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If power, panache, and pizzazz isn’t your bag, feast your eyes on the Mitsubishi Mirage. With an engine not much bigger than a duo of Rice Krispies boxes, it won’t get you anywhere fast. But you’re more worried about inserting some newly-found minimalism into your life since you finished all the rooms in the house. Thriftiness is the priority, but a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage as a used car cost you more than existential bliss?

 Is the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage a reliable car?

The 74-horsepower 3A92 motor under the hood is designed for longevity. You’ll only get three cylinders, but what it lacks in acceleration, it makes up for in gas mileage. Paired with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), 40 mpg combined is a breeze. Nevertheless, Consumer Reports says it was expected to have “average” reliability.

RepairPal rates the Mirage even higher, asserting its reliability a “4.5 out of 5.0,” good for 7th out of 21 cars in the segment at the time. Even if it does break, it’s cheap to fix. With an average annual repair cost between $442 and $457, it won’t break the bank. Yet, there are some common problems potential buyers need to be aware of.

Mitsubishi Mirage problems from real owners

Not everything about the 2015 Mirage is rainbows and roses. Unfortunately, it’s the most complained about Mirage in the nameplate’s history, stretching back to 1986. The issues encountered aren’t necessarily design flaws but do show how the five-door hatchback could have a starting MSRP far below the $20,000 mark.

Premature tire wear has been seen on various 2015 Mirages. TheDriverAdviser reports that the rear axle may have been out of alignment when it left the factory, given the number of owner grievances. One of the more expensive issues with the Mirage is a clogged heater core, which can run into four digits. Owners only report problems with the passenger side, so if you’re solo, you could get away without it.

TrueDelta reports a technical service bulletin (TSB) released for the 2014 and 2015 Mirage for ignition problems. Under cold starts, the electronic control unit (ECU) would dump “inappropriate” amounts of fuel into the engine. The TSB ordered dealerships to reprogram the ECU. Potential buyers should ensure the fix has been done to the car as repair costs could reach into the thousands.

Like the tires, the brakes on the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage tend to live short lives. It’s uncertain if it’s related to the out-of-line axle, but owners will feel “pulsation” in the brake pedal. Owner entries on CarComplaints state that getting new rotors was out of warranty and is evidence of manufacturer cost cutting. Otherwise, the CVT’s torque converter, the five-speed’s clutch cable, and wonky Bluetooth connectivity are other areas of weakness.

NHTSA recalls on the 2015 Mirage

The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage isn't really a good used car
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES | Mitsubishi

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage twice. Once was for a corroding airbag wiring connector, which would delay the deployment of the front airbags. The other was for a faulty restraint system control unit, also affecting airbag deployment in a crash. Given their free-of-charge fixes from dealerships, potential buyers shouldn’t be worried—as long as the seller has official documentation.

Should you buy a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage?

The Mitsubishi Mirage was built on a budget, but that’s most cheap, subcompact economy cars. Potential buyers shouldn’t expect a care-free ownership regimen, but it’ll be less stressful given the relatively inexpensive repair costs and knowing what can go wrong before you get one. To hedge your bets, however, pass the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage for another model year.

Apart from the 2014 model year Mitsubishi Mirage, the 2015 model has more than double the owner complaints of any other model year. If anything, get one built as recently as you can. And if you wanted that special Rockford Fosgate version of the 2015 Mirage, just get an aftermarket system.


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