This month's Car in Review is a zippy compact car by Mitsubishi — the 2015 Mirage ES. With a starting price of just $14,295 (with manual transmission, $15,395 for CVT), an Eco mode and some nice little add-ons included, it was a fun ride to test out for a week-long experience with the family. Want to know what it's really like? Keep reading for my honest opinion about how this car handles, fits a family and who I think would fit it best.
- 4-doors: Because getting a child car seat into a 2-door is a pain and the insurance is typically better due to higher safety records.
- Years of Warranties: The fact that this car comes with a 5-year or 60,000 mile Bumper to Bumper Warranty is grand, the 10-year/1000,000 mile Powertrain Warranty is a must, and the 7-year/100,000 mile Anti-Corrosion Warranty is a plus (new one to me) . . . but the fully transferable 5-year Unlimited Miles Roadside Assistance is exceptional. This is a huge plus in a first car for your teen, or for a parent with tots.
- Hatch and storage: I simply love hatchbacks. Mostly because they come with a rear windshield wiper, but they're also great for cargo storage. I really like how the hatch storage in the 17.2 cubic feet of storage in the Mirage is inset so my trunk items stay in place and aren't at level with the car seats.
- Power & Steering: Once in the 40-60 mph range this car does really well. The Mirage ES handles U-turns smoothly (the kind that require a 3-point turn in my crossover SUV and other sedan), and makes it simple to snag a last-minute parking spot without having to readjust your spacing at all.
- Design: This car is super cute — It's so sleek that it can get away with bright loud colors and still look ultra-hip. In fact, there's 8 gorgeous colors to choose from!
- Eco Mode: It's so great to have a car that's smart enough to know when efficiency is needed, and the gas saving is a plus. I started my week with a full tank and still needed to fill up twice, but I put 6515 miles on this car, so it did fairly well. The Mirage has a 37 mpg city and 44 mpg highway rating with an average of 40 mpg.
- In-Dash Navigation: We used to use Google Maps, then our phones . . . this is WAY better. The 7" MMES navigation touchscreen with 3D mapping, speed limits and expanded points of interest interrupts any music or call to announce directions. It also shows the best route based on traffic and alternate routes! The nav also allows you to store destinations and keeps a history of previous destinations in case you have a repeat drive and don't want to retype all the info. Perfect for a teen figuring out how to drive to different locations, or anyone driving somewhere new.
- Hands-Free Phone: You can connect your phone to the car via Bluetooth, upload your address book and make calls simply by pressing a few buttons on the touch screen. The calls come in through the speakers and you're hands-free chatting! This is a great safety feature for teens and parents alike.
- Backup Camera: Once you've had one there's no way you would want to go back. Whether your neck can't turn that well or you simply forget to look sometimes, this camera saves you from hitting anything or anyone, and typically comes in higher priced vehicles.
- Rear Bench Seats: Need to bring something bigger? No problem! The 60/40 bench seats folds down for even more storage(47 cubic feet of space), and there are little slots inside the car for the seat belts to tuck in snuggly so they're out of the way when not in use.
- The Price: The Mitsubishi Mirage was named Most Affordable Vehicle by Cars.com, and so far I'd have to agree. It's rare to find a car with all of the above features and add-ons under the $17,000 starting range (and they're website says they're giving $1,200 back until July 31).
- Window Workings: The driver's window rolls all the way up with just one flick of the mirror button, but you have to hold the button the entire time for all the other windows.
- Seat Settings: Though easily adjustable, they could allow for more upright seating, and maybe use a motor to move the seat instead of a crank.
- Mirror Adjustments: You can't adjust the side mirrors unless the car is running. I think it would be a better safety feature and gas saver to allow use of this adjustment when the engine is off.
- Hatch Storage: This feature is on the plus side but also the minus side simply because if you're a mom uses a stroller it won't fit (though I didn't test an umbroller). If you're a babywearer then the hatch trunk space is perfect because it's covered (no fading fabrics) and inset (no flying around). Teens and college students will like that they have just enough room for a weekend away, dirty laundry on the down low, and maybe even a few bags of books.
- Power & Steering: Though it handles U-turns great, actual turns to the right or left felt a bit stiff (at least the first few days as I got used to the car and in comparison to the U-Turn ability). Since it isn't quite a 4 cylinder engine, I could hear it working double time any time I needed to accelerate onto a hill.
- Noise: If you don't have the air or music on the outside sounds of the road can be noisy. It's a bare bones compact car with add-on features at a budget price, so this makes sense.
- Power Plugs: There is just one adapter in the car, and it's in the front near the driver. Personally, I think two should be the standard in all cars since a person charging in the back can't reach their device unless they have a specially ordered longer cord. This may not be as a big of a deal with teens or single adults, but as a parent who always has a phone or device on the verge of running out of power while also having a child who I need to give some sort of device to in order for there to be peace on the drive it's important.
Teens, Single Parents, Families with 1-2 compact car seats (infant bucket seat or forward facing 5-point harness seat). Driving the Mirage reminded me of driving my first car as a teen. Even though I didn't have a car with higher power, it felt zippy and was fun to drive around (especially with last-minute turns). I think the great price, basic features with some added upgrades for safety and a parent's peace of mind (in-dash touchscreen navigation and a lot of great warranties) and cool design makes it an ideal car for first-time drivers/teens and college students. There's enough room to fit 4-5 teens for a day-long adventure, and it's dependable for the trip.
I wouldn't recommend this car for a family of more than 1-2 kids simply because of the space inside the car and the size of kiddo car seats. I put my daughter (4) in her forward facing spare car seat since our rear-facing Clek wouldn't have fit in the back, and even with her in the center of the seats we could feel her feet digging into our seats (though this isn't an issue if your kid doesn't do that). I think some bucket infant seats would fit the car easily, but you would have to test it first.
Have you ever driven a Mirage, what are your thoughts? Have any questions? Comment below!
A 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage was provided for one week to conduct this review. All opinions are my own.