by Roger Biermann
First introduced in 2017, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is an entry-level sub-compact sedan and one of the cheapest new cars on the market. Available in three trims, the ES, RF, and SE, all come with a three-cylinder, 1.2-liter engine connected to either a five-speed manual transmission or CVT transmission. At only 78 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque, the Mirage G4 won’t win any performance awards and is meant to get its occupants from one place to another at the lowest price possible. While the interior is sparse and it doesn’t have the most exciting drive, the Mirage G4 makes up for it by having excellent fuel economy and a very long warranty. In this class, there’s some stiff competition from the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and the Kia Rio, many of which offer more tech, but none of which are as cheap.
Since the Mirage G4 was only introduced in 2017, there aren’t many changes for the 2019 model. The only two changes that were made are that the driver’s seat is height-adjustable and cruise control has been added. Ae limited edition RF trim has also been added, which includes a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system boasting a 300-watt amplifier and two six-inch subwoofers.
The Mirage G4 is the sedan version of the Mirage hatchback that’s been around for a few years now. The shape looks very dated compared to its rivals, especially without the optional LED lights. The entry-level ES and RF trims are equipped with steel wheels with wheel covers while the SE gets 15-inch alloys and fog lights.
The Mirage G4 is a small car with a length of 169.5 inches, on a wheelbase of 100.4 inches. It has a height of 59.2 inches, and a width of 65.7 inches. The curb weight is 2,172 lbs on the ES and RF and 2,194 lbs on the SE model, making it one of the lightest in class. Ground clearance on all models is 6.3 inches, catering to poor road surfaces and potholes, while high profile tires should withstand the worst.
The Mirage G4 is available in seven exterior colors, all of which are metallic except for Pearl White. The other colors available are Wine Red, Starlight Silver, Sapphire Blue, Mystic Black, Mercury Grey, and Infrared. All the colors are available at no extra cost and for all trims. Of the lot, Sapphire Blue is the most striking, while Pearl White looks good in its simplicity.
The Mirage G4 is one of the least powerful cars on sale today. All trims have a three-cylinder, 1.2-liter displacement engine which only makes 78 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque. The ES model is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT, while the other trims are only available in the CVT. Whether the Mirage G4 is on city roads or the freeway, it is extremely underpowered and struggles to get going, taking 12.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. In addition, throttle responses are poor and the engine drones when worked hard, making it only suitable for city driving, and even in those confines it isn’t spectacular. The only advantage of the lethargic engine is the fact that it gives great fuel economy.
The poor performing engine has a huge bearing on the handling and driving because overtaking and even changing lanes becomes a planned event. Other than that the ride is soft and comfortable until the Mirage hits higher speeds and then it becomes bumpy. The Mirage G4 also suffers from excessive body roll, that combined with the unresponsive steering, gives the car a very unpredictable feel. At least the brakes are adequate and manage to stop the car without much of a fuss, but this is probably due to the slow speeds at which the car can move.
Almost all of the rivals in its class such as the Toyota Yaris sedan and the Hyundai Accent have more power, as well as better ride and handling.
The incredible fuel economy figures are the best reason to buy the Mirage G4. All the models in the range use the same engine and transmission, except for the ES which has the option of a five-speed manual. All CVT models achieve 35/41/37 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles while the ES manual gets 33/40/35 mpg. With all models having a 9.2-gallon gas tank, the CVT models have a range of 340 miles, while the manual version has a range of 322 miles.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is vastly better than rivals such as the Kia Rio which gets 28/37/32 and the Nissan Versa which gets 31/39/35 in their base models.
The Mirage G4 has a seating capacity of five, although only four are capable of being accommodated in any comfort. The front seats have ample space, due to the lack of a center console, and have a high seating position which provides great visibility. With 38.9 inches of front headroom and 41.7 inches of legroom, all but the tallest occupants will be comfortable. The rear seat is very upright and may not be comfortable for some, and there’s a folding armrest in the middle with cupholders to make long trips more bearable. There are 37.3 inches of legroom in the rear, which should be enough for most people, while the headroom of 36.8 inches might be restricting for some, particularly taller adults.
For a subcompact sedan, the Mirage G4 has adequate cargo space. The trunk has a poor-for-the-segment capacity of 12.3 cubic feet. In comparison, the Toyota Yaris has 13.5 cubic feet, and the Kia Rio has 13.7. Other than trunk space the Mirage G4 storage options are kept to a minimum. There’s a glovebox, storage pockets on the front doors, and two cupholders near the shift knob, with another two hidden in the rear armrest, but there’s no center console storage and no hidden storage bins.
For an entry-level car, the Mitsubishi G4 has basic standard features such as a rearview camera and power windows. The ES model gets steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio buttons, air conditioning, and remote keyless entry with a panic feature. The RF adds voice control to make and receive phone calls. Going higher up the range, the SE adds FAST-key entry and push-button start, as well as fog lights and automatic climate control.
Unfortunately the Mirage G4 doesn’t come with any driver assist safety features such as forward collision warning, or even traction control which are now standard features on several of its rivals, even if they are only available on higher trims.
The Mirage G4 really shines in the infotainment department with even the entry-level ES getting a seven-inch touch-panel infotainment system with a single USB port, Bluetooth and AM/FM radio with four speakers. The RF trim adds a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with a 300-watt amplifier and two six-inch subwoofers which fit into a custom-made box that still leaves ample space in the trunk. The SE comes standard with a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and also offers the Rockford Fosgate premium audio system as an add-on package.
Unfortunately the Mirage G4 doesn’t come with onboard navigation, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can mitigate this on the SE model. There is also no HD radio on any of the trims.
There haven’t been any complaints or recalls on the 2019 Mirage G4, although there was a recall on the 2018 Mirage for airbags failing to deploy. As with all Mitsubishis, the limited warranty is five-years/60,000 miles, while the powertrain has a ten-year/100,000 mile warranty. The anti-corrosion warranty is seven-years/100,000 mile and roadside assistance is five-years and unlimited in mileage.
For a subcompact sedan, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 has basic safety equipment as standard. There’s ABS brakes, dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, tire pressure monitoring, and stability control. The NHTSA hasn’t rated the 2018 or 2019 Mirage G4 models yet, while the IIHS has conducted partial tests with the results varying between marginal and good.
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 isn’t a good car. Yes, it serves its function of moving people between two locations for the cheapest possible price, but really, the only things it has going for it are the low price, great fuel consumption, and long warranty. The appalling acceleration kills any driving pleasure and makes the G4 more infuriating to other road users than we thought possible, while the steering is mediocre and required a lot of work to track true. Factor in a bumpy ride, poor noise insulation, and an abundance of body roll, and there’s not much going for the G4. To make things worse, it has a cheap feeling interior and dated exterior, while lacking any advanced tech or driver aids. Safety scores are below average, too, which doesn’t inspire confidence. Overall the Mirage feels as if it will be lucky to last as long as its warranty. In the subcompact sedan class, there are far better options out there like the Toyota Yaris or the Hyundai Accent, which offer more of what the modern driver needs and deserves, and at not much greater a price.
The basic Mirage G4 ES with a manual transmission starts at an MSRP of $14,795 while the CVT version goes for $15,995. Above the ES is the RF with the Rockford Fosgate premium audio system at $16,490, and then finally, the top-of-the-range SE is priced at $17,496. These prices are subject to licensing, tax and registration fees. There is also a destination charge of $995 applicable on all models.
Considering that performance and space is the same throughout the range, the best pick in the Mirage G4 range would be the SE. The ES lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as the FAST-key passive entry with push-button start. The RF is pretty much the same as the ES, apart from the Rockford Fosgate sound system, which might be nice to have but isn’t enough to justify buying a Mirage. The SE is the only model to come with all those features as well as automatic climate control for added comfort. The 15-inch alloy wheels and fog lights also make it stand out compared to the other models which only have 14-inch steel wheels. That said, the SE starts at a price of $17,495 which is very high considering some of the alternatives out there like the Kia Rio, which starts at $16,190 and the Toyota Yaris, which starts at $16,700 and offer comparable, if not better, specification.
The Toyota Yaris sedan is a far better option than the incredibly basic Mirage G4. In addition to stylish exterior looks, it has a well-balanced ride which the Mirage G4 just can’t match. While the Mitsubishi has a longer warranty, Toyota is renowned for its reliability and it’s unlikely that the Yaris will give many issues. Unfortunately, the Yaris doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which the Mirage G4 has on the SE trim. The Yaris has a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 106 hp and is connected to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, with far better performance than the Mitsubishi engine. Where the Mazda can’t match the Mirage is in the gas mileage stakes, its strongest characteristic. While the cheapest Mirage G4 starts at only $14,795 and the entry-level Toyota is at $16,530, the Toyota is still better value for money considering the better performance, interior, exterior styling, and handling.
With a starting price of only $13,995, which is cheaper than the base Mirage G4 at $14,795, the Accent is a worthy competitor. The Accent is also a far more modern looking car with a well designed, solid-feeling interior. It has similar safety features to the Mirage, but also adds a driver’s blind spot mirror, available forward collision avoidance, as well as traction control. It’s also more spacious than the Mirage G4. Performance wise, the Accent has a 130-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which is almost twice as powerful as the feeble 78-hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine of the Mirage G4. Of course, the Accent is one of the few vehicles that can match the long warranty of the Mirage G4 and also has a great track record. The Accent is a bigger car with better performance, and a better price than the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and should be considered a superior alternative.