Monday, November 12, 2012

Mitsubishi bets small; confirms Mirage for sale in U.S.

2012 Mitsubishi Mirage in a variety of colors.

Mitsubishi has announced it will be importing the new Mirage into the U.S. This is big news for Mitsubishi, which has said it is committed to the U.S. auto market after another struggling Japanese brand, Suzuki, announced it is ceasing to sell new cars in the U.S.

Blue Mitsubishi MirageAssuming the specs don't change much from other markets, the Mirage will be 146.1" long (about 2" longer than a Chevy Spark), have a 96.5" wheelbase (about 2" shorter than a Toyota Yaris), and weigh about 1,830 lbs. (22 lbs. heavier than a Smart ForTwo). Power will be from a 1.2-liter DOHC three cylinder making 77 horsepower and 74 ft./lbs. of torque and mated to a CVT. 

With these specs, I don't think this car will help Mitsubishi's struggling U.S. operations. Then again, if they priced it ridiculously low and marketed it right, maybe it would.

No matter what powers the Mirage, its looks aren't going to win may beauty contests, either. While not what I'd call ugly, it is what I'd call bland.With nondescript styling that seems to have come from the 1990s economy car school of design, I'm not sure Americans are going to flock to the Mirage. Then again, I could be—even hope to be—wrong. The car, which hit the market in other countries in 2012, already looks dated. For some reason it reminds me of the first-generation Kia Rio.

As a member of a household that habitually purchased Mitsubishi products in the '80s–'90s, I still have a soft spot for them, and would like to see them rise to their former self. This would be a company that offered interesting, well-built, fun vehicles. Think first-gen Eclipse. Think Starion. Heck, even think Expo. Something different, but good different.

So will the Mirage get lost in the fray, or will it, along with a redesigned Outlander crossover, help Mitsubishi get back on track? While you ponder that, here's a video of the Mirage on the road.


rubicon4wheeler said...

Too bad it's so ugly and (based on its specs) such an underperformer. I don't think it's going to be worth bothering to import. I think Mitsubishi is going to struggle to find many American buyers.

Anonymous said...

Needs to be less than $10k, 'cause with a puny & lethargic 1.2 liter engine mated to a CVT tranny that is most likely filled with failure & AIDS, Mitsubishi is going to have a hard time selling these in the USA. Outside of the Evolution, Mitsubishi cars are pretty mediocre. They're about as bland & mediocre as a basic McDonald's hamburger.

Anonymous said...

I hope we get a sporty agressive version. And with suzuki, that their fault that they didn't sell well in america. That's what they get for not sharing the swift with us.

Mitsubishi Norfolk said...

Only time will tell if the Mirage will do well here. It does appear that more buyers are flocking towards more compact cars due to gas prices and if the Mirage is priced low that could be a big draw.

Darin - said...

Forget about "performance" - this car's strength will be its fuel economy... and hopefully its price, 'cause its looks won't win many converts!

It stands a good chance of having the best non-hybrid EPA combined MPG in the US. (Educated guess.)

It's got an efficient engine, decent aero (cd 0.27 - 0.31 depending on trim), and it's light (won't be 1830 lbs though - the Aussie base version weighs in at ~1910 lbs, and the US/Canada version will be slightly heavier than that, with additional air bags, bumper changes, etc.).

If the US is lucky, you'll get the 5-speed too, as was confirmed for the Canadian market. CVT-only dooms this car. (There are actually legions of former Geo Metro owners who loved their little cars and would be interested in this, but not if they're forced into a CVT.)

The only question is what they're going to call it. Mitsu doesn't own the "Mirage" trademark in the U.S. any more.