The CVT automatic is smoother than the five-speed manual and returns better fuel economy – an EPA-estimated 37 miles per gallon in the city, 43 on the highway, and 39 combined. And that's where the good performance news ends.
The naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine is coarse and loud when pushed, which would be fine if there were some speed associated with its noise. But even with just 2,000 pounds of car to move around, the 1.2-liter struggles to produce anything close to adequate acceleration.
Making things worse is a suspension that, at speeds of over 50mph, is unable to maintain a consistent and balanced ride. It rolls like a dinghy in a hurricane through bends, to the point that you grow concerned it may tip. The Mirage is among the very worst handling cars on the market. The steering is dimwitted and slow, providing virtually no feedback about the front what the front wheels are doing. Perhaps the only thing the Mirage has going for it is a tight turning circle.
The suspension is utterly unable to cope with anything but the smoothest roads. Presented with a bump, the Mirage descends into an earthquake of jutters that feel like they'll shake the little car onto its side. Road noise is immense, although wind noise isn't so much of an issue – we'd wager this is because the Mirage struggles to reach a speed where wind noise even appears.