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#40

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $12,995 - $15,195
Invoice: $12,712 - $14,864
MPG: 34 City / 42 Hwy
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Mitsubishi Mirage Performance

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage’s engine is one of the least powerful in the class and reviewers say that while it’s capable of getting up to freeway speeds, it takes some time. Test drivers say the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) doesn’t make the best use of the engine’s power. As a result, some recommend sticking with the standard five-speed manual transmission. The Mirage has some of the best fuel economy ratings in the class. Reviewers say the Mirage is sufficiently composed over bumps, easy to maneuver in tight spaces and handles best at lower speeds. Steering is responsive but numb, they note.

  • "The CVT-equipped car requires a bit more prodding to reach cruising velocity than its five-speed counterpart, but the former transmission is probably the way to go if you plan on using the Mirage primarily in urbanized areas." -- AutoWeek
  • "The manual is not quite quick, but its more responsive throttle makes acceleration feel livelier. Or at least much less painfully slow, if there is a material difference there. No one will buy this car for driving fun, but a fully loaded car with a manual transmission would be my choice if I settled on the Mirage." -- MSN Autos
  • "Mitsubishi envisions the Mirage as a low-speed urban car, a logical function given the engine only develops 74 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque. That modest output is produced by an adorable 1.2-liter 3-cylinder paired with either a 5-speed manual (34 city/ 42 hwy) or a continuously variable transmission (37 city/44 hwy)." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is equipped with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine that makes 74 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a CVT is optional. Equipped with a CVT, the Mirage gets an EPA-estimated 37/44 mpg city/highway, which is superb for the class.   

The Mirage has one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the class, and its three-cylinder engine is rare, even among subcompact cars. Reviewers say that the Mirage has enough power for the highway, though it can take some time to get up to speed. One auto writer reports that the engine sounds harsh and unrefined, but another says that engine noise isn’t overwhelming in the cabin. Test drivers write that the CVT doesn’t make the best use of the engine’s power, but they add that city dwellers may not want to row their own gears in traffic.

  • "We suspected the 74-hp engine (18 fewer hp than the Mirage packed last time it appeared in the U.S.) to be disappointing, but the free-revving three-cylinder had no trouble happily pulling the one-ton car along. It didn't even complain audibly (well, not too audibly) when we stomped on the pedal to overtake, and its buzz didn't intrude the cabin unbearably at expressway speeds." -- AutoWeek
  • "In a car with this little power, the CVT makes the Mirage feel sluggish and unresponsive, with minimal sound deadening to mask the loud engine noise and a variety of burbles and burps that come with the CVT's fuel-saving magic." -- MSN Autos
  • "The engine is both underpowered and sounds bad. And not in the high-pitched style you might expect from such a small car. More like the gravel-y churn of a paper shredder. Sound aside, there's enough power to reach freeway speeds and for passing, just reserve extra time for each." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Slow acceleration means the hatchback is less at home merging onto busy highways, however." -- Left Lane News
  • "In terms of handling we can verify that the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage will indeed turn...both left and right. There's not much satisfaction in doing so but the car's tight … turning circle does make it easy to double back for that elusive parking spot." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With an tight turning circle of 30.2 feet, nimble responses enabled by a curb weight of less than 2,000 pounds, and dimensions that lend themselves to easy parking, the Mirage is in its element in city environments." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree the Mirage’s tight turning radius and small size make it easy to park. They say that steering is responsive, but offers little road feel. Test drivers note that while the ride is adequate over bumpy roads, handling is less composed around corners.

  • "Welcome on the tight, European-like city streets of Quebec City, that light-but-precise steering didn't firm up all that much at highway speeds. Suspension was soft, providing a tolerable ride over cobblestones but turning the sweeping, narrow corners of the Ile d'Orleans into a series of uncertain propositions when taken at speed." -- AutoWeek
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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