There's a price war going on at the bottom of the Canadian car market.

At one side, Nissan's new Micra--a small car long sold in the European and Japanese markets, but now invading the North American continent--albeit available only in Canada.

On the other, the Mitsubishi Mirage. This is available in the U.S. too, but after Nissan set the Micra's price to $9,998, a $2,500 cash discount from Mitsubishi means that car also drops under ten grand.

At the current exchange rate, that means both Micra and Mirage cost just $9,150 in U.S. dollars. Throw in destination and handling, and you'll pay $13,805 for a Mirage in the U.S.

Sub-$10K is pretty good, considering each car is respectably thrifty--particularly the Mirage.

Under Canada's new test cycle, equivalent to post-2008 EPA ratings, the Micra's 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox enables a figure of 30.6 mpg combined (27.4 mpg city, 36 mpg highway).

Mitsubishi's offering, with a smaller 1.2-liter 3-cylinder, touts a 37 mpg combined figure (34 mpg city, 42 mpg highway)--though this rises to 40 mpg combined with the continuously-variable transmission.

MORE: Driving Nissan's Micra, Which We Can't Legally Do Any Other Time

Nissan's more conventional four-speed automatic isn't quite as efficient, missing out on the manual's combined figure by a hair.

Micra owners do get a slightly more stylish vehicle than the Mitsubishi, but the sub-$10,000 entry price is something of a lure.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES - Driven, April 2014

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES - Driven, April 2014

Just as base-model Versas sold in the U.S. feature 90s-style equipment tallies, so too does Canada's Micra--neither air conditioning nor the automatic transmission are standard, and adding the auto (which also adds aircon) takes pricing to $13,298 ($12,170 U.S.).

You do get that bigger engine though, producing 109 horsepower to the Mitsubishi's modest 74. It also beats the 82-horsepower Chevy Spark--though there's no word on whether Chevrolet Canada will drop the Spark's price to compete.

Both cars should be capable of matching their official figures though, and even beating them.

We've not yet driven a Canadian-spec Micra yet, but comfortably returned figures of more than 40 mpg in the Mirage during a recent gas mileage test. That's the benefit of a light car with a small, fuel-efficient engine.

Now, we just need to convince a few more automakers to bring their thriftiest minicars to U.S. shores. A ten-grand price tag wouldn't hurt, either...

[Hat tip: Darin Cosgrove,]


Follow GreenCarReports on FacebookTwitter and Google+