It's been a long time since I've been on here...... 2015 in fact. That was when I was considering buying a Mirage and was obsessed with them (still am). I ended up buying a '15 Chevy Sonic instead and we also bought a '16 Spark for my husband later on. But the Mirage still catches my eye as a cute, solid value that doesn't get the credit it deserves.
Rental car rates were unbelievable in this COVID world, and rates in LAX were $2.61 per day or $22.50 per week. That's in US currency....... So on a recent lengthy road trip, it was cheaper to rent a car than drive my own and I specifically requested a Mirage as my rental car, and guess what? Dreams really do come true. I was given this '19 Mirage ES with about with 25k miles.
Upon receiving it for such a long trip, I was apprehensive when all of the negative press reviews came flooding back, but decided it would be a good test of strength and durability.
So, after 2,600 miles, how did the Mirage (nicknamed "Little Nicky") and I hold up? Did we still get along at the end?
The Mirage was a trooper. It proved itself being out of its urban comfort zone through most of the journey. The trip involved twisty roads clinging to the ocean, lofty mountain passes in excess of 8,000 feet, long stretches of open freeway, and lonely two-lane highways that are typically reserved for semis.
Never once did the Mirage feel underpowered and it was able to climb long steep grades without drama. My 6'4'' frame was comfortable the entire journey. I had plenty of room to find a comfortable driving position and my butt never felt sore in the seats after daylong drives. The same cannot be said for some luxury cars I've rented in the past. There were no rattles or issues after a year of rental abuse. The handling of this car was grippy and fun on the curvy roads. And I averaged 46mpg each day, but managed to score over 50mpg regularly.
Nothing was perfect, and my only complaint was the desire for a centre armrest (I know, resolved in the higher trim) and if I'm going to be nitpicky, some of the interior materials are very basic.
Contrary to the "professional" reviews, the Mirage and I survived. And if anything, my admiration for the car grew stronger. I wouldn't be against owning one if the circumstances steered me that way. I do like my Sonic better, but actually see the Mirage as being more refined than a Honda Fit I once owned (now that was a penalty box!). It was sad to return "Little Nicky" at the end of the rental.
After only having experience with the '14 and '15 models, I did have these observations about the '19:
-The steering felt tighter and not as loose
-The suspension felt stiffer and not as wallowy. The composure around tight curves was impressive
-The interior seemed quieter than before; almost refined. Maybe there's been more sound insulation added?
-This being the base model model, it came with an impressive amount of equipment that was optional before; bluetooth, cruise control, backup camera, and touchscreen. The base ES is perfectly fine and I don't see a need to upgrade to a higher trim
Here are some pictures of the journey:
Sun sets in Cambria, California
CE131613-678D-4E4B-A38C-8D976A8AF5E1 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
9AD9578C-3E66-49DF-9ABA-81BACD13A30B by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Golden Gate Bridge
02216A8A-F3E6-4337-B61D-5B37232E7E05 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
5C3631BD-FE9F-431C-8374-5F6E90A3E13D by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Coastline north of Fort Bragg
3AA03918-7FDB-4FC3-8560-B2A5D816BD80 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Forests of Mendocino County
BE44CC89-975B-491E-ACC3-24648743C701 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Coastline north of Eureka
6FEF0A3B-9EC7-4233-BF51-8D4557062A43 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Redwood National Park
A6BD9084-6668-49A6-BD90-AB40393272F8 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
The Bigfoot Highway and Klamath River
3221C2F3-452A-41A8-A46B-E7EE06B2937C by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
BA07A1F1-76B7-42F1-9C98-C703E0167C0A by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Mt. Lassen National Park
3EE810F9-9095-457F-8AC2-C6C18192A06C by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
51mpg after a 250 mile drive
03FEC695-01FF-42ED-BF8A-17A50D7BE1F0 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
A bladder-busting range
5CC47B2B-0367-49F1-B886-8A4FC2F4E468 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Virginia City, Nevada
010B3A77-FAC6-4BCB-9A9C-DCB22E7949C8 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
The Mirage fits the setting of "Bonanza" perfectly
02598470-F98B-4B44-948C-6353C23152DF by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
The Northern Nevada desert with a vehicle more basic than the Mirage
94110BA4-E384-40F1-8ACF-E2D86837416B by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Hitting snow at 8,000 feet in the Sierra Nevadas. I had better luck here than the Donner Party thanks to the Mirage
797C65C5-B04A-4897-9351-7C9E951F5C22 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
19CEB099-3356-474E-8678-DD22ABDAD39A by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Bridal Veil Falls
8AEE2B51-A5E4-40BD-9D52-4162EBA5DE7C by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Mariposa County and Gold Country
576FD39E-E363-40F1-8610-B91C47B9EAE3 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
81134EEB-DC08-4B68-B41B-037D58603997 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
73459F17-6A92-4161-9818-630FEF6DDE4A by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
B9A45EDF-5030-4D85-9A33-901AB8E204B6 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
So many new features in the '19!
2EEE2206-0D67-44CD-9202-F31F721250F9 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
Zero complaints about this engine
A60C2680-9E48-457C-901E-14E53F07E851 by Ryan Glass, on Flickr
In case you didn't believe me about the $2/day rental rate
C8E379B3-D921-4F7E-B09D-4378715B416D by Ryan Glass, on Flickr