$13,395 - $17,095

2018 Mitsubishi Mirage Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 5.5

The best thing about the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage's performance is its fuel economy, with one of the highest ratings among nonhybrid vehicles this size. But the good news stops there. The Mirage's acceleration is slow, its transmission is unrefined, handling is subpar, and the ride quality is harsh.

  • Combining a tiny three-cylinder engine with a CVT is a recipe for slow-moving transport. The underdamped suspension causes the car to skitter across midcorner bumps. The brakes at least work well." -- Edmunds
  • As with in-town driving manners, the sedan improves upon the hatch's highway performance, but not by much. The floaty ride filters out more road imperfections, but it still comes with an impressive level of wind, road and cabin noise, though a couple of notches below that of the hatch, I have noted. Overtaking is still something that requires some concentration and a healthy dose of realism, but overall, the sedan seems more able to execute some fairly tame maneuvers." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "Unfortunately, the noisy and leisurely acceleration aren't the end of dynamic problems. The steering's on-center feel is so bad you have to physically bring it back to center to ensure you don't just keep turning in a broad arc. The suspension bounces over larger bumps, and the Mirage leans heavily even in moderate corners." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Mirage comes with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and either a five-speed manual transmission (standard in the base model) or a CVT (automatic), which is included in all other trims and available in the base model. The engine is tuned to emphasize fuel efficiency over power and delivers some of the best fuel economy ratings among nonhybrid subcompact cars. Gas mileage is 35-37 mpg in the city and 41-43 mpg on the highway with the CVT. With the manual transmission, this decreases slightly to 33 mpg in the city and 40-41 mpg on the highway.

The Mirage is slow and noisy. It takes around 12 seconds to reach 60 mph – something to keep in mind when merging into traffic – and the CVT causes the engine to drone loudly.

  • The engine's primary duty is saving fuel, and it does this admirably, offering up to 42 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg in the city, numbers we normally associate with hybrids. The downside is that this isn't the most elegant powertrain. The engine vibrates noticeably at idle -- although it's better than it was before -- and at full throttle it sings a raspy, groaning song that will discourage exploring the reach of the gas pedal. Unfortunately, even if you just want to keep up with traffic leaving a stoplight, you'll need to floor it, which of course hurts fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Mirage weighs just a bit more than 2,000 pounds, but its engine is not up to the task. A zero-to-60-mph 'sprint' drags out in a laggardly 11.7 seconds. Merging and passing require extra caution." -- Edmunds
  • A 1.2-liter three-cylinder provides the power, driving the front wheels; in the sedan, this unit feels marginally smoother than in the hatch. Getting rolling still produces an intensely coarse and loud buzzing noise, but the Sport Mode (yes, there is a Sport Mode) seems to help with overtaking maneuvers despite producing an even greater amount of noise and plenty of revving. It's a three-cylinder, after all." -- Autoweek (2017)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Mirage has strong brakes, and its easy steering at low speeds is a plus when navigating parking lots. Between the two body styles, the sedan feels more polished than the hatchback, with a smoother, more composed suspension system. Still, the Mirage's ride and handling in general are poorly regarded compared to other cars in the segment.

  • Our 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan exhibited a smooth ride and strong brakes. Unfortunately, the steering's on-center feel is so poor we physically had to return the wheel to center or run the risk of continuing in whichever direction the Mirage was last pointed. On rough pavement, the Mirage's suspension is quite bouncy and the car leans heavily even in moderate corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Mirage offers little handling grip from its skinny tires, and the chassis is easily upset by any kind of midcorner road imperfections. It's also highly susceptible to crosswinds." -- Edmunds
  • Surprisingly, the Mirage sedan improves on some but not all of the Mirage hatch's long list of issues. The biggest improvement is the ride, which is no longer harsh and serves up decent damping in addition to generous helpings of body roll. The suspension soaks up broken pavement with less noise and fairly decent cushioning, along with some float. The steering setup also feels a little more balanced in the Mirage sedan, though the tail still has a tendency to overreact upon quick steering inputs below highway speeds." -- Autoweek (2017)

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