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Mitsubishi hasn’t given up on the Mirage

By Ricardo Rodriguez-Long

According to the Webster dictionary, transportation means travel from one place to another. Today we have many options to get somewhere, and car makers have made hundreds of versions available to us.

Not long ago, most of us had a basic car that provided a way to go to work and didn’t cost much to operate. Now the average cost of a new car is almost $35,000, and the top three vehicles in sales volume are luxury pickup trucks that average 14 mpg. 

For those that still want something basic, reliable, and provide excellent fuel efficiency, there is one manufacturer that still offers that. Mitsubishi has not given up on the Mirage. 

The Mirage was designed as an urban commuter in response to the oil crisis of 1973. The original front-wheel drive hatchback with independent suspension and a snappy 1.2-liter motor came to life in 1978. When the average American car was doing 12 miles per gallon, the Mirage almost tripled the number of miles you could do with the same amount of fuel.

Since history repeats itself, I am glad the Mirage is still available. 

The newest version is still designed and built under the same premises. This is a compact car that can take you places efficiently and economically. I drove a Sand Yellow Metallic hatchback, which immediately reminded me of Spain or France neighborhoods. The streets are narrow, and there is no parking anywhere—where the gasoline is over $10 a gallon. In other words, the Mirage would be at home in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, or New York. 

In Los Angeles is hard to relate to that environment, but we have traffic that averages 17 miles per hour during the day. You can have all the power you want, but you won’t be able to use it. I drove the 405 Fwy in the Mirage with the A/C on and still managed to get 30 mpg in the worst conditions for efficiency. 

I ventured to Wrightwood, Victorville, etc., and noticed that the Mirage could keep up with traffic at 65 without issues. And I managed to do 45 mpg, which is more than what the manufacturer claims on the highway (43). The engine may be small, but you learn how to take advantage of the power at the midrange. This is not a sports car but one vehicle known for its reliability. 

The Mitsubishi Mirage is the lowest-priced new car you can buy today. For only $14,645, you get a small vehicle with ten years/100,000 miles of warranty capable of 50 mpg. It is a four-door that can accommodate the typical family of four. The rear seats fold, so you increase the cargo space. Of course, there has to be a trade. But here is where you and your needs come into play. The Mirage excels at what it was designed to do. Unless you have a large family, or perhaps you need a pickup truck due to your work, no one would need anything more to go from place A to place B. Ego and social pressure make us go for what we want and not for what we need. For those that want to save money, don’t risk on a used car, and are ok with a little work-horse, I suggest you look into this car.

Ricardo Rodriguez Long