It's been two weeks since I received my new 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage SE, and I would like to give my impressions. I will keep this thread updated at various intervals when I have something to add.
Before I begin my review, I should give a little background information. From 1994 until 2006, I owned a 1991 Geo Metro XFI that I bought used with about 34,000 miles on it. The 1991 Geo Metro was a 3 cylinder 5 speed just like my Mirage SE. However, it had a 1.0 liter engine where the Mirage has a 1.2 liter engine. So the engine in the mirage is slightly bigger than the Metro's. My Metro reliably got over 50 mpg. I don't think I ever calculated the fuel economy to be less than 50 mpg. My Metro was an extremely reliable car and never once let me down on the road. Even when the engine finally died, it drove me over 200 miles home all the time choking smoke and spewing oil. When the Metro died, I was dismayed that I could not find any 3 cylinder cars. The Toyota Yaris was advertised as getting 40 miles to the gallon which was the best I could do so I bought it. I never really warmed up to the Yaris because it was not a hatchback, it was bigger than the Metro, and because it never did get 40 mpg. This summer, I was hit from behind and the insurance company totaled the Yaris. I had to get a car quickly so I took the insurance money and bought a used Fiat 500. But that sent me off on a journey to look at new cars and whether any were at all similar to my old Metro, and voila! I found the Mitsubishi Mirage. I had never heard of the Mitsubishi Mirage before and probably wouldn't have in the days before the internet because Mitsubishi doesn't advertise much if at all around here.
My experience with my Mirage so far has been great. It meets every one of my expectations and checks all the boxes. I don't think it is possible to get a car closer to the Geo Metro than the Mirage. I find the engine to exactly as expected, adequate and a little zippy, but without tremendous power. That's ok because my Metro was the same. According to the computer, I am getting well over 40 mpg with my last trip being 51.7 mpg. I have to rely on the computer at this point because I still have a half tank of gas after topping it off when I brought the car home. It is definitely getting substantially better fuel economy than my previous Yaris did.
The ride of the Mirage is smooth but not too smooth. I'm one who gets motion sickness if a car rides too smoothly. I can definitely say that the ride of the Mirage is better than that of the Yaris because I live back a lane that has potholes. I am well pleased with the ride. Road and engine noise is a factor as the professional reviews state (and harp on), but the road and engine noise is no worse and probably better than the noise in the Fiat. Even owners of the Honda Fit complain about road noise. So it's not a biggie when it comes to the Mirage.
I was initially hesitant to buy an SE trim because I didn't like the push-button start or the automatic air conditioner. Well, the push-button start has grown on me. I particularly like the fact that I no longer have to worry about locking my keys in the car because the keys are always in my pocket. I thought that pushing a button to start the car would be too different for my tastes, but I found it not much different than using a key. It works and works well. Now I have to be honest to say that I'm still not fond of the automatic air conditioner. I'd rather have a standard air conditioner which I know how to control well and which gives me greater control. I've been working the automatic air conditioner “manually” or as manually as I can. I will say the the air conditioner in the Mirage is great. It gives out quite cool air. This is in contrast to the Honda Fit because I've seen quite a few Fit owners complaining that their air conditioners are weak, a compromise to improve fuel efficiency on that car that has a larger engine and 4 cylinders. Even my previous Yaris had a very weak air conditioner.
I like the handling of the Mirage. It easily takes curves and feels like it clings to the road going around curves and up and down hills. This is in contrast to the Fiat which often feels like it could leave the road. Shifting gears appears to be pretty smooth, and I have not had problems that others mention. I don't think I have any alignment issues either, but I will get that checked out to be sure. All in all, great handling.
So what don't I like about the Mirage? I have a few little nit-picks that really don't add up to much. I wish the car would automatically lock the doors once the car reached 10 MPH like a lot of cars do. I like the feeling that the car is looking out for me. This seems like it could be so easy to implement as a locking option but, for some reason, Mitsubishi did not. Another, thing I would like is if the muli-information display (M.I.D.) displayed the gear number for manual transmissions as it does for CVT's. Sometimes I forget to shift from 4th to 5th gear (they are so close), and it would be nice if I could glance at the M.I.D. and see what gear I was in. Also, I'd like some features of the M.I.D. transferred to the large LCD infotainment screen. It would be nice to see the temperature displayed there. Finally, it would be nice if there were a compass incorporated into the car. I realize that is more of a wish than a necessity and could add cost to the automobile. All in all, these are small things that do not seriously detract from the enjoyment or the practicality of the Mirage.
To sum up, Mitsubishi has hit the ball out of the park with the Mirage to those of us who like 3 cylinder cars, great fuel economy, reliability, and who remember the Geo Metro. It is not a car for everyone. But it is the perfect car for some of us. I really love my Mirage, and if I had the money, I'd buy another.