Here are a few ideas:
Block heater - I know they say it doesn't need one with the low viscosity synthetic, but at -40C, everything needs one! Also, even if it will start in extreme cold, the block heater would likely be easier on the engine, the starter, the battery etc. When the time comes to buy my Mirage, I will be looking for a block heater solution (aftermarket). If I can't find one, I'll be looking at another car.
Auto start-stop feature. I'd pay a bit extra for this. I had a rental car that featured it and didn't even really notice until the second day when I happened to glance at the tach. I know this can be done manually, but it is much smoother when done auto, and there is no risk of loosing brakes/steering by turning the ignition too far!
Maybe, along with the above, an enthusiasts efficiency package, which could include LED lamps, smooth wheel covers, auto start-stop, maybe an under-body cover for aerodynamics, maybe replace the side view mirror with a backup camera.
More adaptable rear seat - possibly make the rear bench easy to remove (like minivan seats) to allow the rear seat backs to fold flat, or make the whole unit removable.
Put a rubberized paint, line-x, or something other than carpet on the floors and cargo area. I've never understood carpet in cars - not a lot of barefoot use in a car! Also, rust sometimes starts in floorboards.
6 speed manual (no idea if that costs more than $500). Or a 5 speed manual, with the 5th being an overdrive and the first 4 being typical gearing.
Edit - looks like you guys beat me to the 6th gear. Oh well - great minds I guess.
Also of note - I recall reading that there will be a couple minor changes for 2015, including turn signals in the side view mirrors and a bit more chrome. I suppose the signals are a benefit for safety - maybe they will be heated too.
Last edited by Canoehead; 03-21-2014 at 12:41 AM.
View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 45.0 mpg (US) ... 19.1 km/L ... 5.2 L/100 km ... 54.1 mpg (Imp)