The second-most affordable new car on the market won’t be around for much longer, based on a report published Tuesday by Automotive News. If accurate, the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact and hatchback will end production for the U.S. late in 2025.
Mitsubishi spokesperson Jeremy Barnes would not confirm the report. “We do not comment on speculation,” he replied over email.
The end of the Mirage also signals the end of the sub-$20,000 new car. The base 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage ES hatchback costs $17,340, including a $1,095 destination fee. The Mirage G4 sedan in base ES trim costs $1,000 more. The only other new cars that cost less than $20,000 are the 2023 Kia Rio ($17,505) and the 2023 Nissan Versa ($17,075).
The Versa comes with a 5-speed manual, however, which Mitsubishi dropped from the lineup this year. Springing for the continuously variable automatic transmission in the Versa adds another $1,670. That leaves the Mirage hatchback as the most affordable car on sale now with an automatic transmission. In the month of July, Automotive News reports, it was the only new car sold with an average transaction price of less than $20,000.
It comes reasonably well-equipped as a no-frills, fuel-efficient commuter. The standard features list includes automatic emergency braking, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It rolls on dinky 14-inch wheels, and is barely powered by a coarse 78-hp 1.2-liter inline-3 engine and CVT, with power sent to the front wheels.
It’s as basic as it comes, but that low-power engine adds up to something appreciated by the budget-car buyer: exceptional fuel economy. The EPA rates the Mirage at 39 mpg combined, making it the most efficient non-hybrid on the market.
That’s not the only thing lowering the cost of ownership versus competitors. Mitsubishi provides an extensive warranty that now includes scheduled maintenance. Every Mitsubishi is covered by an exceptional 5-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. New this year, a 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance package covers three oil and filter changes, three tire rotations, and a cabin air filter replacement.
With the average new car price hovering around $47,000, the Mitsubishi Mirage was already an endangered species as automakers continue to shift from sedans and hatchbacks to taller and generally larger crossovers. Last year, GM discontinued the Chevy Spark; Hyundai nixed the Veloster and the Accent. By the end of this year, Chrysler will have canceled the 300 sedan and Dodge will have kneecapped the Charger.
The end of the Mirage also signals the end of Mitsubishi sedan sales in the U.S.
The market might not even shrug. Sales were down 44% in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022, with only 5,316 Mirages sold in the U.S. in the first half. Meanwhile, Versa sales nearly doubled to 11,014 units in the same time frame. The Rio held steady at 14,196 models sold.
At about $24,000, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport small crossover would be the next most affordable vehicle in Mitsubishi’s small lineup of four, soon-to-be three, vehicles. It’s being replaced by a model dubbed Xforce in Asian markets later this year. Mitsubishi is bracing for a product onslaught by committing $10 billion to electrify vehicles and introduce nine new electrified models worldwide in the next five years.
Expect the Mirage to disappear in that time.
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