The 2014 Mirage revives a Mitsubishi model name from years past, but that's where any similarities to past cars end. The new front-drive, 5-door sub-compact is minimalism on wheels, with little more than smart, basic transportation in mind.
The Mirage is offered in two trim levels: DE and ES. Both are powered by an all-aluminum 1.2L 3-cylinder engine. It features Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) and produces 74 horsepower and 74 ft-lb of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, but for $1,000 more the Mirage can be ordered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). When equipped with the CVT, the Mirage offers an impressive fuel economy rating of 37 mpg city and 44 mpg highway. Mitsubishi claims that no other non-hybrid car can top it.
The Mirage rides on 14-inch wheels, which are steel on the DE and alloy on the ES. Braking is courtesy of front ventilated discs and rear drums, and the little car's nimble urban handling is courtesy of MacPherson-type struts in front and a torsion beam in back. At a mere 149 inches long, the Mirage has a turning radius of just over 15 feet, allowing for near-effortless parking lot maneuverability.
The basic Mirage starts at $12,995, making it one of the least expensive new cars available in the US. Even with this miniscule price, its standard feature list includes just the basics: auto-off halogen headlights, power-adjustable mirrors, remote keyless entry, power locks and power windows with driver's side auto up/down, a 4-speaker, 140-watt CD/MP3 audio system with USB port, automatic climate control, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, stability and traction control, and seven airbags.
The ES adds Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, keyless entry and push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, and halogen fog lights.
The Mirage can be optioned with a Navigation Package, which includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, integrated entertainment features and voice control, along with a wide-angle rearview camera. Even optioned-up, the Mirage still comes in at under $17,000.