Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES: A Peppy And Fuel-Efficient Three-Cylinder



Highlight: The base model Mirage is the least expensive vehicle in the segment.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $17,105 (base price $14,905)

Seating Capacity: 4 realistically! (Mitsubishi says five.)

Standard Safety Features: airbags; stability control; and an electronic brake force distribution; a tire pressure monitoring system; and rear seat head restraints

Standard Equipment (ES model):  14-inch wheels; a push button keyless starter system;  fog lights; cruise control; a rear spoiler; cloth manually adjustable (front) seats; a manually operated tilt steering wheel; and a leather wrapped shift knob

Options: a navigation system and a rear view camera


Suspension System: MacPherson (front); Torsion beam (rear)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 140-watt, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Available

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000-mile warranty

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000-mile warranty

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder/74-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 37-city/44-hwy




Other Trims:

DE

What’s New:  The Mirage is basically a carryover for the 2015 model year, with a few minor content changes.


Pros: The Mirage is available in two trims, the base DE and the top end ES, which costs about $1,300 more than the base DE trim. The easy to maneuver Mirage is available with either a manual or a continuous variable automatic transmission.  Both the base and higher trim ES model were equipped with standard power operating windows and doors. Our Mirage, with the peppy automatic three-cylinder engine, was as fuel-efficient as the higher priced hybrids. Our Mirage produced 37-mpg in the city and over 40-mpg on the highway. And with this being a subcompact, we found the front seats to be quite comfortable.

Ironically, this subcompact has some safety features we just weren’t expecting, even if it meant they were optional and would increase the overall cost of the vehicle. Those must-have features included a rear view camera, a navigation system and audible parking sensors. What a welcome surprise! We must note that the rear view camera and the navigation system are only available on the higher trim ES model.

Furthermore, the handling characteristics were quite impressive, too, for a three-cylinder.  Not only is the Mirage capable of navigation narrow streets, it can easily fit into any parking space. To put this into perspective, we recently reviewed a four cylinder midsize vehicle that wasn't quite as peppy as the Mirage.

Cons:  Yes, we did have a few minor gripes. For instance, when the navigation system is ordered, the standard steering wheel mounted Bluetooth controls on the ES trim are deleted. Also we had to become acclimated again to turning the headlights on-and-off manually. Yes, we've become spoiled with having automatic headlights.

Moreover, it would have been great if the interior engineers would consider moving the upgraded push button starter system to the right side of the steering wheel, as opposed to the left. Porsche is the only vehicle we’ve driven here in the States with the ignition starter being on the left side of the steering wheel, as opposed to the right side.

And, the interior designers should include an attached center armrest to the front driver’s seat (or at least a must needed center storage console, which was also missing from the Mirage). Moreover, for those seeking a static-free, crystal-clear sound system, buyers should consider adding-on an aftermarket audio system. Also, with this price sensitive vehicle, don’t expect to have satellite radio or a sunroof on the option list. Those features just aren’t available.

Lastly, with the price tag creeping up to $17,000 many buyers might consider steeping up to a midsize vehicle that are often heavily discounted, as a price leader (or as we say in the car business a loss leader). Buyers could get a larger vehicle that offers more bang for the buck.



Verdict:

For the price point, Mitsubishi has packaged a lot of content into this fuel-efficient and peppy three cylinder hatchback. The Mirage is the idea vehicle for first time buyers, empty nesters, retirees and students who are own a budget, but yearn for great gas mileage (and the new car smell, too)! The only downside is that pricing could compete with midsize pre-owned vehicles like the Chevy Malibu and the Toyota Camry, which offers more space and amenities, too.

Competition:  Chevy Spark, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Mazda2