Rival for cars like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic, the new Mirage claims impressively high fuel economy figures and high equipment levels, set to make it a tempting option in the subcompact class.
Unfortunately the Mirage isn't as interesting to look at as many rivals, riding high on small wheels with a slightly subdued, apologetic look at odds with its efficient engine.
That engine is a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine with Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC), the company's variable valve timing system. It develops a modest 74 horsepower and 74 pounds-feet of torque, and offers the option of either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously-variable transmission.
With the latter, the Mirage rises right to the top of the subcompact efficiency charts. Estimated fuel economy for the Mirage CVT is 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined--higher than any subcompact save the Toyota Prius C hybrid.
That economy does come at the expense of some refinement and on-paper performance, as we found during our first drive of a manual Mirage in European specification. The European car has a quoted 0-62 mph time of 11.7 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph, though these figures are aided by the car's light weight (1,863 pounds in Euro spec) and 0.28 drag coefficient.
The Mirage felt better on the road than its figures suggested, but the characterful three-cylinder engine wasn't the quietest we've driven, at least during acceleration. Road and wind noise were also significant.
It's unclear how different the U.S. model will be, but American buyers do get high levels of equipment as well as that class-leading economy--so buyers swayed more by low running costs than high performance may still find plenty to like.
High equipment levels
Standard kit from DE trim onwards includes 7 airbags, a four-speaker sound system with USB input, a 60/40 split rear seat, a rear spoiler, automatic climate control, keyless entry, electric power steering and power windows. A host of safety equipment joins it, including ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, and on CVT models, brake assist and hill-start assist.
Higher-spec ES models add 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, a leather steering wheel, a starter button, Bluetooth and wheel-mounted audio controls. Options include navigation, a rear-view camera, parking assistant and LED interior illumination.
All Mirages also get a 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, 5-year or 60,000-mile vehicle warranty and 5-years, unlimited mileage roadside assistance.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage will arrive in dealers late in the fall. Full pricing and specification information will be revealed closer to the car's release.
Keep an eye on our full New York Auto Show page for more news, live images and details from the show.