The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 sedan offer good fuel economy and a roomy interior, but in just about every other category that matters they come up short. From the anemic 3-cylinder engine to the crude interior to the poor steering response, the 2018 Mirage can’t hold a candle to rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Versa.
You'll Like The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage If...
If you like the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage’s styling and long warranty, and aren’t put off by its hard interior plastics, non-folding rear seat (G4 sedan) and 12.5-second zero-to-60-mph time, then by all means have it.
You May Not Like The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage If...
Mitsubishi’s 2018 Mirage hatchback is fairly inexpensive, but so is the better-built, better-equipped Nissan Versa. A Ford Fiesta will give you better performance, features and comfort, as will a Honda Fit and Kia Rio. For the money, even a nice used compact would make a better choice.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage ES gains a new touch-screen audio with Bluetooth and a rearview camera. The G4 gains a much-needed trunk pass-through, while a driver’s-seat armrest is added to the SE/GT and Mirage G4 SE.
Improvements to the interior this year include a new touch-screen audio system, rearview camera and a relocated USB port. Sadly, soft-touch surfaces aren’t among the positive, and the Mirage offers no padded elbow rest, although it does gain a driver’s-side center armrest this year. The supportive seat padding and cloth suggest comfort, and the seat heaters are remarkably efficient, but the lousy seating position makes it hard to actually get comfortable. And there are cheap touches everywhere, like the Bluetooth microphone gracelessly tacked on top of the steering column.
While we wouldn't call the 2018 Mirage ugly, it doesn't benefit from the cutesy charm of some other jelly-bean-like subcompacts. The hatchback and sedan feature a large chrome grille with a handsomely detailed lower bumper. The trunk gives the little car a more mature persona, and while it offers decent cargo space, the rear seats don't fold down as they do in the hatch, although there is a pass-through for longer objects. The Mirage G4 is available in a few eye-catching colors, such as bright orange Infrared, or the purplish Wine Red of our test car.
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. Fuel economy is good so long as you’re not in a hurry to get where you’re going. Any sense of urgency, however, requires constant full-throttle maneuvers that quickly torpedo those rosy EPA numbers. The 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine isn’t big on power; with a mere 78 ponies it requires a leisurely 12.5 seconds to achieve 60 mph. The engine is also quite loud at full throttle, a fact exacerbated by the CVT automatic transmission that keeps the tachometer near redline anytime the engine is asked for peak performance.
The lowest Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage is on the ES hatchback, which starts at about $14,260 including the $865 destination charge. The automatic transmission adds $1,200 to that price. The G4 sedan starts at about $15,260 with a manual. A fully equipped Mirage G4 SE is automatic-only and starts at a little below $18,800. While those prices are low, they're also not much better than a variety of competitors, like the Nissan Versa or Honda Fit. No matter what you decide, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid; it's a good chance it's well below sticker. As for resale, the Mirage is not expected to hold its value particularly well.
The basic 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 comes with air conditioning, tilt (but not telescoping) steering wheel with controls for audio and Bluetooth, and power windows, doors and mirrors. Also standard is keyless entry with an alarm, a USB port, and a 4-speaker touch-screen audio system with rearview camera. It's a little sparse, but not surprising considering the low base price. Safety features include hill-start assist, seven standard airbags, including a driver's-side knee airbag, and stability control. That of course is on top of the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, which in base models is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Foremost among the options is the automatic transmission, which we recommend since the manual is hardly the best. Most options are available as standard equipment in the higher-level SE trim on sedans, or GT on the hatchback. They include push-button ignition and entry, and the upgraded audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Automatic climate control is also part of the upgraded models, but curiously a stand-alone navigation system isn't available; presumably Mitsubishi has decided whatever smartphone you're using will suffice. Also available on the SE/GT models is cruise control controlled through steering-wheel buttons.
APPLE CARPLAY/ANDROID AUTO
A pleasant surprise in any subcompact, the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With these apps, the audio system connects to your smartphone allowing you to access texts, maps and music all via the 6.5-inch touch screen.
Similar to what Hyundai and Kia offer, Mitsubishi’s 2018 Mirage and Mirage G4 subcompacts come with a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty at no extra cost.
Under the Hood
The only engine available in the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder with a modest 78 horsepower. 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.
78 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
74 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/40 mpg (manual, sedan) 33/41 mpg (manual, hatchback), 35/42 mpg (automatic, sedan), 37/43 mpg (automatic, hatchback)
Among the many subcompact cars one can buy, the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan wouldn’t be our first picks. Why? Because while perks like a frugal 3-cylinder engine and the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto impress, in just about every other category that matters the Mirage comes up short, especially when compared to such established competitors as the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio. The 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage’s styling is far from memorable, the interior materials hard and unwelcoming, the engine weak and the latest driver-safety assists nowhere to be found. On the plus side, the Mirage’s ride is comfortable, its CVT works better than most and it does have a large trunk.