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Thread: Not One but Two Mirage Purchases!

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    Not One but Two Mirage Purchases!

    Last year, I made the decision that over the next year I was going to purchase two Mirages, one for me and one for the wife. I made this decision at least in part because this forum convinced me that these cars were cheap to buy, very reliable, very easy to work on, and the best mileage of any car on the road (that is not a hybrid).

    After asking some initial questions on this forum (here and here) I determined that, for me, the 2017 model year was the optimal year, as it was the most stripped version possible and there were no show-stopping disadvantages associated with that year. I also wanted ones with less than 30K miles so I could change the CVT fluid and know that the transmission was not ill-maintained.

    The plan was to spend the next year following the market and finding two low-mileage 2017's in the $10-$12K range. So, I've been looking for the past several months, and the markets I've been following are within a 500 mile radius of my city. That includes the Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Denver markets.

    Based on my anecdotal experience, plus all the news about how the dearth of new car production is really making low-priced used cars rare, I have noticed that Mirage prices are going up. I've been following these markets very closely for months and, despite the bad reputation, it seems to me that well-priced Mirages don't last long. Supporting that observation, just a few months ago, White Bear had brand new leftover 2022's for $16.9K, but now the cheapest new on they have is $18.1K. So, it really does seem like Mirage prices are going up, meaning my $10-$12K price range seemed to be in trouble.

    A couple of weeks ago, CarMax had a 2017 locally that had only 15K miles, but (in true CarMax fashion!) they wanted $15.9K for it. That's really low miles, but even in the context of the higher prices of late, that price seemed too high so I didn't buy it.

    Then last week, a 2017 with only 6,500 miles showed up on FB Marketplace at a dealer in MN for $13.9K. For that low of miles and given the apparently rising prices, I decided to go over my budget and get it. Flew to Minneapolis on Thursday (a week ago yesterday), bought it and drove it home. It's literally like a brand new car and I was pretty happy.

    Then yesterday, the one at CarMax was reduced to $14.9K. Still not at my budget, but given the crazy low miles and the fact that I had just spent $13.9K + $0.5K (flight, cost to drive back) = $14.4K on the first one, I figured that $14.9K wasn't that much more so I went ahead and bought it. It's also like a brand new car.

    So, while I was expecting to collect two cars over the year, by pure coincidence, I ended up getting both within one week of each other!

    Even though I got two virtually new 2017 cars and the fact that I don't think I had that much choice given what I'm pretty sure is a rising price market in used cars, I still feel like I overspent on both of them. However, I did some calculations that make me feel a little better about it.

    Using an inflation calculator, the $13.9K I spent on the first one would be equivalent to $11.3K in 2017, while the $14.9K I spent on the second one would be equivalent to $12.1K in 2017.

    Given that the MSRP for a new one (with CVT) was $14.2K in 2017, and the fact that I would not have qualified for many of the old White Bear discounts (military, loyalty, etc.), I think getting one for either $11.3K (~$3K off sticker) or $12.1K (~$2.1K off sticker) is probably about the best I would have done in 2017, and would have been considered to be a decent deal.

    The only difference is that I didn't do the deal in 2017, but instead time-traveled back to 2017 and did the deal in 2023! Which also means I have an additional six years of life due to the fact that the cars have been in a time-capsule from 2017 until today.

    So, while I don't feel like I got a killer deal, I think I did do ok on these deals, and even if I didn't, at least I did get exactly the cars I wanted in exactly the condition I wanted them in.

    Thanks much to this forum for answering my questions and for all the other discussions I benefited from in studying my purchase!

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    Congrats. Take care of them and they will serve you well.
    Resident Tire Engineer

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 44.4 mpg (US) ... 18.9 km/L ... 5.3 L/100 km ... 53.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post
    Last year, I made the decision that over the next year I was going to purchase two Mirages, one for me and one for the wife. I made this decision at least in part because this forum convinced me that these cars were cheap to buy, very reliable, very easy to work on, and the best mileage of any car on the road (that is not a hybrid).

    After asking some initial questions on this forum (here and here) I determined that, for me, the 2017 model year was the optimal year, as it was the most stripped version possible and there were no show-stopping disadvantages associated with that year. I also wanted ones with less than 30K miles so I could change the CVT fluid and know that the transmission was not ill-maintained.

    The plan was to spend the next year following the market and finding two low-mileage 2017's in the $10-$12K range. So, I've been looking for the past several months, and the markets I've been following are within a 500 mile radius of my city. That includes the Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Denver markets.

    Based on my anecdotal experience, plus all the news about how the dearth of new car production is really making low-priced used cars rare, I have noticed that Mirage prices are going up. I've been following these markets very closely for months and, despite the bad reputation, it seems to me that well-priced Mirages don't last long. Supporting that observation, just a few months ago, White Bear had brand new leftover 2022's for $16.9K, but now the cheapest new on they have is $18.1K. So, it really does seem like Mirage prices are going up, meaning my $10-$12K price range seemed to be in trouble.

    A couple of weeks ago, CarMax had a 2017 locally that had only 15K miles, but (in true CarMax fashion!) they wanted $15.9K for it. That's really low miles, but even in the context of the higher prices of late, that price seemed too high so I didn't buy it.

    Then last week, a 2017 with only 6,500 miles showed up on FB Marketplace at a dealer in MN for $13.9K. For that low of miles and given the apparently rising prices, I decided to go over my budget and get it. Flew to Minneapolis on Thursday (a week ago yesterday), bought it and drove it home. It's literally like a brand new car and I was pretty happy.

    Then yesterday, the one at CarMax was reduced to $14.9K. Still not at my budget, but given the crazy low miles and the fact that I had just spent $13.9K + $0.5K (flight, cost to drive back) = $14.4K on the first one, I figured that $14.9K wasn't that much more so I went ahead and bought it. It's also like a brand new car.

    So, while I was expecting to collect two cars over the year, by pure coincidence, I ended up getting both within one week of each other!

    Even though I got two virtually new 2017 cars and the fact that I don't think I had that much choice given what I'm pretty sure is a rising price market in used cars, I still feel like I overspent on both of them. However, I did some calculations that make me feel a little better about it.

    Using an inflation calculator, the $13.9K I spent on the first one would be equivalent to $11.3K in 2017, while the $14.9K I spent on the second one would be equivalent to $12.1K in 2017.

    Given that the MSRP for a new one (with CVT) was $14.2K in 2017, and the fact that I would not have qualified for many of the old White Bear discounts (military, loyalty, etc.), I think getting one for either $11.3K (~$3K off sticker) or $12.1K (~$2.1K off sticker) is probably about the best I would have done in 2017, and would have been considered to be a decent deal.

    The only difference is that I didn't do the deal in 2017, but instead time-traveled back to 2017 and did the deal in 2023! Which also means I have an additional six years of life due to the fact that the cars have been in a time-capsule from 2017 until today.

    So, while I don't feel like I got a killer deal, I think I did do ok on these deals, and even if I didn't, at least I did get exactly the cars I wanted in exactly the condition I wanted them in.

    Thanks much to this forum for answering my questions and for all the other discussions I benefited from in studying my purchase!

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    Welcome to the his and her club mi amigo. I too was a victim of paying inflation prices for both our new Mirages. Would I do it again? You bet your sweet cheeks baby! The Mirage is still one of the cheapest, reliable, frugal, cars that are still available in the NA market.

    I too had the misfortune of wrecking my previous Mirage and being forced to pay post covid prices, my wife as well last year had to sell her 2017 Mirage G4 lemon (shady dealer, hid a shoddy engine replacement from us) and bought a new BE G4 2022. It sucked paying $18k twice within a year but they still fit our meager budget. Base Corollas are going for $29k OTD price these days. You take the best deal in a $hitty situation, that's all you can do sometimes. You made the frugal, wise choice, in selecting the proven Mirage.

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    Gorgeous cars and I think you did really well price wise. You are good to go for 12-15 years of no worry driving.
    Zero, 2014 ES Plus 5MT, written off but not forgotten.
    Zero II, 2014 SE, 5MT, climate She's HOME now!
    Shelby AKA "Cute", 2017 ES 5MT, A/C.

    Mirage owners look at the world differently than everyone else, but in a better way
    We're driving the Beetle of the 21st century, the greatest small car now available!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2017 Mirage ES PLus 1.2 manual: 39.0 mpg (US) ... 16.6 km/L ... 6.0 L/100 km ... 46.8 mpg (Imp)


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    It sounds like you really did your homework, & I would always recommend buying a slightly used, low mileage vehicle over a new one.

    White Bear's pricing was a bit unreal in 2017. WB was willing to let a 2017 ES manual go for $9,000. A CVT adds $1,200 to a trim level. I can't say that I really looked for sure, but my guess is a 2017 ES CVT would have gone for $10,200. I do know a 2017 SE manual would have been $9,800. Those were their prices before applying any of the three $500 rebates (VIP, Loyalty, & Military).

    Their pricing was nuts. I really think 2 ES CVTs would have been around $20,400 - $500 (you would have received the loyalty rebate for the 2nd one) = $19,900 plus closing costs. Closing costs were estimated at $1,000/car at the time. My guess is two 2017 ES CVTs would have been under $22,000 OTD (unless you have a higher state tax than Minnesota).

    You may have had to finance with Ally to get that price, however. I financed $10,000/60 months/4% with Ally to get $500 off of my car. I refinanced the car as a used car at my local credit union for 2.73%/60 months 3 months later. It cost me $30 to refinance my Mirage with my local credit union. I believe I was quoted 2.49%/60 months if I had financed a new car with the credit union. None of this really mattered all that much to me, because I was going to pay off the car somewhat quick.

    The past is the past, & I'm not sure any of that really matters today. What may have cost $22,000 OTD in 2017 would be more like $39,000 OTD today (I am just doing a rough estimate in my head/don't quote me on this)! The price difference is quite drastic, but it is what it is.

    I don't think anyone can compare their deal today to the deals of 2017. Huge Mirage discounts disappeared around May of 2021, and I don't see any signs of them ever coming back! I think you have to look at your deal in today's market. Two new Mirages is going to cost somewhere around $39,000 OTD or more. My guess is you saved a hunk of change going the slightly used route, & I would feel good about that. Mechanically, nothing has really changed since 2017. It's not like a 2023 Mirage is going to give you more horsepower or better fuel economy. If you were a terrible driver, you may like emergency braking (but it's not a feature I would pay extra for).

    The only appealing change that happened to the ES since 2017 was the addition of factory cruise control in 2019+ in my opinion. That is one feature/perk I would pay a little extra for, but cruise control can also be added to any car.

    Given the lack of other choices today (try buying a new Ford or Chevy car), I think the Mirage has that going for it. Other cheap options don't really exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basic View Post
    Congrats. Take care of them and they will serve you well.
    Thanks-- proper maintenance is definitely the plan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler View Post
    Welcome to the his and her club mi amigo. [...] You take the best deal in a $hitty situation, that's all you can do sometimes. You made the frugal, wise choice, in selecting the proven Mirage.
    Agree-- the market is what the market is at any given time, and you just have to do the best you can. And I do feel like I made a wise choice with these cars!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallythacker View Post
    Gorgeous cars and I think you did really well price wise. You are good to go for 12-15 years of no worry driving.
    Yes-- the plan is to basically drive these cars forever. In a previous life I was a mechanic, and I currently have plenty of shop space and tools to work on cars. However, modern cars are so damned complicated I don't really enjoy working on them. The Mirage (especially the 2017 ES!) is so simple-- they remind me of the cars of my youth. As such, I plan on doing any work necessary myself. So, I really do plan on having these cars over the long term-- both in years and miles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    [...]I can't say that I really looked for sure, but my guess is a 2017 ES CVT would have gone for $10,200. [...] Those were their prices before applying any of the three $500 rebates (VIP, Loyalty, & Military).
    So, MSRP for a 2017 ES CVT was $14,900, and you're saying that at that time I would have paid around $10,200 to get a CVT ES from White Bear. In inflation-adjusted dollars I just paid $11,300 and $12,100 ($11,700 average) for the two I got.

    That means that, on average, my cars were $3,200 below sticker, and $1,500 above the White Bear price. That sounds like a decent deal to me, so I'm still feeling ok with the deals I got.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    You may have had to finance with Ally to get that price, however.
    I didn't finance either of the ones I bought. Used car loan interest rates are nuts right now. I asked about the rates and they said I'd be lucky to get under 8%! No way...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    The past is the past, & I'm not sure any of that really matters today. What may have cost $22,000 OTD in 2017 would be more like $39,000 OTD today (I am just doing a rough estimate in my head/don't quote me on this)! The price difference is quite drastic, but it is what it is.
    I think if you actually do the inflation calculations, you'll find that the real (i.e., constant dollar) prices are not wildly different. And to the degree that they are different, it's because we're in such a strange market post-pandemic.

    I follow CarDealershipGuy on twitter, and he has quite a bit of data to indicate that the 3-year supply-chain restriction on new car production has really squeezed used car availability today. Quality, low-mileage, low-priced, economy used are becoming rare, which is putting pressure on prices.

    So, in a way I feel lucky to only have paid about $1,500 over what White Bear was asking in 2017.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    I don't think anyone can compare their deal today to the deals of 2017.
    Agree for the reasons stated above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    My guess is you saved a hunk of change going the slightly used route, & I would feel good about that. Mechanically, nothing has really changed since 2017. It's not like a 2023 Mirage is going to give you more horsepower or better fuel economy. If you were a terrible driver, you may like emergency braking (but it's not a feature I would pay extra for). The only appealing change that happened to the ES since 2017 was the addition of factory cruise control in 2019+ in my opinion. That is one feature/perk I would pay a little extra for, but cruise control can also be added to any car.
    Totally agree on all of the above!, And it's why I generally always buy used cars. Another reason I went used is that I really didn't want forward collision warning, a backup camera, screen on the dash, etc. The only nod to automotive modernity I prefer is fuel injection. In many ways, cars of the 1980's had the combination of low-tech simplicity + fuel injection that I prefer, and the 2017 Mirage is like a throwback to that era.

    Cruise control is definitely something that I want, and I will be installing aftermarket units on both cars this summer. But that is literally the only mod I can think of that I want to do on these cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post

    Totally agree on all of the above!, And it's why I generally always buy used cars. Another reason I went used is that I really didn't want forward collision warning, a backup camera, screen on the dash, etc. The only nod to automotive modernity I prefer is fuel injection. In many ways, cars of the 1980's had the combination of low-tech simplicity + fuel injection that I prefer, and the 2017 Mirage is like a throwback to that era.

    Cruise control is definitely something that I want, and I will be installing aftermarket units on both cars this summer. But that is literally the only mod I can think of that I want to do on these cars.
    I think you are going to be happy with your two cars!

    We think alike about many features. For those old enough to remember cars with carburetors, fuel injection was a huge step forward. My first car had a hand choke that you had to pull out on the dash when cold starting the car. Any car I owned with a carburetor had somewhat expensive carburetor issues. I don't miss carburetors on cars!

    Although I would recommend used over new, there have been times when buying new was an easy decision. When Ford offered a $1,000 rebate on a $6,300 1990 Ford Festiva L (designed by Mazda, built by KIA, sold by Ford), I snatched one up for $5,300. The push behind that purchase was a Plymouth Horizon that kept giving us carburetor issues whenever it was extremely cold outside (& a few other quirks). 1990 Ford Festiva became fuel injected that year, too!

    I miss base model cars that were somewhat cheaper to purchase. My 1990 Ford Festiva (1.3L, 63 hp, 5-speed manual) didn't have anything associated with the word power (brakes, steering, door locks, windows, etc...). Even simple little things like A/C, cruise control, intermittent wipers, tachometer, rear wiper blade, passenger side mirror, & radio/antenna/speakers (those were added later for about $200) were missing. No air bags, traction/stability control, or ABS brakes were found on these economy cars back then. I drove that car for 14 years, & I didn't miss any of the above features. It was easy to remind myself that this was a $5,300 car that provided affordable, reliable, economical transportation.

    I only mention all this, because a 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES has all of those missing features listed above. I miss base level cars that were more affordable. Mirages are quite loaded with features & only $2,000 split the difference between a base ES and top level SE in 2023.

    Most of my recent vehicle purchases have been slightly used vehicles. The exception has been economy cars that are highly discounted. When White Bear was selling brand new Mirages for $7,500-9500, that caught my attention. I stewed on it for months (two daughters got married that year & tapped my savings, too). In the end, I just couldn't overlook those deals. When Richard of WB offered to deliver one to my home for that price, I really couldn't pass on that. In hindsight, I am very happy with my purchase. I'm saving wear & tear on my older Forester & plan to go 10-15 years without a vehicle payment. I can find other places for my money.

    If I was shopping for a car today, I would be back to what you did recently. I would be looking for a slightly used vehicle, and I would be willing to fly somewhere & drive it back home if the deal was right. I totally get where you are coming from!

    It's nice to have multiple Mirage owners on the forum! They are some of the nicest souls on here! You are in good company!

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    Jim, I agree proper maintenance is definitely very important.
    Get a FSM if you haven't already, there is a link somewhere in this forum.
    You may want to look underneath and de-rust, undercoat and paint the axle bodies if it's not too late.
    Also make sure you always have more than two keys.

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    I don't think you could have done any better in 2023 for essentially brand-new cars. The prices are what they are now. I hopped on this forum absolutely thrilled to have gotten a brand new car for MSRP under 20k- that's my perspective as someone who hadn't been in the car market seriously since 2011. Fortunately I have absolutely no perspective on missing out on the 9500 dollar cars, I wasn't in the market then, and it is what it is. Also I really respect your hustle in making those deals happen: hopping on a plan to nab a good car buy, that's a boss move!

    I'm going to back in the car market in about 8-10 months for my daughter. I'm hoping she takes a shine to my mirage, as there may be numerous used ones in the market that would be a great first car for her (though that said, I really wish they hadn't dumped the plasma purple color- we saw one of those in town today and she loved it, would be a much easier sell if more of those existed!).

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log 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)


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    Quote Originally Posted by rohoGames View Post
    I don't think you could have done any better in 2023 for essentially brand-new cars. The prices are what they are now. I hopped on this forum absolutely thrilled to have gotten a brand new car for MSRP under 20k- that's my perspective as someone who hadn't been in the car market seriously since 2011. Fortunately I have absolutely no perspective on missing out on the 9500 dollar cars, I wasn't in the market then, and it is what it is. Also I really respect your hustle in making those deals happen: hopping on a plan to nab a good car buy, that's a boss move!

    I'm going to back in the car market in about 8-10 months for my daughter. I'm hoping she takes a shine to my mirage, as there may be numerous used ones in the market that would be a great first car for her (though that said, I really wish they hadn't dumped the plasma purple color- we saw one of those in town today and she loved it, would be a much easier sell if more of those existed!).
    Just make sure you give her extra driving lessons if she's going to driving a Mirage. It being so under powered and having only "OK" safety ratings requires, IMO, solid experience in defensive driving.



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