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MetroMPG 06-09-2014 08:56 AM

Review notes: I've got a 2014 Mirage 1.2L 3-cyl 5-speed for a week. Any questions?
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I have a borrowed base model Mirage 5-speed for a week.

What do you want to know about it? If you have questions - fire away!

Disclosure: car & insurance provided by Mitsubishi. I'm not a journalist - don't believe anything I say. Also, I paid my own train fare home after returning the car to a Montreal area dealership.

Of interest to EcoModders...
  • We just took the car in the 2014 SMCC Economy Run in Montreal, and unfortunately flushed our chances in the corrected standings with a navigation mistake. But the car turned in a respectable 3.98 L/100 km / 59 mpg US on a challenging course.
  • Aero modifications test: for the SMCC run, I did a handful of quick aeromods to the car: grille blocks; mini-kammback addition; front air dam; passenger mirror replaced with smaller convex one; passenger wiper delete. I managed to A-B test these mods (collectively) at 90 km/h (~55 mph):
  • Speed vs. mpg numbers: we already got some for the 5-speed thanks to EM member niky in a Philippine spec car, but I will be repeating them with this one as well.
  • CVT vs. 5-speed real world test: last November, I compared the fuel economy of the two transmissions on a test drive in Ottawa. I'm hoping to do a slightly more controlled version of that test this week against a CVT Mirage running at the same time on a 25 km city/rural highway route.
CVT vs. 5MT commute fuel economy comparison hopefully coming this week.

General observations...

First, anything I write here should be taken with a grain of salt. I've read literally over 150 reviews of this car, and seen lots of blatant contraditions on subjective things that are presented as facts. If you're curious about this (or any) car, the only opinion that matters is your own... just go try one.

With that out of the way, overall, I quite like it.


The engineers aimed for efficiency, and achieved it through remarkably low weight (sub-2000 lbs for the manual), good aerodynamics (0.28 Cd), and an efficient engine.

Owners are reporting it's easy to beat the EPA ratings of the car in "normal" (not eco) driving. The 5-speed is rated 34 city / 42 highway / 37 combined by the EPA. The CVT is rated higher, at 37 city / 44 highway / 40 combined.

I'm seeing ~57 mpg US (4.1 L/100 km) in mixed driving on the current tank, which has been about 15% city, 85% highway (at ~90 km/h / 55 mph). That's with basic eco-driving (no P&G, but shutting the engine off at/approaching long stops).


The 1.2L, 3-banger is a hoot. I love the sound it makes when you push it, and it's relatively quiet when you don't.

For those of familiar with the Geo Metro/Suzuki 1.0L engines, this is far more refined and more efficient. It's got 74 hp (instead of 55), yet gets essentially the same fuel economy.

Europe gets the choice of a 1.0L or 1.2L engine. I'd would choose the 1.0L in a heartbeat if I could. It's ~65 hp.


The clutch is the lightest I've ever driven (makes the Metro/Firefly feel like driving a truck), and the shift action is buttery smooth. It's not snick-snickety fun like a Miata, but it's very easy and pleasant to drive.

Of course like many manuals it revs too high on the highway: ~3k RPM at 100 km/h (62 mph). The Euro Mirage has a taller final drive than the North American cars... a future source for mods/swaps?


I'll save my biggest criticism for the suspenders (and I'll also note this is entirely a subjective issue).

This isn't a taut handling car; Mitsu went all out for comfort (possibly because the car sells in big numbers in developing countries where the roads may not be particularly smooth). So if you prefer a compliant ride, you'll be pleasantly surprised: it soaks up bad roads like a champ and feels like a bigger car in that respect.

However if you like to push it a little on bendy roads (which admittedly very few owners ever will), there is a surprising amount of body roll. Ultimate grip is OK (for a little economy car) when the suspension loads up and takes a set. But with so much suspension travel, quick transitions are definitely a weak point. Enthusiast owners are adding aftermarket rear anti-roll bars to the car, and I would too.

I'll post more impressions later. Questions welcome!

niky 06-09-2014 10:46 AM

YES! You've got one!

Be very, very interested in what you get with aeromodding... and to see if your speed-mpg graph comes close to my own (you'll be using a calibrated Scangauge, right?)... be interesting for me to see where I could have done better... that average mpg meter is really, really limiting.

MetroMPG 06-09-2014 11:05 AM

Yup, I've got a calibrated SG, and will collect speed/mileage this evening when the wind dies down.

Yes, while I'm happy to see a fuel economy computer (with two separate, resettable gauges) in the Mirage, its interface/usability leaves a lot to be desired! I could dedicate an entire article just to that. :D

California98Civic 06-09-2014 11:53 AM

Subscribed! Some quick and dirty CAD aeromod coast down testing would be awesome. Pile a bunch of the usual suspects onto it: grill block, airdam, wheel skirts, and such. The mods need not be built to last long, just long enough to sustain ABA coast down testing. Also, how susceptible to engine mods might it be? And does it have one of those irritating "awlways on" climate control AC systems?

EDIT: I forget... is this available in the USA?

MetroMPG 06-09-2014 12:14 PM

Are you asking if the U.S. gets the Mirage or automatic climate control in the Mirage? :D

The car is available in the U.S. It's actually out-selling Canada on a per-capita basis, which is a little unusual (we tend to buy smaller cars at about twice the U.S. rate). Sales south of the 49th are about 2x higher than the company originally predicted (a modest 7k/yr).

As for climate control: I don't know. The base Canadian Mirage which I'm driving has no A/C (the base U.S. car gets it though).

MetroMPG 06-09-2014 12:28 PM

disappointment: winter tires
My biggest disappointment by far is the tires: this "media fleet" car is still wearing a set of winter boots! They don't feel very LRR -- the blocky, siped treads are soft & squirmy in the summer heat.

If it had the OEM Dunlop Enasaves on it, I was going to try to organize a low speed coastdown comparison between them and the Bridgestone RE92's from a 1st generation Insight: they're the same size, at 165/65R14.

MetroMPG 06-09-2014 10:03 PM

Aeromods results posted
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Originally Posted by niky (Post 428742)
Be very, very interested in what you get with aeromodding...



...your speed-mpg graph
I headed out to get numbers this evening when the wind died down, but then it started to rain so I aborted the mission!

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 06-10-2014 04:12 AM

If its design was not so bland it would be a sucess in Brazil. Well, actually many customers would rather like its discrete design instead of the fancy subcompacts currently available here...

California98Civic 06-10-2014 08:42 AM

Quick cardboard wheel well skirts, maybe? Could be duct taped onto the inside of the wheel well, possibly. They only need to last a short while. I take it you're doing "A" with the mods and "B" without and then calling it a day. That means the mods only need to last a very short while, no?

MetroMPG 06-10-2014 09:47 PM


Originally Posted by California98Civic (Post 428908)
Quick cardboard wheel well skirts, maybe? ... I take it you're doing "A" with the mods and "B" without and then calling it a day. That means the mods only need to last a very short while, no?

Oops - I already did the test. Mods are off! Yes, I suppose I could have taped on some half cardboard skirts. I plead being tired and just wanting to get it done.

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