Long-time readers of the Base Camp series (thanks, both of you) will know this series puts a focus on the entry-level trims of vehicles that are popular in Canada. One segment on which we haven’t spent much time, oddly, is the entry-level market itself, primarily populated by small hatchbacks.
There used to be several players in this niche, but many companies have abandoned their efforts in a bid to chase profits higher up the food chain. Mitsubishi remains entrenched, planting both feet firmly in this end of the pool by giving its littlest car, the Mirage, a fresh new face for launch in the first quarter of the 2021 calendar year.
Under the hood is a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine making 78 horsepower and roughly a like amount of torque. While that doesn’t sound like a lot – and it isn’t – it’s worth recalling the Mirage seems to weigh about the same as your author’s pet cat. This contributes to stellar fuel economy, better than 6.0-litre / 100 km on the highway and good enough for Mitsu to claim the car as Canada’s most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline-fueled vehicle.
For the 2020 model year, the company introduced automatic climate control to each trim, meaning the base ES, with its $12,298 price tag, has a feature absent in vehicles costing thousands more. Power front windows, audio controls on a height adjustable steering wheel, and a Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with USB inputs prove that base model entry-level cars are no longer the bare bones penalty boxes of yore.
Spying a base model Mirage is simple as spotting its 14-inch steel wheels, though their P165/65/R14 size certainly keeps a lid on costs come replacement time. Those are colour-keyed door handles and power side mirrors, meaning the days of unlovely black plastic bumpers and other exterior trim advertising your penny-pinching purchase decisions are long gone. Mirage is also offered in a trio of no charge bright shades of paint, including the Infrared shown here.
What We’d Choose
At this price point, it’s never a bad idea to consider options from the lightly-used side of a dealer’s lot, since vehicles in this category that are a year or two old may offer a strong value proposition in terms of size and feature count. However, there is something to be said for being a car’s first owner – you know exactly how it’s been treated, the maintenance history, and one gets to enjoy the effervescent new car smell.
Ask about our great warranty offers, covering major powertrain components for up to a decade after you drive one of their cars off the showroom floor. This is no small consideration for a person who simply wants to enjoy their car without having to worry about shelling out for major repairs any time soon