This car is cheap. The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage is incredibly cheap. At $14,875 including destination, the Mirage's starting price undercuts every rival except the Nissan Versa. While that may make it more accessible, it doesn't forgive some of its flaws.

This car puts you in the penalty box for not spending. The entire interior is filled with cheap-looking hard plastics, sound deadening is non-existent, and the suspension rides harshly over the road. All in all, the Mirage fits right in with the economy cars of 30 years ago.

Driving this car on the highway may require a patron saint. The tiny three-cylinder's class-leading lack of power causes it to hang out at uncomfortably high rpms, while making hills much more of a challenge than they should ever be. Furthermore, the light weight, crude suspension, and thin tires cause it to feel anything but planted on the road. In short, we can't recommend driving this car on the interstate, but if you must, don't even think about leaving the right lane.

Great fuel economy. The tiny engine of the Mirage has a lot of drawbacks, but it does get the best fuel economy of any other vehicle in its class. When equipped with the continuously variable transmission, the Mirage manages an EPA-estimated 36 miles per gallon city, 43 mpg highway, and 39 combined. This beats out the Nissan Versa Note's ratings of 31/39/34 mpg (city/highway/combined), and the Chevrolet Sonic's high score of 27/38/31 mpg.

Keep in mind that the manual transmission that's standard on the base trim does rob the Mirage of a couple miles per gallon across the board. If you're looking for the last vestige of fun in the Mirage, be aware that there's a penalty there, too.

Don't crash. The Mirage has an abysmal safety rating, from both crash testing and a complete lack of active safety features. The IIHS rated the Mirage as "Marginal" in the small front overlap test, and as "Acceptable" for the side impact tests. While it may seem silly to deride the budget Mirage for its lack of active safety systems, most of its competitors have started to include certain safety features in their cheapest models.

Mitsubishi Mirage

At least there's some features. It isn't all rainy days ahead for the Mirage, as they have included some surprising features. All Mirages now get cruise control and air conditioning, as well as a standard 6.5-inch infotainment screen that includes Bluetooth as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (not even BMW includes that as standard!). There's also automatic climate control available at higher trims, which is downright luxurious compared to the rest of the car's features.

Final thoughts. The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage is the perfect car for Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who made a virtue of poverty and lived in a large ceramic jar. Since there are so many better options out there, choosing a Mirage is likely the result of one's inability or unwillingness to spend more.

The Mirage simply doesn't compete with other new subcompact cars like the Honda Fit, it competes with used cars. In fact, the Mirage compares unfavorably to many low-mileage and often certified used cars that can be had for the same amount of money. If you can't afford or are unwilling to spend the extra money on a Honda Fit or Kia Rio, then buy a used car that's already taken the depreciation hit.

All in all, there's no reason to spend your hard-earned money on a new Mirage.

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