More people are turning to smaller cars these days to save money on fuel and gain an easier handling vehicle. Subcompact cars have become the popular choice for this, but as we’ll see, not all of them are created equal. There’s one that stands out as the worst compact car you could buy. U.S. News reviewed the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage and concluded that it just isn’t worth throwing your money away on. Let’s look at why it falls to the No. 26 position on their list of the best small cars for the 2020 model year.
What are the Mitsubishi Mirage’s good points?
One of the major selling points for the Mitsubishi Mirage is its fuel-efficiency ratings. The G4 sedan gets an eye-opening 41 highway mpg, which is great for a small vehicle. If you opt for the hatchback version, you’re looking at a 43 mpg rating for long-distance traveling. The ratings for city driving are also impressive with EPA scores of 35-36 mpg.
Vehicle warranty is another area where Mitsubishi shines. Their 5-year/60,000-mile guarantees offer great coverage and give peace of mind for times when unexpected repairs pop up. They also have a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty to help with any major repairs that fall under the list of items covered.
The price is another selling point for the Mirage. For the base package, you can expect to pay as little as $13,995. The SE and GT trims bring higher price tags. The SE will cost you around $16,000 to $17,000 depending on whether you choose the hatchback or the sedan. The top-of-the-line GT trim, which is hatchback only, will cost around $17,245.
What exactly is wrong with it?
The selling points are great, but, unfortunately, that’s where the good stops. U.S. News spent the rest of the review explaining items wrong with this vehicle, starting with the motor. The Mitsubishi Mirage only sports a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that barely puts out 78 hp. Acceleration on the highway is a major chore for the Mirage and a disappointment for the reviewers.
Having an exceptional interior might have helped make the motor’s short-comings worth it, but that isn’t in the cards for this Mitsubishi subcompact car. It has one of the lowest quality materials throughout the cabin. U.S. News reviewers felt the seats were very uncomfortable, and the fact that you have to upgrade to a higher package just to get an armrest for the driver’s seat is simply a joke.
When you look at safety tests performed for the Mirage, you see that it received four out of five stars, from the NHTSA for front, side, and rollover crash tests. The IIHS gave it a score of “Good” for all tests except the small overlap front driver side. Their research found that it didn’t perform well here, and they gave it a “Marginal” score which is close to the poor rating.
For standard safety features, it leaves you wanting here as well. You get a rearview camera for all trims, but you can get front and rear parking sensors for an upgrade, but they’re only available for some trims. Other competitors, like the Mazda3, offer much more for your money.
How does the Mirage compare to its rivals?
The Mitsubishi Mirage’s two biggest rivals in the class would be the Honda Fit and the Kia Rio. Both are fairly close in price, but that’s as far as the comparison goes when you bring the Mirage in the mix.
The Honda Fit and the Kia Rio offer higher-quality interior materials and more comfortable seats. They’re both roomier and have more impressive cargo space than Mitsubishi offers with their subcompact car.
For better handling, the Kia Rio got U.S. News’ attention, and the Honda Fit proved to have more value for the price. Overall, they didn’t recommend the Mirage at any trim level.
It’s easy to see why the Mitsubishi Mirage received a score of only 4.9 out of 10. The price and fuel economy ratings are good, but it appears that’s all it has going for it.