5.23.2016

Don't Believe Everything You Read On The Internet: The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT
The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT.
For two and a half years now, most of my fellow TireKickers (automotive journalists) have been writing about how the Mitsubishi Mirage is the worst car in the world.  Or at least the worst new car for sale in the United States.  Some do it because it's easy and they think no one will ever test-drive the Mirage and discover they're wrong.  Some do it to be funny.  And some, frankly, do it because they wanted a 600-horsepower somethingorother, but that week, the press fleet folks brought them a 74-horsepower Mitsubishi Mirage. The review becomes a 500-word temper tantrum.




Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT.
Despite all the very bright people I've had the pleasure and honor to meet in 19 years of writing about cars, the best insight I've ever received was from Jim Ellis, a Ford dealer in Bishop, California and an old friend of my dad's.  It was early September, 1970.  I was 14 years old and had ridden my bike down to his lot to check out the new 1971 cars.  I expressed a negative opinion about more than a couple of them, at which point Jim put his arm around my shoulder and said "Mike, we have a saying in the car business: There's an ass for every seat."

The more PC way of phrasing it is "Every car is good for someone."  That's been the guiding philosophy since I launched TireKicker 8 years ago, and in the TV and radio reviews I did for the 11 years prior.

While the Mirage is generally viewed as a city car, circumstances required Navigator and myself to take it up to Mendocino County and back, on winding, twisting roads.  We put about 600 miles on the Mirage GT in a week, and found it to be more comfortable than many, with good usable space, strong fuel economy (EPA estimate 37 city/43 highway), and a surprisingly good audio system.  Was it fast? No, but neither was it slow...the 74 horsepower is moving a car slightly under 2,000 pounds.  Drive it moderately up to any speed you choose (it's comfortable at 80) and it won't disappoint.  It's not the best for mashing down the throttle and roaring up a freeway on-ramp...making more noise than forward motion.  But that's not what the car is for.

Interior view of 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT interior.
For $16,495, the Mirage GT comes loaded.  Fog lamps, rear spoiler, variable wipers, power mirrors, an automatic climate control system, a newly-upgraded audio system with Apple CarPlay and a rear-view camera. Ours had no options, and after adding $835 destination and handling, it rang in at $17,330.

And that is the only point where I begin to have issues.  For that money, you can go for a mid-range Nissan Versa Note hatchback,  Spend a few hundred more and you can be driving a loaded Toyota Yaris 5-door or a Honda Fit EX.  Even in base form (the Mirage ES manual at $12,995), you can get a base-level Nissan Versa sedan for a thousand dollars less.

So, no....the Mitsubishi Mirage is not the worst car in the world, America, or anywhere else.  It has a lot going for it.  It just isn't the best value for your dollar.

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