Skip to main content

The Mitsubishi Mirage has one significant thing going for it: it’s extraordinarily cheap. Despite that, the Japanese compact car features adequate comfort, sufficient entertainment tech, and remarkable fuel economy. While the news is good for potential buyers looking to step into one of the cheapest cars on sale, the car has shortcomings. A wheezy engine, a plasticky interior, and an ill-fitting carpet are particular low points. However, on the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage, one major issue is worse than the others.

The Mirage’s airbags may fail to deploy

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES | Mitsubishi

Since small economy cars are perceived as less secure than larger vehicles, Mitsubishi sought to ensure confidence in safety. The 2015 model is equipped with seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees. However, there is a problem with the control mechanisms and sensors for some of them.

Owner grievances on CarComplaints show that during recorded impacts, the front airbags failed to deploy. One entry states a driver hit a tree head-on at 35 mph and sustained minor injuries after the airbags didn’t deploy. They reported no warning lights illuminated, and the car had just 37,000 miles on the clock. Another owner explained their 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage was hit on the front driver’s side by a semi-truck going at least 50 mph. The airbag also failed, resulting in injuries.

NHTSA recalls the Mitsubishi Mirage

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage interior | Mitsubishi

As complaints about the Mirage’s failing front airbags mounted, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) took action. In late 2015, the government agency issued a recall, stating that delayed or failed airbag deployment was due to a corroding airbag wiring connector. Mitsubishi remedied the 2015 model year Mirages, but also some from 2014, without charge.

The NHTSA explained that if a driver enters the vehicle with their feet covered in water and salt, it will soak through the floor, causing corrosion. Unfortunately, the airbag wiring connector is housed in a junction box behind the kick panel to the left of the driver’s footrest. A waterproof sheet was installed over the connectors by Mitsubishi dealers to prevent future issues.

In 2017, the NHTSA issued a similar recall on the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage. The agency clarified a fault with the internal acceleration sensor in the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The SRS-ECU software can misjudge vibrations in the car—those from poor road conditions—as a sensor error. Therefore, the system will disable the airbags from deploying in the event of an impact. Mitsubishi dealers took in affected Mirages—model years 2014-2018—to reprogram the SRS-ECU software free of charge.

Is the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage a dangerous car?

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage | Mitsubishi

For those who never heeded the stipulations of the recalls, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage presents a threat to drivers and passengers. However, once they address the issue with the airbags, the Mirage is a decent choice. The NHTSA gave the compact four out of five stars for the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage’s front driver and passenger side impact test. The rollover resistance test also netted the same rating. Regardless, the agency gave the car five out of five stars for side-impact safety, resulting in an overall four out of five-star rating.

The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage may not be the safest car one can drive, but it’s by no means unsafe. Its small size doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, but only if owners know of past recalls.


Is This Longtime Mitsubishi Being Discontinued?