With its tiny footprint and even tinier engine, the Mitsubishi Mirage may seem like a throwback to the bad old days of tinny econoboxes. But the Mirage has been something of a sales surprise for Mitsubishi, so much so that the Japanese carmaker is investing in a noteworthy update that includes fresh styling, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage debuted at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, and will go on sale next year after skipping the 2016 model year. The Mirage remains an unusual offering in a market that seems to prize bigger cars, longer lists of options, and more complex powertrains.
Mitsubishi’s styling updates at least make the Mirage look a little less odd. The formerly smooth front end now has a more traditional grille and lower air intake detailing. The hood is reshaped as well and the taillights are now LED. The rear spoiler and bumper were also reshaped, all in the name of aerodynamic performance. The styling changes actually lower the Mirage’s coefficient of drag to 0.27, Mitsubishi claims. The standard wheels are still tiny 14-inch alloys, with 15-inch rims optional.
Outside the wheels, the engine also doesn’t look impressive on paper. It’s still a 1.2-liter three-cylinder, which produces just 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque. Granted, that’s four more horsepower than before, but even with just 1,973 pounds to push around, you won’t be going anywhere in a hurry.
Mitsubishi offers five-speed manual and CVT automatic transmissions. It says the Mirage’s suspension was also retuned for better handling, and the car also sports bigger brakes than the 2015 model. Small cars can be a lot of fun to chuck into corners, so maybe theses changes will make the Mirage at least a little fun, as well as economical.
The Mirage is also the first Mitsubishi model in the U.S. to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (they’re already offered on some Mitsubishi models in Europe). There’s also an available 300-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, while the interior itself gets detail changes like a new steering wheel and seat materials.
The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage goes on sale in spring 2016. Pricing information will come as that time approaches.