Lately, I've noticed some Mirages sitting on the lot at Advantage Rent A Car near LAX (the only other agency renting out Mirages locally was Budget). With their $10/day rates, it seemed like a great idea to make a booking with them for my road trip to Las Vegas this past weekend. Of course, rental agencies can never guarantee a particular make and model, but I was hoping it'd be one of their Mirages.
Imagine my disappointment when they gave me the keys to a red base Hyundai Accent sedan with 35k miles and stains all over the seats. Luckily, I did spot a sapphire blue Mirage without plates tucked away in the corner of the lot. I asked them if it was for rent and if it could be had instead of the Accent. "Sure, not a problem". Within minutes, the Mirage was mine and all was right with the world! I was lucky too, this particular one only had 113 miles and still smelt brand new and had yet fallen to the horrors of rental duty.
For the next three days, I was able to drive the Mirage 600 miles and through a variety of landscapes. Much of it was once again out of the Mirage's intended urban lifestyle and comfort zone through deserts, high speed highways, and long, steep grades.
Here are my observations, starting off with the bad...
Just some key features were missing:
-A SCAN button would have been nice on those lonely roads instead of continually pressing the TUNE button
-My husband had wished for a center armrest
-The sunvisors don't do a great job of covering the desert sun shining though the side windows. Extenders would help
-The CVT would occasionally have a small "kick" while sitting at a standstill
- The seat fabric on the driver's seat was already starting to bunch, even after such little use.
-Steering of course had the usual numb, lifeless feel. It is strange how the car refuses to straighten itself after a turn
Now the good:
Overall, we really liked the car...a lot. We even affectionally named it "Nicki Mirage"
-The car never, ever felt underpowered at all. The little 3-cylinder kept up quite well and I never felt wanting for more power. I even love the growly engine note, grrr!!!!
-The handling itself is pretty stable, and the car does feel grippy. It even felt fun. Maybe it was my imagination, but this '15 didn't feel as tipsy or floaty as the '14 from last year
-There's so much room inside. The front seats actually feel a lot roomier than the Fit. My 6'4'' husband feels like the Fit's dash imposes a little into the footwell, but that wasn't a problem in the Mirage
-All of the controls were simple and logical
-Visibility is amazing and it's so easy to park
-The car felt stable at all speeds and was not impacted by the gusty winds or passing semis
-Seats were comfortable for the five hour trip each way
-The trunk handled a weekend's worth of baggage with ease with the seats up
-Although to a price point, all of the materials and workmanship felt durable and solid. I couldn't find anything misaligned or sloppily built
-The suspension easily soaked up harsh bumps and rough roads
-And I do love the styling of this car. It was sitting next a Chevy Spark rental at our hotel, and to me, the Mirage looked more substantial, less silly, but actually more fun (if that makes sense), especially in the color.
I do know it was an DE, but I did miss my cruise control, but it also forced me to more involved with driving the car.
My husband, who knows little about cars, was really impressed with the room, the driving experience, fuel economy, and all of the standard equipment ("this is a base model?" he would exclaim)
But most of all, the fuel economy was outstanding. Despite terrible LA traffic heading out and continual uphill grades, we averaged 41mpg over those first 250 miles, which cost $17. However, thanks to lighter traffic and even with some steep grades and going a constant 70mph, I managed to get an amazing 52mpg. It only cost $12 to fill up.
I walked away from the Mirage impressed. Not only did it offer hybrid-like fuel economy, but it was fun, comfortable, and unlike my Fit, nothing fell off, creaked, or filled with water (long story). Looking back, I wish I had gotten the Mirage because it is an amazing car! The entire time I was scratching my head as to why all of these reviewers tear into the Mirage so much. They really need to try it on a longer drive
Right before the big trip at home:
The first fill-up in Las Vegas:
Checking into our hotel
Start spreadin' the news
New York! New York!
Little car in the big city
Not a good vehicle for jousting
This DE seemed to have a foglight switch. Did I miss something or did Mitsubishi make a mistake with the wrong stalk?
Hitting the town!
The bright lights suit this car
Only in Vegas
The gorgeous sunset driving back to Los Angeles
The highest fuel economy average we got heading back 52.5mpg in Baker, about 100 miles from Las Vegas
After 150 more miles and some hills, we averaged this once back home in LA, 52.1mpg. Amazing!
$12 to drive 250 miles!? Who needs lady luck at the casinos when the Mirage will save you money?
Lastly, I kept thinking of this ad and felt like this couple. Even though we are probably less than half their age, the irony was there (at 0:09)