By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – Mitsubishi has always been on the cutting edge of technology. Granted during the last decade the automaker has been in dire straits for product and for cash. But it is still alive and it has secured some new working capital through a merger.
The point is I spent a week last winter test driving the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage GT. It was a five-door hatchback that had the look of a small crossover. Mitsubishi put an inline three-cylinder engine in the Mirage. It made 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque. The engine was mated to a continuously variable transmission or CVT.
This car had an EPA rating of 37 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and 39 mpg combine. I had the top of the line GT trim package. It came with 15 inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights and heated front seats. That last one was much appreciated since it rarely got over 10 degrees during my test drive.
It snowed several times during the test drive and we were grateful that the Mirage was front-wheel-drive which is better than rear-wheel drive on snow or slush.
The Mirage handled the elements well. In addition to the heated seats, the car had push button lock and unlock as well as push button start and stop. There was also a rearview camera.
To gauge the ride was nearly impossible because of the snow-covered streets. But when we did get on dry pavement, the ride wasn’t bad. There was a MacPherson front suspension and a rear torsion bar suspension in the rear.
Steering was pretty good too. But the bitter cold put a crimp in doing a normal review. I can say that the heated front seats had two settings. It didn’t take long to heat the seats using the hottest one, a few times I had to tune it back once my seat was heated and that didn’t take long.
It didn’t take long for the car to warm up either. As someone pointed out, the small engine matched with the CVT meant the Mirage was pretty slow. But a compact car needs to be utilitarian and that doesn’t require a lot of speed.
The front seats were comfortable. The back seats didn’t have a lot of knee room. And though the car is listed as a five passenger hatchback, there is just no way three normal sized passengers are going to sit abreast in the back seat. No hip room. However, two folks could ride in the back seat in comfort. There was plenty of headroom.
The driving position was way high on this car. That was a not a bad thing giving that it was a subcompact. I never felt overwhelmed by the size of other vehicles, in fact, I never noticed. And I was somewhat surprised that it was just a tilt steering wheel, no telescope.
It was a basic cloth interior. There was no navigation system. But there was Bluetooth. The Mirage had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but it required a chord. And I used my smartphone because there was no satellite radio either. This was a basic system; there wasn’t a lot of volume with the connection.
The base price of our GT was $16, 595. Add the cost of the floor mats and the shipping cost and the total came to $17,585.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com