When it comes to inexpensive, entry-level, small cars, the market is not exactly packed with choices, but Mitsubishi is keeping the faith by not only continuing to offer its Mirage, but by bringing us an even better version for 2020. The new Mirage is built in Thailand and that’s where Mitsubishi chose to launch the car.
Small cars like the Mirage, and rivals like the Nissan Micra and Honda Fit, have lots of appeal for both young people (perhaps attending college) and for seniors who no longer need a large vehicle or SUV and are happy with basic transportation. Of course, there are also many buyers between those two groups who simply have no need for a larger and more complicated vehicle but desire something simple and fuel-efficient for local errands and the occasional long run.
The 5-seater Mirage fits the bill on all counts and adds appealing style and hatchback practicality too. Fuel bills won’t break the bank because the car uses a delightfully uncomplicated three-cylinder, 1.2-litre engine. It only delivers 78-horsepower, but that’s perfectly adequate for most purposes and it’s easy enough to maintain freeway speeds. You won’t keep up with sports cars taking off from a traffic light, but you won’t be attracting speeding tickets either. Buyers can choose either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic (CVT).
The new Mirage has frontal styling incorporating what Mitsubishi calls its “dynamic shield.” It’s certainly very eye catching and distinctive and gives the car a more contemporary look. A wider and more stable appearance was the aim of the designers. A similar approach was applied to the rear of the Mirage and the overall look is wider and lower.
There’s been a lot of upgrade work in the cabin too. New front armrests are a feature along with more soft-touch areas for a better feel and ambiance. A new smartphone display audio system uses a 7-inch screen and offers support for Apple CarPlay.
The Mirage is a well-conceived low-cost option for Canadian buyers and has a lengthy worldwide reputation. More than 650,000 have been sold globally since the first version appeared back in 1978.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 5-door compact hatchback
ENGINE: 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder 78-horsepower
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual or continuously variable automatic (CVT)
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 11-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 6.2-litres/100 km combined city/hwy
PRICE: 2019 model starts at $12,573 MSRP. 2020 model should be close to this