Why Autojournos Who Hate The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Are Missing The Point

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage.

Say hi to the car everyone in the motoring press loves to hate.  Well, most everyone.  There are a few of us willing to stick our necks out and say that there's a place for basic....very basic...transportation.  And the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is that.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage.

All this talk of it being a third-world penalty box is, in my view, the whining of people who've become very accustomed to and spoiled by driving 52-plus cars per year, some of them very enticing machines indeed. But there are those of us who remember our roots.  Compared to the 1960 Ford Falcon sedan and 1964 Falcon wagon my parents had and the 1966 Falcon sedan that was my first car (all three with exactly two options...an AM radio and a heater), the Mirage ES with its auto-off halogen headlights, fog lamps, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper/washer, automatic climate control, 140-watt audio system, USB input, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and power locks, windows and mirrors may as well be a loaded Sedan De Ville.

Tinny? Tiny?  You're talking to the guy who bought a '73 Pinto new.  Fragile? Let's talk about my '75 Mustang II, which sold new for about twice (adjusted for inflation) the $15,195 MSRP of the Mirage ES we tested and was falling apart at 40,000 miles.  And none of the above...not one of them...got an EPA estimated 37 miles per gallon city or 44 highway.

No, 74 horsepower isn't much.  But neither is 19-hundred pounds and change, which is the curb weight of the Mirage.

Interior view of 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage interior.

This one even had navigation and a backup camera.  A $900 option.  With $795 destination and handling, that brings the bottom line to $16,890.  And that's where I begin to scratch my head a bit. Now, opt for the base DE model with a 5-speed instead of the CVT in our ES and you can get in for $12,995 plus destination...a shade under $14K. You give up seat adjustability, cruise control, radio buttons on the steering wheel and some brightwork, but you save a couple grand.

Trouble is, you can beat that price, get more room, more car, for only a bit less mileage with the Nissan Versa sedan.  We reviewed the '12 model in February of that year, but the base price has only crept up to $11,990 and though we haven't had a tester recently, Navigator (the finest traveling companion one could ever have or wish for) owns one ( a 2013 model), so I've spent a considerable bit of the last six months in the passenger seat or behind the wheel.

Still, if parking space is at a premium and if that extra few MPG makes a huge difference to you, don't be put off by the naysayers.  The Mitsubishi Mirage is a car someone needs to be making and selling in America.