I started as a Geo Metro owner. My Metro ran faithfully for 5 years up until just recently when the head gasket failed and I determined it wasn't worth the $$$ to keep the Metro running any longer. Sold the Metro for parts having been solidly addicted to excellent fuel economy, I picked up a 2014 Mirage ES in Plasma Purple. I loved the car, the color is eye catching and sparked conversation wherever I took it. Having driven the Metro for so long, it was a natural transition.
The wife however wasn't as thrilled with the Mirage and since I plan on keeping the wife longer than I plan on keeping the car it was time to go shopping (again). My first stop was to www.fueleconomy.gov to see who the closest non-hybrid competitor to the Mirage was. The result: Ford Fiesta SFE Hatchback with 1.0 turbocharged Ecoboost engine.
I hunted one of these Fiestas down and gave it a test drive. The dealer in question gave me the keys and let me tool around in town solo. I spent about 25 minutes driving around town and immediately I noticed the difference in acceleration. The Fiesta sports 124hp for the Mirage's 74 and it was readily apparent.
Other notes, having had both now:
--> The Ford rides and handles better - the body roll is not evident in hard corners in the Fiesta.
--> The Mirage has better audio options: trying to put an aftermarket deck in a Fiesta is a nightmare because of the Ford SYNC hardware, and lack of a standard 1DIN or 2DIN cage.
--> Mileage is comparable, with the edge going to the Mirage in the city. I miss the push button keyless start. Gauge options between the two are comparable.
--> Steering wheel controls between the two are nearly identical.
--> Ford has heated seats and a heated side view mirror.
--> I prefer the Ford shifter. The Mirage shifter is fine, but the Ford does a better job of conveying when the car is solidly in gear. Hard to pinpoint exactly but it certainly 'feels' better (firmer) when shifting the ford.
--> The clutch spring in the Mirage is nothing compared to one in the Fiesta - I could see my legs getting tired in heavy traffic and with the Mirage that would have never been an issue.
--> Cabin noise is similar between both whether in traffic, or when stationary.
--> The Ford offers better peripheral vision.
--> Mirage stock wheels are 14" Fiesta is 15" Wheels are wider on the Fiesta.
--> It cost an extra $40 to get the Fiesta windows tinted due to two small triangular windows on each side front and back.
--> Seats about the same as far as comfort with maybe the edge going to the Ford.
--> A tad more space in the hatch in the Fiesta.
--> No fog lights on the Ford, and they are not available as a dealer purchasable accessory afterwards.
--> I know the weathertech mats fit the Mirage perfectly, the set I have coming for the Fiesta won't arrive until Saturday, so no data yet.
--> The Mirage is less expensive than the Ford by about $2-2.5K new.
For reference, I traded my Mirage against the Fiesta with only 1500 miles on it. I was given $10,500 in trade value. The Fiesta was used with only 4k miles, had a price of $13,3k and I paid the difference of $2800+tax.
I certainly hope Mitsubishi adds a turbo to the Mirage, it would certainly bring me back to take a look. Hopefully they can reduce some of the body roll issue in a future model.