Mitsubishi's new Mirage has just landed at dealerships and this likeable little compact is no illusion. Positioned as an entry level, super gas miser that will hopefully appeal to urbsters and the kind of city kids who don't really get too deep into automobility, the MIRAGE is surprisingly good, as long as you take it for what it is meant to be. Mitsubishi has always been at its best delivering simple, value driven mass market vehicles and the Mirage picks up where its namesake left off when dropped from the lineup a few years ago. This is a no frills, inexpensive car ... no question about that ... but it also has a quirky, fun personality and no glaring omissions at a remarkably low price.
Styling is basic soapbar, homely - but with a cozy puppy look to it. Mitsubishi spices up the drab with a fine selection of pop color options like lime, purple and cherry red. It's super compact and remarkably easy to park, while still having four door access and a decent back seat for supple adults if not the carbo blob types. Hatchback access leads to a small but useful cargo bin that expands mightily when the rear seats fold down.
The interior is hardly impressive in any regard, but not a skimper either when it comes to fit, finish and features. The stereo is decent, the seats comfortable and most of the neat little features one has come to expect in a new car are all in there.
On the road 74 HP is all she wrote, but the fiesty Mirage does get along all right, rides better than you'd expect and seems happy in its frugality. The best non-hybrid MPG in America works out to 37 city/ 44 hwy EPA MPG with the responsive CVT automatic, and you can expect to see a real world 40 MPG average with regularity.
Bottom line means around $13K to $15K after the usual dealer/factory discounting goes down, which makes the mighty mini Mirage just about the cheapest new car you can lay your hands on, all with a solid 10 year/100K warranty, too. Not bad, but then again just a few more grand buys a lot more car in a Mitsubishi Lancer or any of the countless other compacts on the market today, and $15 thou offers a lot of shopping options from the pre-owned marketplace, too.
If new means a lot to you and a small, basic and very economical and eco friendly has appeal - then check out the new MIRAGE. It is more for less in all those categories.
• dean seven