Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 Sedan on the street

As you’ll recall, The Mitsubishi Mirage made a return to the U.S. market as a 2014 model. While it could be equipped with options like Bluetooth, cruise control, and a touchscreen infotainment system, the Mirage felt mostly unrefined and dated as we noted in our review. It did, however, deliver 44 MPG on the highway. There was a minimalist, simplistic quality to the Mirage that was somewhat endearing, but the Chevrolet Spark was fierce competition. Nonetheless, the Mirage sold better than most would’ve expected.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 front fascia

Mitsubishi skipped the 2016 model year and instead focused on a refreshed, more refined Mirage for MY2017. The ’17 version features a more mature front fascia, a few more horsepower, retuned shock damping, upgraded brakes, and more noise/vibration/harshness refinements that will hopefully quell some of the criticisms of the Thai-built runabout. In addition, Mitsubishi now offers a sedan version called the G4, and that’s what we got to spend some time with here.

I have to give credit to Mitsubishi for sticking with the Mirage. In this time of low gas prices and spiking SUV and truck sales, the Mirage soldiers on to battle against its arch nemesis, the Chevy Spark (which has also been redesigned). However, the Spark is only available as a five-door hatchback (although we still dig the mint color).

Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan driving

Some subcompact sedans can have strange proportions. This includes the Ford Fiesta sedan and, most notably, the Nissan Versa. The Mirage G4 rides that line of weirdo-looking sedans with droopy butts. You can almost hear it in the board rooms. "Can't we just take the hatchback and graft on a trunk?" I think our SE trim level’s larger 15-inch wheels helps with the overall ass-heavy proportions; the smaller 14-inch wheels on the ES tend to throw things off a bit. But regardless, the wheels’ offsets are totally too high—they are sucked way too far into the body to look good.

The new front fascia is much preferred to the ’14–’15 front end, which looks cartoonish or like a kid’s play toy with no sharp edges. The new chrome-trimmed grille adds a bit of style and sophistication to the tiny sedan. I also like the LED strips at the corners near the fog lamps.

Inside, there are significant improvements throughout. You no longer get the sound of an empty paint can when you flip the sun visors against the roof. The overall build quality feels much improved, like the car was assembled better. The interior upholstery feels (and looks) more upscale. Hell—it’s got heated front seats! The LCD touchscreen display is heaps better than the ’14 Mirage’s we tested; the HVAC is easy to use. The piano black accents are a nice touch, and overall everything just feels like it has moved up a couple of notches on the quality scale.

Push the engine-start button (still located on the left side of the steering wheel, which screws me up every time), and the little 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine buzzes to life. The engine now makes 78 hp (up from 74) but still has 74 ft/lbs. of torque. However, thank God, the engine doesn’t vibrate like paint-mixing machine at idle anymore. The last Mirage’s engine shook like a wet dog when in drive waiting at stop signs. That, of course, translated into the cabin and was annoying.

I’m not going to lie: I couldn’t notice the extra four horsepower, which translates into 5.4% more gusto. The Mirage SE, which only comes with a CVT, is pokey at best, despite the new Sport mode. Flooring it produces more noise than movement. It’s slow for a modern car. Heck, it’s kind of slow for an older car with 0-60 times just shy of 13 seconds, and quarter mile times approaching 20 seconds according to Car and Driver. That’s glacial. Truth be told, it’s not bad for darting around the city, and once up to speed, it cruises nicely (and is surprisingly quiet). But passing is a bit daunting, as is merging.

While the new Mirage G4 is certainly quieter than the previous Mirage, whisper quiet it isn't. There is a significant amount of engine noise that barks from its 1200cc engine, and the CVT’s single-gear droning nature only exacerbates that. Luckily, the Mirage G4 rides much better than expected, and the interior is actually pretty comfortable. The seats are cushy but unsupportive. Think couch cushions. The steering is slow and numb, and handling is not the Mirage G4’s forte, despite the retuned suspension for 2017. It leans a lot and understeers a ton when pushed. That being said, the turning circle is very, very good. And due to the compliant ride, it’d be a good long-haul subcompact for road trips. This thing also weighs a super light 2,194 lbs., which helps with that fuel economy.

Mitsubishi Mirage G4 back seat

Backseat room is rather gigantic, actually. There’s even a center folding armrest with two cup holders. There are noticeable little things that have seen cost reduction, such as the rear seatbelt guides, which are simply fabric loops and a snap. Hey, it works, so who cares? As a side note, trunk space is generous.

The Mirage G4 is a fuel miser and is EPA rated at 35 city, 42 highway, and 37 combined. I got a rather disappointing 32 MPG—with a car this slow, you often need to punch the throttle, and that eats into fuel economy. The ’14 hatchback we tested was rated 37 city, 42 highway, and 39 combined, but those numbers are very close and in real-world scenarios, you probably wouldn’t noticed a difference between the two.

The Mirage G4, and likely the updated ’17 Mirage hatchback, are both improved upon the ’14–’15 model in just about every way. That being said, they’re still not up to the same par as a Nissan Versa or Hyundai Accent in terms of refinement or power. That being said, the Mirage bests the Versa by three MPG combined and the Accent by seven MPG combined. The other thing Mitsubishi has going for it is a stellar warranty: 5 year, 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 10 years, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and 7 year, 100,000 miles anti-corrosion/perforation warranty. That’s better than Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, or Ford.

Mitsubishi Mirage G4 Sedan rear

So what does all this miserly performance cost? Our tester had a total MSRP of $17,830 including delivery. However, it’s unlikely anyone with a decent credit score would pay that. Compare that to the top-of-the line Versa Sedan in SL trim, and you’re saving a couple hundred bucks. Personally, if it were me, I’d opt for a lower trim level, save some dough, and throw on a set of aftermarket wheels and tires with a better look. But why someone would buy a Mirage G4 vs. the Toyota Yaris iA (e.g. Scion iA) is a bit of a mystery. The Yaris iA is a driver's car that's well equipped, much more refined, and pretty much on par with the cost.

So Mitsubishi is going toe-to-toe with the subcompact sedans in the segment. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly as many Mitsu dealers around the country, so you’d need to live in a metro area to get one. Regardless, Mirage sales remain in the black for 2016 (up 0.4% as of October, 2016), so people are buying them. And if you’re looking for fantastic fuel economy and a wonderful warranty, the Mirage may be worth a trip to the Mitsubishi dealer. It’s not the most refined, but it’s certainly one of the most improved and affordable.

THE BASICS: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4
MSRP As Tested: $17,830
Engine: 1.2-liter MIVEC DOHC 3 cyl.
Transmission: CVT
Horsepower: 78
Torque:s 74 lb/ft
Curb Weight: 2,194 lbs.
Wheelbase: 100.4
Overall Length: 169.5"
Suspension: F: MacPherson Struts
R: Torsion Beam
Brakes: F: Disc w/ABS
R: Drum w/ABS
Wheels: 15" alloys
Tires: 175/55/15
Fuel Economy (MPG): 35 city, 37 combined, 42 highway
Fuel Type: Regular (87 octane)


Unknown said...

I test drove this car last week. Your review is on the money. In the end I decided to trade my Fiat 500L in for the Kia Rio hatchback. With rebates it was very close in price for a lot more car with a quieter and more comfortable ride. Nice review.

Glenn said...

Had to check when I read 30 seconds. Should read just shy of 13 seconds. Still pretty slow, but 30 seconds is glacial.

nlpnt said...

At MSRP this is $200 *more* than a Honda Fit LX automatic (with shipping). You'd give up the alloys but gain a hatch and much better resale. It's also not far off a Fit EX manual that does get the tasty alloys (and a sunroof) and is what I'd go with.

TBH the Mirage still makes the most sense as a basic ES manual hatchback (incidentally, the hatch SE is available with a manual but the loaded "GT" (hah!) isn't). If you want one of these with a slushbox (rubber-band box?) why pay for new when you can get a 6 month/15,000 mile-old one for half price out of a rental fleet?

Anonymous said...

Man, these are discounted so Heavily that it is Hard to even bring up a name like "Fit".

18 grand? Try $12,700. Fully equipped G4 with CVT.

Nothing can beat that.

But, the $10,500 OTD (I am not at all telling a Fib) for the base model hatch is hard to not find worth considering as well.

I am looking at either the G4 with a stick, because they are way nicer to drive with a stick... of a SE hatch (I want cruise control) for $12,150.

Nothing can touch the quality, reliability, and MPGs for these prices. Nothing.

I got 50.9 MPG cruising on the freeway for 20 min on my last test drive of a 5 speed SE hatch at 57 mph.

I was Sold.

Unknown said...

I am seeing the GT go for $13,600.

Anonymous said...

I love my G4. Just what I need. Cost $13,340. GREAT mileage. No problems with merging or increasing in speed when necessary nor, has it sucked up gas on doing so! Not a race car but; perfect for me.

Unknown said...

The 2017 Mirage G4 SE is truly a great value! My top trim loaded Mirage G4 SE was $18,115.00 and after rebates and dealer discounts I got it for $12,714.00 and its loaded and has a 10 year warranty. Cannot be beat! I owned a 2015, my co-worker owns a 2014 and 2015. They are reliable cars and we have had no issues to speak of, everyone who ai have talked to who owns one loves it and has had no issues.

It comes standard with such features as: push start, keyless entry, keyless access on deiver door and trunk, panic alarm feature, remote teunk pop, auto climate control, heated seats, height adjustable driver seat, pw, pl, pm, cruise control, blue tooth, audio controls on steering wheel, semi high contrast gauge cluster, auto dimming rear view mirror with homelink (works for garage doors, gates and security systems), usb port, wide angle rear view camera (when backing up it helps you see futher side to side which is nice backing out of a parking spot), am/fm/cd/dvd/apple car play and android auto, also voice controls for siri which is great, fold down rear seat arm rest with cup holders, 15 inch dark titanium alloy wheels, fog lights, updgrafed seat material in SE (suede like striped soft material), leather steering wheel and shifter, piano black trim throught the interior, and so much more.

I also installed quiet a few oem mitsubishi accessories such as: the oem front center console arm rest, color keyed bodyside modlings, mine came with rear spoiler, chrome gauge cluster garnish, chrome fog light surround garnish, all weather floor mats and also have weather tech floor liners, carpeted cargo mat, interior piano trim kit for center console and driver and passenger air vebts to match the reat of the piano trim on the interior, mitsubishi license plate frames, chrome exhaust tip, mitsubishi valve stem caps, also tinted my windows to 20%, mitsubishi scuff plates all 4 doors, and a few other things I know im forgettings. The cool thing about mitsubishi is they have so many accessories you can add to personalize your car they even have a sport looking package that adds a body kit all the way around.

I owned a 2015 Mirage ES CVT with Nav and Back Up Camera before this and loved it. I owned it for around 2 years and then when the updated 2017 came out then the all new G4 for the USA I decided to trade in for the upgrades. Wow what a difference between the 2015 and 2017. They really rounded them out and smoothed out refinement and just gave you more features. These are great cars and I have owned 8 or so new vehicles and have never purchased the same model twice until the Mirage I loved it that much!

The 1.2L 3 cylinder with 78 horsepower has been on sale in other countries since 2012 and has been proven to be super reliable and have no major issues.

Seriously take the time to really look at them and drive one you cant beat their prices, value equation, features per dollar, warranty, they are just unbeatable. Mine is a loaded top trim G4 SE and stickered for $18,115.00 and after the dealer discounts, then the $2,000.00 mitsubishi rebate and $250.00 loyalty owner discount I got mine for $12,714.00!!! Nissan Versa cannot beat that! When you get a Versa equipped the same way as a Mirage the mirage and Mirage G4 will beat it on price due to rebates and discounts!

I had no issues with my 2015 the 2 years I owned it and none with my 2017 since Ivpurchased it in February 2017. My 2015 went amazing in the snow with its 14 inch alloys and I am hoping my G4 does the same as it has 15 inch alloys. Go drive one for your self and dont listen to all the negative critic reviews. The owner reviews tell the true story and the owners love them as I love mine!

Andy Lilienthal said...

We haven't actually blogged about it yet, but we did buy a 2017 ES hatchback! More info soon. We literally have driven it from the dealership home, so not much to report yet. But stay tuned: we have plans for our little "Rage"!