No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke with bad timing—although it sounds like one. But if all goes according to plan, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car in America when it debuts next fall, boasting an EPA line of 37 mpg city/44 mpg highway/40 mpg combined.
Needless to say, the launch of that car could be a tipping point in Mitsubishi’s renewed quest for credibility in the U.S. auto market, especially with the Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport achieving some recent sales momentum. In fact, the company’s overall deliveries are up 13.4 percent through the first two months of the year and are currently outpacing the industry’s growth rate by a full 5 percent. A high-mileage, next-gen small car would be an ideal bookend to Mitsubishi’s increasingly popular crossovers and the still-effective Mitsubishi Lancer family, and that’s exactly the role the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is intended to play.
Potential buyers should note, however, that while Mitsubishi is talking up the Mirage as a “subcompact,” the car will be significantly shorter than the typical hatchback in the segment. The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is 148.8 inches in length, while traditional subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit are just a bit more than 160 inches. The better match for the Mirage is the Chevy Spark, which comes in at 144.7 inches and has turned into a modest success for the Bowtie brand.
A similar outcome for the 2014 Mirage would go a long way toward helping Mitsubishi avoid the fate of Suzuki here in this country.