I for one agree with Doug DeMuro. The Mitsubishi Mirage A00 is probably the worst new car you can buy. But my opinion, like the opinions of vegans, doesn’t matter that much. However, you can take Doug DeMuro’s word for it. 

Anyway, I am a pastry chef, carpenter, joiner, septic tank cleaner, anything but a online automotive dumpster editor. I should get back to the Mirage, but I still have some rambling to do, as I always do since I’ve been to Solihull and now I see life with different eyes. Blank eyes, but technically different.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, the Mitsubishi Mirage A00, also known as the Mitsubishi Space Star in a bunch of european countries. We kept the proper Mirage name though. Launched somewhere in 2012, the Mitsubishi Mirage A00 received a facelift in 2017 and another one in 2020, but apart from a different front end and that was pretty much it.

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Why is it probably the worst new car? The short version is that the Dacia Sandero Access (the entry level one) costs 7995 euros and comes with a 1.0 MPI engine with 65 horsepower. The cheapest Mirage costs 8999 pounds and comes with a 1.2 petrol engine with 78 horsepower to work with. The level of equipment is roughly the same, and the Sandero is slightly larger. Then you have the Hyundai i10, which starts at 11400 pounds but comes with a longer warranty period, and the Comfort+ package, meaning you get more than just windows, seats, and pedals. We’ll talk about doors later. There was also the Suzuki Ignis, which was priced a smidge over 10000 pounds, but then they gave it the Mild Hybrid treatment and it costs as much as a Duster, so we’ll remove it from the list. So let’s see what you get for 8999 pounds when you buy a new Mitsubishi Mirage A00. You get only one standard color (appliance white). What you don’t get in return: floor mats, steering wheel controls, air conditioning, you get a gear lever worthy of the first Logan, 14-inch steel wheels, no armrest, no fog lights, no rear electric windows, not even as an option, no chrome on the door handles or anywhere else. You don’t even get a glove compartment. The idea is that even the most basic Sandero is better equipped than the Mitsubishi Mirage A00 and is a grand and a four pack of Fosters cheaper.

 

The second issue with the Mitsubishi Mirage A00 is its sort of low reliability, much lower than that of the first model. Sure, in the USA, it’s a very good car because you can buy it at the fabulous price of $14,000, but in the USA there isn’t really the concept of a small car. But here in Europe, you can’t sell an American car at a European car price. The low quality and reliability were enough reasons not to buy such a car, but the final nail in the coffin was the fact that this car has been on sale for 10 years and has not had substantial improvements. It’s like trying to sell the original Sharan in 2021, but there are probably enough people to buy it. Again, in the USA, it’s a relatively fine car because it doesn’t have much competition, and it costs 3-4 month’s worth of income , but here in Europe, it’s like asking a local comedian to compare himself to Tarantino in terms of filmmaking. I know Tarantino wouldn’t stand a chance.

 

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Mitsubishi Mirage A00 Engines

Petrol:

  • 1.0  3A90 of 69 horsepower – The only fun thing about this engine is that it has 69 horsepower (nice). Frequent issues with carbon build-up, especially in engines without EGR. How do you know if it has EGR or not? Well, only engines with AS&G have EGR (Automatic Stop & Go). Good thing it was retired in 2014.
  • 1.2  3A92 of 78 horsepower – In 2014, the 3A92, the successor to the 3A90, was introduced. There are no more issues with carbon build-ups around the valves, and it doesn’t have specific issues anymore. Moreover, you could opt for a 5-speed manual or a 7-speed CVT automatic, which is probably the most reliable CVT gearbox on the market simply because it’s very simple. Yes, it’s slower in response than the gubment when returning taxes, but at least it’s reliable.

 

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Mitsubishi Mirage A00 Reliability Issues

  • The main and frequent issue with the Mitsubishi Mirage A00 is that the brakes only last about 10,000 km, and this is not an exaggeration. There have been many cases of prematurely worn discs and pads, so get used to the idea. Well, it’s not a BMW where you carry spare engines in the trunk or an Vauxhall where you carry 2-3 ECUs just in case, but it’s good to know.
  • An issue which is more exclusive to USA where they translated “Quality Assurance” into “Quabity Assuance” is that the doors may occasionally fall off, which is a performance to be respected in 2020, even in 2014 or 2012 when it was launched, as the door hinges can fail. That’s why I said earlier that the doors are relatively optional.
  • You know what, I’ll say it: Poor equipment levels. Poor soundproofing. But then again, this is a budget car and it comes with all the bear neccesities for the urban life, which is kinda the whole point of the Mirage.

 

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Mitsubishi Mirage A00 Verdict

Things are starting to improve considerably for the Mirage. I’ve also went dumpster diving in the classifieds, and I was impressed. With 4000 pounds you can buy a model from 2014 with the minimum necessary equipment; 2 grand more can land you a 2018 model, and for 7700 pounds I’ve found a 2020 model with just 35,000 miles on it. If you’re a beginner and want a economical, cheap and reasonably sturdy car to get around the city, it’s hard to find better alternatives. But for this money, you can also buy the Sandero, which is larger, similarly equipped but much more common and has the cheapest car in the UK stigma slapped to it. But if you want to stand out with a Moulinex Maginix on wheels, then the Mirage also deserves some attention and love. In any case, both are city cars that I wouldn’t take on long trips, although there are people who have driven over 200,000 miles with their Mirage. Sorry, not people. Legends.

 

Which engines do I recommend? Clearly, the 1.2 3A92 Apetrol engine from 2014 onwards and it’s 78 horsepower, simply because it doesn’t have specific reliability issues.