The Mirage was a long-lived subcompact manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors from 1978 to 2002. Most new cars start with a few body styles and slowly evolve into one specific style that is offered. However, the Mirage stayed true to its offerings of three or four body styles throughout the remainder of its life. By its last generation the Mirage was offered as a new sportier 2-door coupe version.
The Mirage was assembled at several plants including the Nagoya Plant in Okazaki, Japan and Todd Park in New Zealand. During the fifth and final generation, assembly took place in Okayama, Japan and Normal, Illinois. Like other cars in the Mitsubishi lineup, the Mirage had varying degrees of power based on which engine was chosen. The smaller 1.5 liter I4 offered a modest 92 horsepower but the slightly larger 1.6 liter MVEC engine gave an increased 172 horsepower. Regardless of which body style was preferred, the Mirage was big enough for a party of four.
The first generation Mirage was in production from 1978 to 1982, but the North American version was recognized as the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ. The actual Mirage name was not introduced to the United States until the third generation in 1985. That same year, the Mirage was given a more stylish redesign, which was further improved upon in later models. The Mirage was discontinued in the United States in 2002 and replaced with the Mitsubishi Lancer.
The Mirage is sold in four different body styles: 2-door coupe, 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan and 4-door wagon. Available with each model is optional 1.5, 1.6 and 1.8 liter engines with either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmissions. An all-wheel drive variant is available from the 1991 fourth generation models, including a 3-speed automatic transmission. The interior is large for a subcompact with plenty of legroom and headroom in the rear. Fuel economy for the 2001 model is 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway.
The earliest Mirage models won the favoritism of buyers in the late 70s and early 80s due to its small size and great fuel efficiency. Over time the Mirage won a few awards including IntelliChoice's Best Deal of the Month Award and Best Overall Value of the Year Award in 1999. Although Mitsubishi dropped the Mirage name in 2002, the car continues to drive along the city streets today
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