When I saw Jalopnik's review of the delightfully honestly cheap Mitsubishi Mirage, I thought I'd have a look at it myself.
When I stumbled upon Mitsubishi at this year's Chicago Auto Show, I was yet again kinda-sorta disappointed by what lay before my eyes. For a long while, Mitsubishi's cars have looked great on the outside, but kinda fell flat in the interior. Recent changes in their vehicle line have almost eliminated that, and the new Outlander is definitely a step in the right direction. But there are a few lingering things here and there...
Shoot, even the "refreshed" i-Miev features improved interior materials (I dreaded how the original one could cost more than a Leaf but be built like a Yugo). But the addition of 3 iPad Minis make it look awkward and tacky. Then having an iPad mounted ON TOP of the dash greatly hinders visibility...who thought this would be okay???
The Mirage though, takes a note from the first versions of the i-Miev (and probably even the first generation Chevy Aveo) and takes cheap and capitalizes on it. This car is cheap and is proud of it. I've decided that this car isn't an economy car, but a time machine.
Pull the paper-thin door handles, get inside, and you'll be instantaneously transported back to the late 1990s. The car's interior had been thoughtfully designed with all controls easily within reach. The seats are on the firmer side, but are overall a nice middle ground between the rock hard seats of a sportscar and the plush captain's chairs of an American conversion van.
Everything else in the interior is a throwback to the 1990s, from the monochromatic odometer to the exposed bolts in the door handles. The dashboard is rock hard and very reminiscent of 90's KIAs and Daewoos. Yet despite the cheapness, the vehicle feels nice to sit inside and the thing actually seems like it has a bit of character because of it.
The clever cost cutting can be found all over the car, from the 14 inch wheels (good luck finding widely available replacements for those pizza cutter thin tyres, unless you go outside OE size) to the single tether holding up the rear boot cover.
I'd never thought I'd say "Cheap and Cheerful" when it comes to cars, but I think the new Mirage could be a worthy candidate.
It even has a cheerful price, undercutting competitors like the new Honda Fit and the new Nissan Versa Note by at least $4,000. In higher trim levels you can tech it up with a touchscreen and power options (like the one shown), making it a possible heavy hitter in the marketplace.
I'd love to get my drive-on in one of these to see if it drives like it looks. And I wonder what the aftermarket will have in store...