Fuel Economy, Price & Warranty Parks The Mirage Next To Your EV
The purpose of “Garage Mate for Your EV” is to help select a companion for your electric car that meets your household’s needs. That might be a fuel-efficient crossover SUV, a minivan, a pickup truck or, in this case, a small sedan.
Mitsubishi’s New Mirage Sedan
The Mitsubishi Mirage took a break for the 2016 model year, and when it returned this year it added the G4 sedan to compliment it’s popular hatchback.
The G4 name stands for “Global 4-door”; the little fuel sipper has been on sale in other countries before making its arrival in the US.
There are three reasons the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 grabbed my attention: Fuel economy, price and warranty. It’s a credible choice for the frugal-minded that combines great gas mileage with a five-passenger sedan for the times when EV driving range just isn’t enough.
As for fuel economy, the G4’s EPA highway rating of 42 mpg earns it a membership in Clean Fleet Report’s 40-mpg club.
Overall, its 34-mpg city/42 highway and 37 combined, when equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road that isn’t a hybrid.
For those who prefer do-it-yourself shifting, fuel economy is 33-mpg city/40 highway and 35 combined.
When it comes to price, there are few subcompact car choices that cost less. Mirage G4 is offered in two trim levels: ES and SE, the latter only with a CVT. The ES manual is priced starting at $13,995 plus $835 destination charges, a $1,000 more than the Mirage hatchback. The ES with the CVT is $15,195, while the sticker price for SE is $16,995.
Finally, the Mirage G4 offers buyers peace of mind with a generous warranty of five years on the car and 10 on the powertrain, longer than the industry norm of three and five years respectively.
How Mirage G4 Achieves Its Fuel Economy
There are several contributors to the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4’s stellar fuel economy, beginning with a 1.2- liter three-cylinder engine. It’s a rarity now, but expect more three bangers in the near future. Thanks to a lightweight aluminum engine block, in total the engine tips the scales at less than 170 pounds. It has a high compression ratio of 10.5:1 and incorporates Mitsubishi’s latest edition variable valve-timing system.
Output from the three-cylinder is 78 horsepower and 74 pounds-feet of torque, one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the class.
A common complaint about subcompact cars is a loud engine, and the Mirage joins the crowd. Around town it purrs about with a sound akin to a diesel engine. Call for more power and the noise becomes fairly raucous.
As you may have noticed, a G4 with a CVT delivers better fuel economy than one with a manual transmission. That‘s the upside.
The downside is a rather lazy throttle response away from a stop and a propensity during rapid acceleration for engine speed to race ahead of actual vehicle speed, resulting in a feeling not unlike a warn clutch slipping on a manual transmission.
Enemies of fuel economy are vehicle weight and aerodynamic drag. The Mirage weighs in at just 2,172 pounds—the lightest sedans available in the U.S.—and has an enviable low coefficient of drag of 0.28.
Handsome Looks, Lots Of Standard Features
The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 won’t elicit oohs and aahs from passersby, but it is a somewhat handsome little grocery fetcher.
The new sedan shares overall aesthetics with its hatchback sibling. However, there are some notable differences, starting up front. The grille is larger with three wide slats rather than the hatchback’s mesh insert.
The lower bumper is different, with a central air intake bookended with bracket-shaped fog light surrounds. The hatchback’s lower intake is cut in half by a strip of polished trim. Both models have taillamps that wrap into the sides, but the sedan’s differ in design and shape.
Big doors allow easy entry and exit, but ring hollow with every slam. Inside, there is nothing fancy in the Plain Jane interior. Even though materials have been upgraded, materials-quality envy is a symptom of this car’s ownership. Soft-touch passenger-compartment surfaces are nonexistent. Also missing is a center armrest.
On a positive note, the center console is presented in high-gloss piano black with silver trim accents, and knobs, switches and buttons are easy to use.
Despite its diminutive size, there is a feeling of airiness inside. There’s even decent legroom in the rear seat—for two, not three—and there’s a center fold-down cup holder and armrest. Seats, front and rear, are sufficiently padded for daily driving, but long trips found me taking stretch breaks before it was time to refuel.
The trunk’s 12.3-cubic foot capacity can’t match the hatchback’s 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space, but given that Americans still shun hatchback cars, adding the sedan is a plus for those who would
never consider buying a hatchback.
Mirage may be an entry-level car, but it’s never been bare bones-equipped. For 2017, both the sedan and hatchback have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a standard feature. Other standard features for the base ES model include keyless entry; power door locks, windows and mirrors; automatic climate control; tilt steering wheel; and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and USB and auxiliary audio ports.
Stepping up to the ES adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, keyless ignition, cruise control, height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls) and shift knob and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional is a navigation package system with a rearview camera.
Driving The Mirage
Hybrid-like fuel economy comes with a price; the price is performance. In fact, the Mirage G4’s zero to 60 mph matches the Toyota Prius time of 10.1 seconds. This is perfectly acceptable for urban driving, which is what the car is all about, but head out on the highway and the three-cylinder required careful planning for any passing.
Steering was easy in the city, not so much on the open road with its lack of steering feel. As for tight corners, the 15-inch, narrow, low rolling-resistant tires didn’t provide a lot of grip. So, just take things easy.
When I didn’t, rippled or bumpy pavement tended to trigger motions in which Mirage’s body seemed at odds with what the suspension is experiencing. Even traveling in a straight line, wavy surfaces set the car to bobbing.
And yes, there were times during hard acceleration when the engine noise was annoying, but the really superb audio system covered up the diesel-like undertone during normal driving.
Mirage doesn’t pretend to be a “fun” car to drive. Its intended mission is a fuel efficient, inexpensive hatchback that serves its owners well in their daily lives of commuting to work, grocery shopping or going to the movies. It doesn’t over promise, but does keep its promise regarding fuel economy.
Our week with the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 turned the trip meter to 266 miles. The miles were split 60 percent urban driving, 40 percent Interstate and highway driving. Average fuel economy of our CVT equipped ES model was 44.3 mpg.
The Garage Mate For You?
Auto reviewers have penned some harsh criticisms regarding the Mirage G4’s underpowered engine and its ride and handling, along with what many consider a “cheap” interior.
Contrary to that, Mirage owner reviews are quite positive. Out of the fifteen or so owner comments I read, nearly all mentioned great fuel economy, some in the 50-plus mpg range. A couple of owners said the car was sort of fun to drive.
My recommendation is, read owner reviews and take a test drive. Make sure to drive routes you normally take, find some harsh road surfaces and drive at least 10 miles on the highway or Interstate. If possible, find a road where you can safely test brakes and by all means, parallel park the car—it’s easy.
When you’ve done that, I think you’ll find the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4’s fuel economy, price and features make it an ideal garage mate for your EV.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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