There is something interesting going on at Mitsubishi – we’d like to be a fly on their walls during meetings to understand what could possibly draw them to the conclusion that after being on sale for the last couple of years what the American market needs is a sedan version of their smallest hatchback, the Mirage G4.
The Mirage G4 is not something that you nor I would actually consider walking into a dealership to purchase. It’s one of those cars that in a desperate situation of needing, you end up signing papers on and then end up with buyer’s remorse the minute you drive off the lot. But for the sake of this review, we’ll try not be such a bully.
With our sampler here peaking at $17,830 for the range topping SE, it comes with an array of charm and personality. Like some chrome garnish on the front grille, dark finished 15-inch wheels, and some fog lights. There is a base level Mirage G4 ES, but even with its low, low price – it wouldn’t be one to recommend. It’s not to say that Mirage G4 isn’t trying – it offers up modern technology like keyless proximity, a touch screen infotainment, back-up camera, Bluetooth, automatic climate control and heated seats – not bad… if they only decided to finish the car.
There is a certain presence of uncertainty – did they forget to finish the car at the manufacturer plant or did they just not care? Things like the Bluetooth microphone mounted on top of the steering wheel exposing the wire – looks like Velcro is holding it on. The Bluetooth speaker is also mounted atop the dash and the USB cord is dangling in the glove box – you’ll find it somewhere in there. At least when you do connect your smartphone device, the Mirage G4 is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – after all, your phone will be in the glove box. Even the keyless access was missing a button on the passenger side door where there’s an old fashion key hole.
Price to be a mass volume car – the Mirage G4’s interior is at least outfitted decently for an economy car. They used a series of tasteful plastics and finishes throughout to make it less of boring place to be. The seats here in a black fabric are soft to the touch and reasonably comfortable. There’s even adequate space in the rear for passengers not over six-feet tall.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce a very important part to the car, Harold. Harold is the mouse that powers this 2100lb sedan. Something you should know about Harold, he’s is a lazy mouse. His little 1.2-liter 3-cylinder wheel produces… wait for it… 78-horsepower. 4 more horsepower than the previous wheel. Harold is very lethargic, he practically refuses to get to 60 mph. When called upon, Harold gives a little cough through his CVT transmission and takes his sweet time getting up to speed. Acceleration from a stop light could be beaten by a man on bicycle – we know this because, we were beaten by a man on a bicycle.
CVT’s give off the perception of higher fuel economy numbers – granted that could work on something that had horsepower tipping over triple digits, but Harold can’t be bothered. He lost his will to even. Mitsubishi promises 42 mpg highway return on the Mirage G4 – but that would require some gingerly acceleration – any slower, you might as well walk. A base Mirage G4 ES could get you into a five-speed manual with overdrive…. But those will not only be rare and hard to find, but you’ll lose out on everything that makes the Mirage worth being tolerable.
Where the Mirage G4 surprises us is through its handling – it’s no Volkswagen Golf but it’s nimble. The chassis provides a livable ride quality and the leather wrapped steering wheel has a nice heft in its mobility. Even though the brake pedal was spongey the brakes had good grip.
While there can be some good attributes discovered deep inside the Mirage G4 we can help but feel it is fighting an uphill battle with other 3-cylinder contenders like the Ford Fiesta and Mini Cooper. Which are both turbocharged – granted Mini Cooper is a tad bit more expensive and not as reliable. Even with looking outside the 3-cylinder market against more realistic competitors, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris iA or Chevrolet Sonic – they all feature advance presence, more technology, and more importantly livable attributes all for the same price.
So while yes, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 could be suitable as a teenagers punishment or for someone that really just needs to get from point A to point B – at the end of the day all it is, is just another car… but only just.
|2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Base Price:||$13,995|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$17,830|
|1.2-liter 3-cylinder – 78-Horsepower – 0-60MPH: ±13.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 35/42/37 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 36 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 200 Miles|