The Mitsubishi Mirage is a subcompact car with a low starting price and the bare minimum of features customers expect from a new car. The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage comes in two body styles, a four-door hatchback and four-door Mirage G4 sedan, and offers just one engine option: an anemic 78-hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder. Though it's light on power, the Mirage is remarkably efficient, achieving up to 36/43 mpg city/highway.
Mitsubishi has updated the Mirage inside and out for the 2021 model year.
How much are you willing to sacrifice to get into a new car? If you answered acceleration, interior quality, ride comfort, and any semblance of driving fun, the Mitsubishi Mirage might be for you. Introduced to the U.S. market for the 2014 model year, the Mirage is a subcompact car that competes at the lowest end of the new car price spectrum. As such, it comes equipped to meet customers' most basic transportation needs, though some would argue just barely.
When we first drove the Mitsubishi Mirage, we were struck by how poorly it performed in just about every metric except fuel economy. The ride is bouncy, and road noise is constant. Steering feel is virtually nonexistent thanks in part to abundant on-center slop. The 78-hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder transmits harsh vibrations to the cabin at idle, and at wide-open throttle the engine note is painfully thrashy. The worst part is there's little to no reward for all that huffing and puffing—we clocked a Mirage hatchback at 12 seconds from 0 to 60 mph.
Granted, this was when the Mirage was new to our market. But not a lot has changed mechanically. Even the G4 sedan, introduced for the 2017 model year, offers the same engine mated to your choice of five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. What has changed is the exterior sheetmetal and interior features. For 2021, the entire Mirage lineup undergoes face-lift while also gaining new features that could strengthen its value proposition, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen, standard forward collision intervention, available LED headlights, and more. We'll have to drive the refreshed Mirage to find out if the updates change our opinion of the Mirage.
For now, the Mirage's best attributes are its low starting price, high fuel economy, generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.
If you're expecting performance, you should look elsewhere. The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage comes equipped with a 1.2-liter inline-three-cylinder engine that makes 78 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque. That mill is paired with either a five-speed manual or CVT transmission.
The trade-off for the Mirage's lack of grunt is its high fuel efficiency. The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback is EPA-rated 36/43 mpg city/highway with the CVT and 33/41 mpg with the manual. The Mirage G4 is rated 35/41 mpg when equipped with the CVT and 33/40 mpg with the manual.
For 2021, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is standard on all Mitsubishi Mirage models. Also standard is hill start assist and a tire pressure monitoring system. Lane departure warning and automatic headlights are available. All Mirage models come with dual-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags, and a driver's knee airbag.
In IIHS testing, the Mirage hatchback receives Good scores in all crash tests except the small overlap front driver-side evaluation, where it scored Marginal. The NHTSA awarded the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage an overall four-star rating.
In hatchback configuration, the Mitsubishi Mirage offers 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. That expands to 47 cubic feet when you drop the 60/40 split-folding rear seats. The Mirage G4 sedan has 12.4 cubic feet of trunk space.
Being a subcompact car, the Mirage is tight on passenger space but can seat up to five people. Those in the back will have 34.2 inches of legroom in the hatch and 37.3 inches in the sedan.
New for 2021 is a standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also standard is a rearview camera, automatic climate control, Bluetooth streaming audio, a four-speaker audio system, and a USB port in the center console.
The base Mirage ES is the only trim level you can get with a five-speed manual transmission. A CVT automatic is optional. Both the ES hatchback and G4 sedan get a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, soft-touch cloth, faux-carbon-fiber window switch trim, and 14-inch steel wheels with silver wheel colors as standard.
Upgrading to the Mirage LE gets you a standard CVT and alloy wheels (14-inch alloys for the hatch and 15-inch wheels for the G4 sedan).
New for 2021, the Carbonite Edition adds a unique carbon-fiber pattern grille, front and rear valance, side skirts, and B-pillar decals with contrasting red accents.
At the top of the range is the Mirage SE, which builds on the LE's equipment by adding LED headlights, halogen foglights, automatic high-beams, sideview mirror-integrated turn signals, a chrome-accented gauge cluster, fabric and faux-leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, hands-free keyless entry, and push-button start. SE hatchback models receive 15-inch alloy wheels.