Other automotive brands often overshadow Mitsubishi, but it has some good cars available. The redesigned Mitsubishi Outlander might have questionable engine choices, but its luxe interior and upgraded seating capacity are appealing features for car buyers. A PHEV version debuted last month, and some critics anticipate it might become more popular than the Toyota RAV4 Prime.
On the other hand, it’s hard to find anyone willing to recommend the Mitsubishi Mirage. Its cheap interior, subpar ride quality, and meager powertrain have given it a negative reputation for years. However, new studies suggest it’s also one of the cheapest cars to maintain.
Why you should consider maintenance costs when buying a car
Mitsubishi logo | Tomohiro Ohsumi via Getty Images
Every vehicle needs regular maintenance to ensure that its parts are running smoothly. Part of that maintenance includes minor repairs and replacements, such as purchasing new tires or brake pads. However, some cars are more likely to have significant components wear down at faster rates.
All those costs add up over time, so you should consider a vehicle’s reliability when shopping for a new one. Consumer Reports and J.D. Power post reliability ratings for each new model to help you make well-informed decisions.
How low are the Mitsubishi Mirage’s maintenance costs?
2021 Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 updated with fresh faces, more tech: https://t.co/dR1vTufFyq pic.twitter.com/csUD7cXp0g
— Autoblog (@therealautoblog) January 6, 2021
The Mitsubishi Mirage recently appeared in a CarEdge top 10 list of cars with the lowest maintenance costs. For the first 10 years of ownership, you’ll pay an average of $4,939 for routine service and typical repairs. The chances of this car needing a major repair are just above 15%, which CarEdge says is a respectable figure.
However, after 12 years, that percentage jumps to 29.08%. That’s approximately 7% higher than your chances of needing an expensive repair for a Toyota Prius, the cheapest car to maintain. Still, you’ll pay less than $1,000 annually on Mirage maintenance alone during the first 11 years.
Other reasons you might buy a Mitsubishi Mirage
The Mitsubishi Mirage’s most significant selling point is its fuel economy. Models with the manual transmission get 35 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, while the CVT-equipped Mirage is rated for 36 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. Both come with FWD drivetrains and a three-cylinder engine with just 78 hp on tap.
According to Car and Driver, even driving on city roads isn’t a fun experience inside the Mitsubishi Mirage. The engine makes plenty of noise and sends vibrations throughout the cabin, which are very apparent thanks to the Mirage’s small size. It needs almost 11 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph, so be prepared if you’re approaching a highway ramp.
Despite this, the Mitsubishi Mirage is still an attractive option for shoppers on a budget. The 2023 hatchback model starts at just $16,245, and the sedan is still a bargain at $17,245.
While the cloth seats are reasonably comfortable, there’s no shortage of plastic inside the Mitsubishi Mirage. However, it does offer a 7-inch touchscreen with standard smartphone integration. Forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking are also included.
One area where the Mirage shockingly excels is cargo capacity, with a maximum of 47 cu-ft available. If you keep the rear seats up, you’ll still have over 17 cu-ft storage behind them.
If you just need a car and aren’t concerned about performance, the Mitsubishi Mirage could be a good option. However, there’s a good chance you could also find one of its rivals at a similar price point, like the discontinued Honda Fit.
This model has a bigger engine and a nicer cabin, with 10-year maintenance costs averaging $4,915. The Toyotas on CarEdge’s list are all cheaper to maintain but more expensive to purchase (excluding the Yaris).