If you are looking for a small car at a reasonable price that gets great gas mileage and has some of the extras normally found on more expensive rides, then you really can’t go wrong with the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage GT.
The five-door, wine red metallic/black hatchback I tested included as standard items a keyless entry remote, a push-button start/stop, a camera projecting the rear view to a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and audio, phone and voice controls on the steering wheel.
I wish those were on my everyday Toyota Prius c, which for the same model year costs $3,000 more than the Mirage GT.
In fact, if I had a kid who needed a starter car for a relatively simple commute, I would have no problem sticking him or her in this Mitsubishi, which gets four stars in every category from the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings.
Standard on the Mirage GT are front, driver’s knee and side curtain air bags, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, adjustable front shoulder belts and a LATCH child-restraint system.
It’s very economical for a kid or a family on a budget, with its 37 miles per gallon in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and over 39 combined mpg translating to only $900 in annual fuel costs and $2,250 in fuel cost savings over five years when compared to the new vehicle average. An ECO indicator light on the instrument panel flashes on when you are driving at a speed that is getting the maximum miles to the gallon.
The Mirage GT is also not too bad for the planet, with an impressive 9 on the 1-10 (10 being best) EPA Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating, although the Smog Rating is a middling 5.
You’ll have peace of mind sending off your child or significant other because Mitsubishi includes a five-year or 60,000-mile (whichever comes first) new vehicle limited warranty, five years of roadside assistance with no mileage restrictions, seven years or 100,ooo miles for anti-corrosion/perforation and 10 years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain.
Sold? Well, before you sign on the dotted line, you should also know that, on my test rides in various conditions, I did feel the road … and the dips and bumps inherent in many of them around here during the wet season. This was despite the front wheel drive subcompact’s front MacPherson strut suspension with stabilizer bar and rear torsion beam suspension.
There was some gutlessness pulling onto the freeway and up to the normal flow of traffic, although to be fair I had also just come off a test drive period with an SUV with a much more beastly engine. The Mirage GT’s is a three-cylinder, 12-valve, 1.2-liter engine.
The revving sound when stepping on the gas took some getting used to but, once up to speed on smooth roadways, the ride was comfortable. The driver’s seat adjusts six ways, there is an armrest and the shift knob and tilt steering wheel are wrapped in leather. The passenger’s seat adjusts four ways and both of them up front can be heated. Everything I just mentioned is a standard feature.
I do have to remember to sit for a spell in the backseats of these test vehicles so I can report with first hand knowledge about the roominess. I can say with complete confidence that they are split folding rear seats–because the sticker says so.
There was more cargo space than expected after looking at the Mirage GT from the outside and, as previously mentioned, those rear seats can be folded down to create an even larger area. As long as they are not too heavy, items can also be placed on the shelf that is the cargo area’s lid, although I am the type of driver who pulls out back headrests to improve the rear view.
Items you would expect to be standard are so, including cruise control, the glove box, electric power steering, center console cup holders, power windows and locks, child safety rear door locks, front door panel storage pockets and temporary spare tire.
But the only extras on my test ride were the carpeted floor mats and portfolio, which added $125 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. With an $865 destination/handling charge, that made the total MSRP $17,585.
That means everything else was standard, including the four-speaker, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, the Bluetooth wireless with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, the High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, fog lights and LED rear combination tail light, folding, power side mirrors with turn indicators, chrome grille accents and rear spoiler and remote hood and fuel door release levers.
Also standard are the automatic climate control, the Micron air filtration, rear heater floor ducts, front retractable assist grips, auto theft engine immobilizer, 15-inch, two-tone alloy wheels and front and rear, intermittent wiper/washers.
It’s worth noting that the trim, sash, color, badge and chrome accents that are standard on the Mirage GT would be part of cosmetic packages you would pay extra for from other carmakers.
There is a 12-volt accessory outlet and, new for the ’18 models, the USB port was conveniently moved to the center console.
So, if you are out to win every race (in your head) from the stop light to the next set of crosswalks, the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage GT is not your car. But if you are looking for affordability, fuel economy and some of the extras you usually have to pay extra for, this is definitely the hatchback for you.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.