2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SEPosted on January 19th, 2017
Subcompact sedan focuses on value
By Nina Russin
Mitsubishi’s subcompact sedan competes against the Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Spark, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio: all products targeting first-time buyers who are value conscious, but need the versatility to meet their busy lifestyles. The Mirage G4 comes standard with keyless entry and start, halogen headlamps and a rearview camera- features unusual in this segment. The interior is spacious enough to hold four adult passengers despite the car’s small dimensions.
Power comes from a 1.2-liter naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine and five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. The pint-size Mirage is thrifty on fuel, averaging 37 miles-per-gallon for the automatic transmission version.
Base price is $16,995 excluding the $835 destination charge. Final MSRP is $17,830.
Test drive in Southern Arizona
The Mirage is a perfect choice for urbanites needing a small car that’s maneuverable and easy to park on the street. Its downfall, especially for the CVT version, is low-end torque. In the urban sprawl of the desert southwest, where both surface streets and highways have higher-than-normal speed limits, the Mirage doesn’t have enough power off the line.
Although I haven’t had a chance to drive one, I would guess that the manual transmission version would be a better option. Granted, fuel economy is slightly poorer, but the driver has better control over engine speed, making it easier to reach its 4000-rpm peak torque. There is quite a bit of engine noise during hard acceleration, and some noticeable vibration through the steering wheel at idle. The vibration may be the result of tuning for maximum fuel economy which means running the engine very lean.
Once up to speed, the 78-horsepower block does surprisingly well, and engine noise is well within normal range. I had no problems keeping up with traffic on the section of the I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson where the speed limit is 75 miles-per-hour and most cars average 80.
An independent front suspension consisting of MacPherson struts and torsion beam rear suspension do a good job of absorbing bumps in the road for the front-wheel drive chassis.
Electric power steering saves space and weight under the hood compared to a conventional hydraulic unit. There is plenty of assistance at low speeds for maneuverability and on-center high speed response is well within acceptable range.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. The rearview camera projects a wide-angle view on the center stack screen when the driver shifts into reverse, eliminating blind spots at the rear corners. I had no problems monitoring traffic when merging onto the highway and once in traffic found vehicles in adjacent lanes easy to see.
Fifteen-inch rims on the SE are a jump up from 14-inch rims on the base model: better for high-speed handling.
Ventilated disc brakes up front with rear drums come on all grades. The sedan stopped in firm, linear fashion during the drive test.
Designers pushed the wheels to the sedan’s corners to maximize its wheelbase, giving second-row passengers surprisingly good legroom. Mitsubishi has significantly improved interior fit and finish on all its vehicles, the Mirage being no exception. I found the upholstery both attractive and comfortable, and the IP design quite functional.
The engine start button is located to the left of the steering wheel: an unusual location but not an inconvenience once the driver gets used to it. Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to see in bright sunlight and after dark. A standard USB port makes it easy to recharge cell phones or plug in a tablet.
Manual adjustments on the driver’s seat are easy to use. Although there is no separate lower lumbar adjustment, the seat provides decent lower back support for longer drives. A tilt steering column enables smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view.
Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable owners to interface with playlists on their smart phones.
There are plenty of storage areas throughout the cabin for bottles, cups and cell phones.
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 comes with front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring.
The Mirage G4 sedan is on display at Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide.
Like: An affordable, fuel-thrifty subcompact sedan with some surprising convenience features and a spacious interior.
Dislike: Noisy engine during hard acceleration. Small wheels on the base model are not well suited to high-speed driving.
Model: Mirage G4
Base price: $16,995
As tested: $17,830
Horsepower: 78 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 74 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 35/42 mpg city/highway