Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,300 – $3,000*


1998 Mitsubishi Mirage LS 4-door sedan


1998 Mitsubishi Mirage LS 2-door coupe


1997 Mitsubishi Mirage LS 2-door coupe


1997 Mitsubishi Mirage interior


1997 Mitsubishi Mirage LS 4-door sedan

Pros:
  • Fuel economy
  • Price
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Acceleration (DE)
  • Rear-seat room (coupes)

Mirage is definitely worth a test drive if you’re shopping in the Civic/Corolla neighborhood and wouldn’t mind saving a few dollars.

Overview

In addition to redesigning its front-drive subcompact for 1997, Mitsubishi revived the 4-door model. Unlike the prior generation, too, the Mirage now stood alone instead of having a near-clone available from Chrysler Corporation dealers. Both the notchback 2-door coupe and the revived 4-door sedan came in base DE (“Deluxe”) and upscale LS trim. Sedans rode a wheelbase 3 inches longer than the coupes, creating more rear-seat space. DE models held a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produced 92 horsepower. A 1.8-liter four, rated at 113 horsepower, went under LS hoods. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard and a 4-speed automatic optional.

Yearly Updates

1998 Mirage
Except for the addition of a heavy-duty starter and battery, little was new for 1998.
1999 Mirage
Minor revisions to the rear end gave Mitsubishi’s subcompact coupe and sedan a slightly different look for ’99. White-faced gauges and a tachometer went into the LS coupe.
2000 Mirage
Antilock brakes no longer were available, but DE models added some standard equipment, including air conditioning, power windows, and power locks. A CD player was newly standard. DE models also switched to 14-inch wheels and gained a tilt steering column. LS sedans now included a power sunroof and alloy wheels, which had previously cost extra.
2001 Mirage
No significant changes were made for 2001.
2002 Mirage
There were no significant changes for 2002. Mirage continued to be sold to rental fleets with no changes in 2003. It was replaced in public sales with the new Lancer.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Mirages came with a choice of two engines and two transmissions. A 1.5-liter overhead-cam 4-cylinder, rated at 92 horsepower, went into DE models. The Mirage LS used a 1.8-liter engine, which produced 113 horsepower. Either engine could have a 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/112
Engine HP 113
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 116
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
28/37
26/33
30.9
26.0
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/90
Engine HP 92
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 93
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
33/40
29/36
34.1

Road Test

Unusually easy to drive, the latest Mirage scores well in a number of areas. Bonuses include a comfortable driving position, no-nonsense dashboard and sensibly placed controls, commanding visibility all around, and competitive passenger and cargo space. The only exception is the coupe’s back seat, which is too small for adults to occupy comfortably.

Ride, handling, and braking all rank as acceptable, but not outstanding. A Mirage corners nimbly and predictably, with front-drive security. Ride comfort is good, and quite nice indeed on the highway. But the experience can begin to get choppy when rolling through broken surfaces and freeway expansion joints. On coarse pavement too, tire noise gets to be a problem. Wind rush is not excessive at highway speeds.

On the negative side, engine noise remains relatively strong. Acceleration isn’t so lively, except with the bigger engine and manual transmission. The new automatic transmission is a lot smoother in operation and more responsive than the old one, but because models with the smaller engine lack sufficient power, we’d avoid automatic. In fact, we’d avoid the smaller engine entirely, due to its minimal gusto. An LS coupe with the bigger engine averaged 30.9 mpg in mostly highway driving. An LS sedan with automatic achieved 26 mpg in a mix of city and highway operation.

As expected, it’s considerably easier to get into a 4-door than a 2-door, and the sedan offers more usable rear passenger space. Even so, leg and foot room out back are necessarily tight when sitting behind a tall front-seater. All models have a reasonably sized trunk with a flat floor. The LS coupe adds the extra versatility of a split folding backseat (which was available as an option package for sedans).

Ratings

Model Tested: 1998 Mitsubishi Mirage LS sedan

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 36

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.1 168.1 66.5 51.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.5 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 35.8 43.0 31.1
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.4 173.6 66.5 52.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.5 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 37.4 43.0 33.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 Mirage 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 161
Injury 246
Theft 140

Trouble Spots

Spark plugs
Description: Spark plugs tend to foul if the vehicle is driven only short distances in cold weather. (1997-98)

Recall History

1998
Description: Poorly manufactured vacuum-check valve in hose between intake manifold and brake-vacuum booster.
1999-02
Description: Bilingual English/Spanish removable airbag warning labels on dashboard and sunvisor do meet size requirements.
1999-2001
Description: The bolt securing the crankshaft pulley can loosen. If the pulley falls off the vehicle, there will be a loss of power-steering assist.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.