When compared to big names in the automotive industry, Mitsubishi doesn’t exactly have a huge presence in the North American market. Flagships for other brands come to mind easily, but what Mitsubishi model has made news lately? For every Mitsubishi on a dealership lot, there are easily twice (or thrice) as many Fords, Dodges, GMs, Subarus, Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans (to name a few). However, that doesn’t mean the brand has nothing to offer.
Enter the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage. Not necessarily a stand-in for the entire brand, it is exemplar of the conundrum Mitsubishi presents to customers: affordable but not always the highest of quality. That being said, there is a market for every car. Whether or not the 2018 Mirage is the right car for you is a decision only you can make.
We’ve gathered some basic information on the 2018 Mirage to help you in the process. Comparing and contrasting the new sedan and/or hatch model to others in its segment brings up some interesting pros and cons. We’ll leave it to you to make the final decision.
All models of the 2018 Mirage come with a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine capable of 78 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque. A front-wheel drive ride, the 2018 Mirage can be purchased with either a 5-speed manual or a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). Both the ES and SE models are available in both the manual and CVT, while the GT trim is only available with a CVT. Like many subcompacts, the Mirage is available in either a sedan or a hatchback.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage 4 out of 5 stars in their overall crash test rating. It scored perfect in the “Side Barrier” ratings with 5 out of 5 stars, but most other tests resulted in four stars. Obviously a smaller car is going to perform slightly worse in these tests than a vehicle with more size, and therefore more protection.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a lot of the safety technology features present on newer models, the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage is an instant let-down. Drivers will have to fend for themselves for the most part, as the Mirage doesn’t come with many of the modern automated safety features available today. It’s still plenty safe, like most new cars, just without the fancy bells and whistles like automated emergency braking, blind spot warnings, or lane keep assist.
Mitsubishi offers the 2018 Mirage in three trim levels: ES, SE, and GT. ES models come equipped with a 7-inch display system, remote keyless entry, a rear spoiler, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This base model starts at $13,395.
Customers who choose the SE model will enjoy a 6.5-inch display, cruise control, 14-inch wheels, fog lights, push button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and gloss black accents inside. GT models offer consumers heated front seats, larger 15-inch wheels, HID headlights, Bluetooth, a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system, and a rearview camera.
Available packages on the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage include the all weather package, the cargo package, chrome package, exterior package, LED illumination, and protection package. Models offer up to 47 cubic feet of rear cargo space and seat up to five passengers.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage’s fuel efficiency numbers vary depending on the type of transmission and body style chosen. Manual sedan models boast a 33 city and 40 highway EPA-estimated MPG rating. Hatchbacks with a stick shift gain a mile on the highway MPG rating. Numbers are a bit higher if you choose the automatic transmission, with sedans coming in at 35 city and 42 highway and hatches achieving 37 city and 43 highway MPG.
Kelley Blue Book ranks the 2018 Mirage first in fuel efficiency, but only when compared to the 2018 Chevy Spark. U.S. News compiled a list of the 25 most fuel-efficient cars of 2018. While obvious contenders like Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai pepper the list, the Mitsubishi Mirage ranks in at #19. Among the many models ranked by U.S. News, the Mirage is one of the few non-hybrid, non-turbo-diesel contenders to make the list.
How the 2018 Mirage Compares
Built in Thailand, the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage has a hard time hiding its budget styling if you look closely. Consumer Reports called it “slow and noisy” and a “tiny, regrettable car.” Kelley Blue Book (KBB) didn’t have much good to say about it either. Though the 2018 Mirage costs under $20,000 (even fully loaded), Edmunds makes a good point: “rivals still offer more car for the money.”
Those competitors include the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic and Spark twins, Ford’s Fiesta, the Honda Fit, Fiat’s lineup, and the Mini Cooper family of models, among others. Each competes in a relatively similar price range, with varying lists of features. For example, consumers might consider the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf models for their hybrid capabilities. While gas mileage might top the list for consumers with these particular needs, starting prices tend to increase accordingly.
Toyota’s Yaris and brand-new-for-2018 Corolla hatchback are joined by the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa in terms of a great balance of features and cost. Customers may end up paying slightly over $20,000 for these models when comfortably equipped, but when compared to the 2018 Mirage, it might just be worth the price. More trim levels, a longer list of features, and better-equipped base models abound in the subcompact segment.
If you are considering the Mirage, Edmunds recommends the ES model for the pricing and features combination. Kelley Blue Book experts found the list of pros and cons to be a bit one-sided, noting the 2018 Mirage includes “cheap touches everywhere” in its unrefined packaging. The long warranty, though, is great for those worried about mechanical failures, but don’t expect the 2018 Mirage to hold its value well in the coming years. With the market tending toward partial zero-emissions vehicles (PZEVs), electrics, and hybrids, even low-displacement engines with high MPG ratings like the Mirage may face extinction soon.
- Very affordable
- Great first car material
- Fuel efficient
- Feels a bit cheaply built
- Minimal features list
- Competitors offer more car for a comparable price
The Last Word
The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage is a relatively affordable car with enough features to get anyone from one place to the other. For minimalists looking to simply purchase four reliable wheels, the Mirage might be the perfect solution. Others might prefer a bit more interior comforts for their dollar. In a time when competitors in any segment must work hard to stay on the map, Mitsubishi may end up joining brands like Scion, Saturn, and Isuzu. Especially if models like the 2018 Mirage are the best it can offer.