2014 Ford Fiesta Vs. Mitsubishi Mirage: Which Will Have Highest Gas Mileage?

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2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

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Hybrid and diesel might be winning the gas mileage wars, but gasoline is stepping up its game.

We'll shortly see the debut of two new gasoline-powered models that offer the highest non-hybrid gasoline-fueled gas mileage on the market--the 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost, and the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage.

Both go about achieving that claim in slightly different ways, but there are similarities too.

Each has three cylinders, for a start. Dropping a cylinder from the usual four is a popular way of improving gas mileage in a small capacity engine, by reducing internal friction compared to an equivalent four-cylinder.

We've not seen many other threes on the market before. The highest-profile are the current Smart Fortwo, and the old Geo Metro.

The Fiesta and Mirage make the concept more appealing though, with modern standards of safety and equipment. But there the cars start to diverge.

Ford's Fiesta Ecoboost goes about its business with a 1.0-liter, turbocharged engine. For a 1.0 its power output is quite healthy as a result--123 horsepower. It's enough to pull the relatively lightweight Fiesta along at a decent pace, and the engine is also surprisingly refined.

Refinement isn't one of the Mirage's greatest qualities, as we found when testing a European-spec version in the UK.

Its naturally-aspirated 1.2-liter unit isn't overly powerful, unable to break the 80-hp mark, but with a low curb weight and slick aerodynamics it'll still get up to speed if you work it hard enough.

It doesn't handle as nicely as the Fiesta either, though few small cars do--Ford has nailed the fun factor in its smallest offering. With light controls and a spacious cabin the Japanese car might appeal to the more practical-minded driver, though.

2014 Ford Fiesta 5-door hatchback

2014 Ford Fiesta 5-door hatchback

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The Ford's great unknown is fuel efficiency. The company is claiming best-on-the-market gas mileage, but Mitsubishi's figures of 37 mpg city, 44 highway and 40 combined, the CVT-equipped Mirage has already staked a claim to that title. The manual transmission version should be pretty frugal too.

Unless Ford has forgotten about the Mitsubishi, that could mean combined gas mileage of 40 mpg or more, and impressive highway numbers too.

Which do you think will win, and which car will really appeal to eco-conscious drivers? Leave your thoughts below.


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Comments (12)
  1. The 37 MPG city on the Mirage is very impressive.

  2. Antony, we pondered the same question on MirageForum just last month: http://mirageforum.com/forum/showthread.php/262

    The Fiesta 1.0 will no doubt be more refined, more fun to drive ... and quite a bit more expensive. And that turbo power means real world economy will likely suffer more in the hands of the average driver.

    The Mirage is significantly smaller & lighter, at ~2000 lbs, vs. 2537 lbs for the U.S. spec Fiesta hatch (1.6L 5MT). So the Fiesta's city rating won't come close.

    As you point out, Mirage also wins in the aero department. Both Cd (.28) and A are better (unless Ford somehow reduces Fiesta's reported 0.328 Cd for the 1.0L car).

    The safe bet is on Mirage for better fuel economy and Fiesta for more fun.

  3. Mitsu sorely needs a winner. Their fleet is aging and gas mileage is relatively 20th Century. Cars are languishing on the lots. How about a cutting edge diesel plug-in hybrid like the Voltec drivetrain that gets 200 mpge? Make a hatchback and sedan version that's the size of a Civic and sell it for $24k nicely equipped. Make some NOISE, people! I wanna hear you scream.......

  4. And turbos are not good for long-term reliability.

  5. 2014 1.0L Fiesta wins with best exterior and interior styling, more fun to drive, more powerful engine, more technology, and with more mpg.

    Even Toyota is figuring out that if you remove hp from the vehicle in a quest for best mpg, consumers may by by default for mpg, but not because it's the car they really want. But when someone offers more power, more fun and better designed package, with mpg close to or better mpg, the consumer jumps at the option.

    This is why so many 50mpg Prius liftback owners, are dumping the underpowered, numb/noisy Prius, for a 47mpg C-Max or Fusion Hybrid.

    Which is why Ford is dropping a cylinder, but increasing hp by 3.

    I expect to see 42mpg Combined for 1.0L Fiesta.

  6. "This is why so many 50mpg Prius liftback owners are dumping the underpowered, numb/noisy Prius, for a 47mpg C-Max or Fusion... ***and then suing Ford for their misleading fuel economy claims***."

    Fixed that sentence for you. :D

    Given the debacle over the C-Max/Fusion hybrid MPG ratings, I expect Ford is going to be extremely careful about the fuel economy numbers they provide the EPA for the Fiesta 1.0.

  7. I would only look for Mitsubishi and their Mirage to be the best rig for ghastly mileage and driving capabilities. And looks. Mitsubishi over Ford forever. Period.

  8. Mitsubishi should have spent a little more time on the styling. Great mpg, but it looks like a turd, IMO. I do like the looks of the Fiesta, but would have to agree with others that real world mpg's will suffer at the hands of the average driver. It would be interesting to see how each car does over at the mpgomatic site run by Daniel Gray. Conscientious driving will pay off for both of these cars. Just stay in the right hand lane, and check your rear view for Xiaolong's Volt.

  9. Good point - and a surprise Volt enema sure won't make the Mirage any prettier!

  10. interesting post, i think the very low CD lead to the jelly bean design/styling. i do find it's weird that the us models have little to no under body panels, i was always under the impression that those could greatly improve aerodynamics.

  11. I bought a new 2013 Fiesta back in March and by making one very simple change I am already getting 40 MPG - overall.
    For the first (roughly) 3700 miles, I was getting around 37.
    At my first service, I supplied the dealer with a specific oil I wanted them to use - Red Line Synthetic.
    I track, with each tank of gas, how many gallons I put in, and how many miles I got out of the previous tank, as well as where I bought each tank. I now get 40 MPG, but have also discovered it also very much matters WHERE I buy the gas. I get significantly less miles out of a tank if purchased at what used to be our regular stop. That gas that is a few cents a gallon cheaper is actually costing you more money in the long run.

  12. first time mitsu owner, my mirage gets 30mpg on my daily drive wich might seem low but my miata used to get 18-19mpg. i live in monterey and go up steep hills every morning on a cold engine (one way comute is only 2 miles). me and my wife take road trips often and have averaged 52mpg when its mainly highway use. I am a HUGE ford fan but a bargain is a bargain.

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