If you think really hard o it, you’re probably able to name some of the least expensive vehicles sold in the U.S. Spoiler alert: they’re all cars. While SUVs start around $18,000 in the U.S., the cheapest car, the 2021 Chevrolet Spark has a starting MSRP of $13,400 and an additional $995 delivery charge. And, while it may be the cheapest, it’s nowhere near the most fuel efficient.
That honor sits with the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage. The Mirage is powered by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can get that engine paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable (CVT) transmission. Either way, the Mirage’s powertrain gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway, and 39 mpg combined.
Those numbers are far better than the Spark’s 33 mpg combined. To its credit, the Spark has a slightly larger engine (a 1.4-liter) and offers 20 more horsepower.
The Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 (the hatchback version) were both given a refresh for the 2021 model year. Mitsubishi will sell each model in four trim levels: ES, LE, Carbonite Edition (CE), and SE.
Up front, both models got Mitsubishi’s latest Dynamic Shield grille design and a revised front bumper that’s meant to give it a sense of sportiness. Out back, the Mirage’s bumper and valance increased in size while the standard L-shaped horizontal taillights now stretch across the backside of the car. The overall aesthetic is in keeping with the newest designs in Mitsubishi’s SUV lineup.
Mitsubishi will offer the Mirage and Mirage G4 in two new exterior paint colors for the new model year, White Diamond. A Sand Yellow finish is newly available just for the hatchback.
The car comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPla and Android Auto compatibility. Buyers who opt for the Mirage ES get redesigned front arm rests, new soft-touch cloth in high-touch areas, and a carbon fiber effect on the vehicle’s power window switch trim.
Every Mirage now comes with forward collision mitigation technnology with pedestrians detection. Lane departure warning and automatic high beams are available on the top-tier SE trim level.
The new 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage Carbonite Edition features a revised front grille and air dam, side air dam, b-pillar decal and rear airdam with carbon-pattern surfaces and contrasting red accents. It’s available in either a sedan or hatchback body style. The model is slotted just below the top SE grade.
Every Mirage comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 7-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion/perforation limited warranty; and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.
Pricing for the 2021 Mirage tops out at $17,445. The Mirage G4 starts at $15,295 and goes up to $18,195.