Some cars are just notorious for their lackluster performances even when they’re brand new. Despite their shiny paint jobs and fresh-smelling interiors, they may have rock-bottom reliability ratings. Some cars, like the Chevy Cobalt, are unenjoyable because they’re so average. The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage may have an average appearance, but nearly everything else about it is just plain bad.
In KBB’s in-depth video review, the tester behind the wheel was brutally honest about all the Mirage’s flaws. It did get a new sedan version for that model year along with some refreshed exterior elements. However, even the comfiest driver’s seat can’t make up for a pitiful engine and bad ride quality. The Mirage’s spectacular shortcomings may make for a hilarious video, but actually driving it is far from enjoyable.
A supposedly improved interior
For this model year, the Mirage was given a few infotainment upgrades, like available smartphone integration. There are also new black accents to help it look a little more stylish. Unfortunately, the seats have little padding inside and offer almost no support. The driver’s seat position is also in an awkward position, so taller drivers may have a hard time getting comfortable.
The cabin is full of hard plastics and doesn’t even offer an armrest for the driver. While the touchscreen is crisp and very responsive, the Bluetooth microphone and USB port appear to be shoddily installed. The speakers also don’t give the best sound quality.
An underpowered engine
The Mitsubishi Mirage comes equipped with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine capable of 78 hp. It’s paired with a five-speed transmission, but a CVT can be purchased as an upgrade. Only front-wheel drive is available for this car.
It also comes equipped with keyless entry and hill-start assist. As you can imagine, the Mirage doesn’t offer a thrilling driving experience. Even the CVT feels unrefined, resulting in a lot of engine noise when the driver tries to accelerate. Because of this, the car is really only suited for city driving.
Most cars with underpowered engines offer great savings at the pump. To its credit, the Mirage does excel in this regard. The sedan version with the manual transmission returns 33 mpg in the city and 40 mpg at highway speeds. With the CVT in the hatchback version, you’ll get 37 mpg on city roads and 43 mpg on the highway.
While these numbers are impressive on paper, you may have a hard time applying them in real-world driving. Because the Mirage has such poor acceleration, you constantly have to floor the gas pedal to get anywhere. This causes your fuel economy to decrease.
Unless you’re just going for a leisurely cruise around town, the Mitsubishi Mirage is overall very annoying to drive. As the tester demonstrates in the video, the car has a noticeable and troubling amount of body roll. Even if the engine isn’t growling, there’s a good deal of wind noise inside the cabin. The car also struggles to propel itself uphill, even with the standard hill-start assist engaged.
One good thing about the Mitsubishi Mirage
At the time of its release, the Mitsubishi Mirage retailed for a bargain price. It started at $14,000, plus $1,200 if you wanted the superior automatic transmission. It also had one of the best warranties available. However, 2017 rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio offered much better performance and more features.
There are no significant drivetrain improvements for 2020, but the car now has lane departure warning and emergency braking. Nowadays, you can buy a 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage for around $7,000. Because of all its major downsides, we still wouldn’t recommend the Mirage even at half its retail price.