. The interior is not bad.

    Mits should improve the driving dynamics. More power, safer and better handling.

    Some think it's priced too high but usually there are big incentives on this car. And 59 dollar leases. I'd choose a spark over this but either way this is a good choice to have in the market and great mpg even in the city.

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    This is way better then the funky spark. better mpg, better warranty, oh and yea, the sparks burn through oil like they do gas. Go Mitsu 

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    This is way better then the funky spark. better mpg, better warranty, oh and yea, the sparks burn through oil like they do gas. Go Mitsu 

     

    What facts is your "educated" statement based on?

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      Powertrain:
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      Price:
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      Verdict:
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      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
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      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
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