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Thread: A Weekend with a Mirage Rental

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    Senior Member festiboi's Avatar
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    A Weekend with a Mirage Rental

    So, I love to rent cars and have been looking for a rental agency that carries Mirages. I continually see Mirages around LAX with the rental car scan codes on them, but couldn't figure out who was handing them out to lost and confused tourists. My typical hangouts; Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis didn't have them. After scoping them out last weekend, it turned out to be Budget. They had a whole fleet of Mirages on their lot in almost every color. Jackpot!!! I could relate to when Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean.

    This weekend I reserved an economy car and was hoping for a Mirage. The rental agent wanted to upgrade me, and I told her I specifically wanted a Mirage. Not a problem, she had one handy. Although she did say I was the first person to ever request one.

    There was a moment of excitement in the sea of Focus', Lincolns, Impalas, and Sonatas as I scanned the lot for my chariot. Finally found it; a gray DE with 6k miles. It has a CVT, of course, which is a disappointment but I was mainly hoping to get a feel for the handling and steering issues doing daily errands, and maybe doing a fun day through Southern California's mountains. So far, I'm impressed. Compared to the Charade, it is a rocket, but not quite as fast as the Focus.

    We'll see how it goes and I'll write a full review at the end








    Last edited by festiboi; 05-10-2014 at 07:03 AM.

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    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    looking forward to your review

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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Me too.

    I wonder what proportion of Mirage sales are to rental fleets...

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    . Looking forward to it . There's a Budget 70+ miles from us . No Mirage seen at the site .

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    Senior Member festiboi's Avatar
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    Okay, I just drove the Mirage 400 miles through the variety of landscape that Southern California has to offer. Together, my trusty Mirage and I went through deserts, beaches, cities, freeways, and mountain grades. We started at sea level in West LA, and got to 5,000 ft in elevation at times. It was a pretty thorough test.

    Here are my quick observations:
    -The front seats proved to be very comfortable for eight hours of driving. My back had no aches after all that time
    - There's much more space upfront than a Ford Fiesta or Mazda 2, and I didn't feel cramped at all. I love how the dashboard sweeps inward below the radio, opening up kneeroom. The console and door panels were not at all intrusive.
    -The engine isn't the quickest, that's no surprise. But it does like to rev and does feel peppy. It didn't feel overly strained going over grades or merging. Full throttle accelerations aren't quick, but in everyday driving, it's fine. The only time the car seemed to struggle was accelerating on a steep uphill slope when I turned onto a busy highway.
    -The engine is buzzy when accelerating, but levels out. Once at cruising speed, it's not too noticeable. There is a lot of wind noise at 70mph, but if the car is cruising at 55mph, like on a country road, that seems to be the sweet spot and it's a pretty quiet cabin.
    -Handling, as reviewers have stated, is terrifying at first. The first few curves were met with squealing tires, oversteer, and tons of body roll. Where a Ford Fiesta begs for more, the Mirage says "I'm going to kill you!" However, after about 100 miles of hilly driving, I learned the car's limits and it can be quite entertaining if you stay within them. It doesn't inspire driver confidence, but once you get past the body roll, grip isn't too bad and the car can be fun.
    -The steering feel is reminiscent of my Dad's 1967 Chevy truck- it's light as can be and it just takes one finger to steer. Although this doesn't bode well with curves or cloverleaf interchanges, it does pay off in dividends in city driving and tight spaces
    -The ride is supple and performed well over some rough roads; a testament to the car's third world origins.
    -Visibility is excellent all around with large windows and generous glass area. Much less claustrophobic than an Accent or Fiesta hatch. The side mirrors don't extend out enough to cover the adjacent lane; a convex mirror would be a simple solution to fix that
    -Overall, the car felt well built and durable; actually very rugged
    - Radio reception was poor; stations I can get on other cars during this long trip were just static on the Mirage. The power button on the radio did not work and the radio could not be turned off. When playing a CD/MP3 in "random" mode, the radio would occasionally forget to keep it random and would play songs in order. Funny enough, my Aveo back in the day had the exact same issue.
    - Controls are easy to use and see; there's nothing gimmicky, silly, or overly complicated. Ford, are you listening?
    - There's a lot of unexpected thoughtful touches, especially considering this is the base DE. Auto-up driver's window, auto-off headlights, and three-blink Euro blinkers all add to an upscale feel.
    -On that note; Mitsubishi's priorities on features are a little bizarre; climate control and keyless entry come standard, but simple features like an armrest, rear seat pocket or coat hangars don't come on any US Mirage. I was also surprised that there was no "flash to pass" feature for the high beams. Unless I'm missing something, almost every non-GM car I've ever encountered has this
    -Vibration from the three-cylinder is barely noticeable; I've felt more shaking from Kia four-cylinders than this car. "Mitsubishi Massage", as stated by a reviewer, pfff!!!
    - The Mirage felt stable on freeways and felt like a much larger car once up to speed.
    -It is sensitive to cross-winds, and fuel economy took a nasty nosedive with some desert winds
    -Speaking of which, I averaged 46mpg on the first tank, and am getting 41mpg now
    - I forget that the Mirage only has a 9.2 gallon tank. Although fuel economy was good, I went through the tank faster than expected. On a remote stretch of road, I had 60 miles remaining on the tank and at that point a random sign stated that the next gas station (I hadn't seen one for hours) was 50 miles away, along with two mountain ranges in between. It was a white-knuckle ride when the distance to empty gauge just started flashing with 38 miles to go. Finally made it to a station, and was delighted when it cost only $31 to fill up.

    It's not a perfect car, and we all know that. But it is a fun, simple, honest-to-goodness vehicle and it is very good at what it's intended purpose is: offering comfortable, safe, and economic transport. It also represents how far minicars have come since the days of the Charade, Justy, and Metro; the Mirage is downright civilized compared to them

    One other goal of this test is to prove that the Mirage can indeed be taken on a long trip and far away from its comfort zone in the city, and yes, survive unscathed. Sure, it's intended purpose is to be a city car, but when needed, it can climb mountains, cross deserts, and tackle a twisty, demanding road in comfort. It also proved that I, as a self-proclaimed, car and driving enthusiast did have fun in the Mirage; in a James May push-it-to-the-limits but see how efficient it can be, sort of way

    I took my husband tonight in it. He knows nothing about cars, but was impressed with the level of equipment on the DE. "Are you sure this is the base model?" he kept asking. He liked it overall and thought it could be a good eventual replacement of his 2008 Aveo

    On the other hand, I had my best friend, a fellow car fanatic, drive the Mirage and was unimpressed, stating it was slow, handled terribly and sounded like a lawnmower. He did say the car is "cute" though. But feels that an Accent or a Fit are a better....ahem...fit for me. Maybe, but there's just an appeal to the Mirage that the others don't have

    That's not the full review, there's a full day of testing tomorrow too, but here are some pictures from today:



























    Last edited by festiboi; 05-11-2014 at 04:38 PM.

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    Senior Member silverstreak's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I'm enjoying your review thus far.

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    Very well done review.

    You're experience tracks with mine. Like all cars, if you learn the limits of the vehicle and stay within them, you'll have a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

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    Senior Member Donut's Avatar
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    thx a lot, there are some truly nice views in your trip.

    How about the temperature in your rental? It was a black Mirage after all. Did you use AC and or did you compare fuel economy with and without AC?

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage DE 1.2 manual: 47.8 mpg (US) ... 20.3 km/L ... 4.9 L/100 km ... 57.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Alpha_One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by festiboi View Post
    I was also surprised that there was no "flash to pass" feature for the high beams. Unless I'm missing something, almost every non-GM car I've ever encountered has this
    It does. To use it, pull the stalk around halfway. If the stalk "clicks" the high beam will toggle, if you just pull it halfway through before you feel the click, the high beams will simply flash.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 manual: 33.3 mpg (US) ... 14.1 km/L ... 7.1 L/100 km ... 40.0 mpg (Imp)


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    Well done report and those photos are wonderful . Can't wait for the second one . I take it the 46+ is with 2 people in the car . Could you get pics of the display showing the miles on tank and overall gas mileage along with the bar left on the fuel gauge ? Appreciate you time and effort . Better than many online car sites and their expert reviewers .


    Last edited by cinder; 05-11-2014 at 02:59 PM.

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