Powered by a 74 horsepower, 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, the Mirage is rated at 5.3/4.4 L/100 km, city/highway fuel consumption. It’s very cheap to run, in other words, and is officially Canada’s most fuel-efficient gasoline powered subcompact.
Starting price is $12,498 plus $1450 freight/destination for the base ES model with a five-speed manual transmission. My tester was the higher-priced and more fully equipped SE model which starts at $15,398. Its as-tested price added $1,200 for the CVT automatic transmission and freight/destination for a total $18,048.
Weather conditions were challenging during my time with the Mirage; deep snow, very cold even for March in Ottawa, and slippery road surfaces. The Mirage was fine; starting readily, warming quickly, the SE’s automatic climate control filling the cabin with heat in a matter of minutes. Heated seats in this model, too!
Taken on its own, the Mirage is a perfectly adequate runabout that can be pressed into service for a young family. True, the engine can be a bit noisy, it leans more than I’d like in corners, the CVT transmission will moan on occasion and the body panels, especially the doors, seem tinny.
But as I say, taken on its own, this is an easy-to-drive, fuel-efficient vehicle for zipping around town.
The problem for the Mirage is immediately apparent when you compare it to other vehicles in this segment. As far as pricing is concerned, Nissan’s just thrown down a huge gauntlet in its recently announced 2015 Micra, with a starting price of $9,998. Even optioned up, that car’s going to be about $14,000. Or you could look at a nicely equipped Mazda2 with a four-cylinder 100 hp engine, automatic transmission, convenience package and air conditioning for $14,100 plus freight. With some dickering you might get a comparable deal for a Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, certainly a Toyota Yaris. How about a Volkswagen Jetta? These vehicles are just so much more substantial than the Mirage.
In its favour, Mitusbishi has a very good warranty; best in the industry, in fact. You get a 10-year, 160,000 km powertrain warranty, five-year bumper-to-bumper New Car warranty and five year’s roadside assistance. But really, this is not a lot of car for the money.
Mitsubishi is targeting the Mirage to younger, first-time vehicle purchasers and older buyers returning to the small-car market. Buyers should absolutely check comparably priced vehicles from competitors, as one should do with any car purchase. The bar’s been raised pretty high in this segment; you want to get your money’s worth, right?