First Ten Days Review: 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage BE edition
Mitsubishi Mirage 10 Day Review
Miles driven: About 700. Two 3-hour drives and various in-town driving.
Price Paid: MSRP of 18,500 with standard tax and title fees. Dealer added a 200 dollar paint protection package (mandatory). Out the door was just a nudge over 20k.
Driving Experience: City Driving 9/10
You would think from reading Edmunds et al that the driving experience is a nightmare. But my first ten days revealed a very fun driving experience. Have you ever driven a small car (smaller than a crossover SUV)? You'll be right at home here. Much like the 2003 Hyundai Accent I drove as my commuter car for a few years, the Mirage turns on a dime and the feeling of the road under your feet is infectious. Even my former car, a Kia Soul ! model from 2012 had a floatier, more boat like feeling.
Certainly it is true that cars with higher HP engines than the Mirage's 78 HP engine can accelerate faster. But unlike the US News review that states that the car isn't exciting and that it accelerates poorly, you'll find that going from 0-35 is more fun than you realize because that 78 HP engine is pushing a mere 2100 pounds along. The city, suburbia, and exurbia are where this car rules.
Driving Experience: Highway Driving: 5/10
If I'm trying to account for my "ownership bias," here is where I have to give the car a low score. I've driven this vehicle for multiple long distance drives on the highway, and no question the Kia Soul I used to drive was better in this format. The light weight of the car means you'll feel the windier days, and yes, the cabin noise, so often mentioned in professional reviews, is certainly noticeable.
But it isn't abysmal, either. It is important to point out that the Mirage is fully capable of doing what you need it to do when you need to take it out on freeways for extended jaunts. Yes, you can pass cars, go 80 mph when needed, and no, the wind won't blow the car away. It isn't scary or stressful to merge, exit, and so on. Trust me: the little car can absolutely drive safely and effectively. I say this only because reviews of this car make it seem like it is impossible to actually drive the car: one such review stated that it is "incapable of driving on American roads." This is, frankly, idiotic.
Comparing to other cars I've driven, it certainly isn't as plush as the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica I use for family road trips. But that would be expected, that's a family van. It is far better than my 2003 Hyundai accent, a car that didn't even have cruise control. The 2012 Kia Soul ! was definitely better here, as its 164 HP engine gives it more oomph on the highway. However, I wouldn't say the Soul was *way* better. I'd give it a 7/10- like the Mirage, it is actually pretty noisy and doesn't take wind well either, given its boxy shape.
Exterior Aesthetics: 9/10
Here's a category that you don't often see reviewed, but for me, it matters a lot. I have to love what I look at every day. And I have to feel like the car I drive isn't some cookie cutter car that everyone else has. It is what drew me to the Kia Soul in 2012. The Hyundai Accent I had was the exact opposite of this, because I bought that car under desperate need and couldn't factor in wants at that point.
It kills me that so many fun, funky cars failed in the American market: the Honda Element, Nissan Cube, and the Scion xB. Even Smart cars, though I would never seriously consider one of those (I do need a backseat). I dislike the generic Sedan, SUV, and van "looks" (though you buy a Van for the family and what is inside it, in my experience, not for any kind of fun factor).
As I've driven the Mirage, I've only come to adore the car's fit and finish. Note that mine is the "black edition," with a black roof/spoiler and black fender extensions on the wheel wells. To me, the BE edition aesthetics lifts this car up to funkytown, and that's where I like to be! Infrared is a great color, though admittedly a little bit of a darker red than I usually prefer. I simply love looking at it.
If this were a non-BE Mirage, I would probably still give it a 7/10, as I do admit the overall look of this car has grown on me over time.
Compared to my other cars, I honestly love the aesthetics as much as my old Kia Soul, and way more than the boring Accent, and way more than the utilitarian Pacifica.
Interior Aesthetics and Function: 7/10
Many reviews complain about the "cheap" interior. It is true that the Mirage uses carpet materials that seem incredibly thin (barely counts as carpet). But I'm just going to be honest: I don't care about this. It's the FLOOR. Otherwise, the materials seem perfectly fine-to-good throughout. Note that the BE edition adds some cloth accents to the doors, leather wrapped wheel and shift knob, and other small cosmetic accents. This helps a lot. I was actually expecting to be underwhelmed by the interior on my test drive, and I was in fact pleasantly surprised (the interior look and vibe was one of the things that helped sell me on the car, since I was expecting so little out of that).
It is of course disappointing that the BE edition still uses cloth, and not leather seats. I really like leather especially as I have cats and no amount of lint-rollering prevents some cat hair from traveling with me and adhering to cloth car seats. But the cloth seats for the BE trim look great at least! The red threads and patterns look great. And the cloth feels more premium than other car cloth interiors. Frankly, I like it more than the SE edition fake leather combination seats.
One area where the Kia Soul I drove wins is in having accent/mood lighting as standard as well as a center console/armrest. The Mirage gets SUPER DARK at night inside. There is an optional mood lighting package from the dealership that I'm considering, and I've ordered an aftermarket center console for sixty bucks.
I also wish the Mirage was equipped with more USB outlets. You only get one, though you can convert the cigarette lighter to power only USBs with a 1 dollar converter at dollar tree (or numerous other solutions).
The buttons are easy to use and understand. Cruise control, shifting, the dash cluster, no issues there. Would it be cooler if the car has a fancier screen for the multi-info display like many more expensive cars do? Sure, but also, remember, all of those cars are going to be a minimum of 4-5k more expensive than the Mirage. You gotta find the cost savings somewhere.
Quick note: I'm 6'1" and the interior is very comfy and was perfectly great for those two 3-hour drives I had.
Car Audio and Infotainment: 8/10
This was surprising to me. I did *not* get the optional premium audio. I'm a musician and audio snob. I was fully expecting to hate this aspect of the car. Kia does a great job putting awesome systems in their cars, with a big fat subwoofer in the center dash.
While certainly my old Kia has a more powerful system, I would not immediately say it was better! The truth is, Mitsubishi did a wonderful job matching the right cheap speakers to the head unit. You'll be surprised how much bass response you get, as I was. In general I have been happily surprised with the great *balance* of the car audio. You get a really nice, seemingly flat frequency response, which I prefer as I don't like to alter the artist's intended balance on a recording.
Yes, you do have the crank it especially on the highway. You'll probably have the car stereo turned up to at least 2/3 power most of the time. But the good news is that the last third or so of volume is plenty powerful for standard music listening and taking phone calls via bluetooth. Cranking the system all the way gives you a slightly uncomfortable but not ear splitting level of volume, with no distortion at all in the speakers. Again: credit to Mitsubishi engineers for having things so carefully balanced.
The infotainment system is great and apple car play and android auto work well (I use and love Apple car play). This is not standard in all cars even now, and is a huge reason (for me, not everyone cares) why a new car purchase made far more sense than a used car where it was highly likely I would not get these features. Using my phone's navigation apps was a pleasure, as was spotify, weatherology, and varsity for listening to college basketball games.
This is all right in line with my loaded Pacifica, better than the Kia, and obviously vastly better than my old Hyundai Accent (that car had a generic radio, so I installed a cheap head unit that had USB/SD card slots- that was HARD lol, those cars weren't made to be aftermarket radio install friendly lol).
A few things I hate, but aren't worth dinging the car on because this is the way all cars are made now or aren't common features:
-No CD Player or AUX input (yes, I KNOW I CAN PUT SONGS ON A USB STICK lol, I'm just old school)
-Wireless Carplay would be nice.
-XM Radio being actually ready out of the box, instead of requiring an additional tuner doohicky (though I don't plan on using XM because screw subs amirite?).
Whizbang Features and Doodads: 9/10
The fact is, you get a lot of stuff for the money on this car, something that I find baffling that more reviews do not mention. The BE edition includes (though I think most of this is on all Mirages):
-Lane departure warning
-Forward collision detection
-Rain sensing wipers
Some people don't care about this stuff, some do, I'm just glad to have them. Note that backup cameras are legally required and all cars have traction control now, so I'm not counting that for or against.
Rain sensing wipers work well. The auto-high beams work fine, but it seemed like in my ten days so far that I have to toggle the auto-high beams each time I drive, which is weird if true and annoying. I should also note that the high beams are maybe the weakest I've ever seen, though they still work fine.
Forward collision detection did kick in when a car veered a little into my lane, so I can confirm that the functionality works well. I'm happy to have this.
Lane departure works just fine but it isn't as robust as it is in my Pacifica. It doesn't add steering inputs and uses a little "chime" warning sound that can easily be drowned out by your car stereo. Glad to have it, but I've seen it implemented better in other cars.
I would have been neat if Mitsu could have added blindspot detection, because at that point they'd really be handing it to the competition.
Again, though, I rate this all highly because you just aren't going to find cars this loaded at the current MSRPs.
Gas Mileage: 10/10
To nobody's surprise, I would rank this as a perfect score, as even the grumps at the car enthusiast sites admit that the Mirage is a champion on this front.
I have been thrilled with my Mitsu's gas sipping ways. Yes, driving on freeways at 80mph is going to really reduce the effectiveness of the car. In fact, my Pacifica van can probably equal the efficiency of the Mirage at those speeds (that big boat can actually sustain over 30 mpg on the highway in the right conditions).
But, of course, for all of your normal, daily driving, wow, holy smokes, it SIPS GAS. I get 40+mpg on the dash cluster all the time. These are HYBRID car type numbers, folks. And poke around these forums: you'll find various users putting up ridiculous MPG numbers due to careful driving.
Here is where my new car whips my old Kia Soul thoroughly. The MPG on the 2012 Souls were so bad, Kia was forced by the American government to create a restitution program. In short: Kia had to *pay me the difference between their advertised MPG and actual MPG.* So even driving the Mirage in conditions that reduce its efficiency (faster highway driving) doesn't let the old KIA win out- I still get at least 2-5 mpg more on the highway in this ride than the old Soul !.
And keep in mind, "bad" MPG for me so far has been like 32 MPG. That's "bad" for this car.
As a commuter car: 9/10
As a family car: 5/10
In 2012 when I was car shopping, we had a small family of 3 and did not own a van. We needed something that would double as a commuter AND a family car for vacations and road trips. If that's you, the Soul or some crossover SUV is going to be a better fit. That said, one selling point for me is, unlike many other small cars, the Mirage does give you four doors and decent, useable backseats that aren't clown-car like (kind of an amazing achievement). So if a need arose and I needed to fit my whole family of four in this thing, it can be done and done quite reasonably.
As a daily commuter car, however, this is near perfect. For me, the only thing lowering my overall rating as a commuter is just a few creature comforts not being present, such as more USB ports, no mood lighting, no center console/armrest. I also dislike that push-to-start isn't standard as I prefer that to using a key in 2023. You can only get push to start on the SE model, which is odd to me since the BE edition looks way cooler.
Overall, however, in my ten days of driving I have found this car to be fun to drive- surprisingly so- while being super fun to look at, comfortable to sit in, and of course efficient in fuel usage. 100% if you are car shopping you should consider this vehicle, especially if you are not thrilled with taking a risk on a used vehicle. Mitsu's standard warranties are some of the best in the business. This is probably the last car you can realistically get new at an affordable price- its competitors (Rio, and, er, ah... yikes, not many left) typically MSRP for thousands more now, regardless of what the base trim MSRPs are. Give the Mirage a look and AVOID THE HATERS.
Last edited by rohoGames; 03-26-2023 at 05:01 PM.
Reason: spotted typos
View my fuel log 2023 Mirage BE 1.2 automatic: 36.5 mpg (US) ... 15.5 km/L ... 6.4 L/100 km ... 43.8 mpg (Imp)