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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage w/ 3-cylinder engine the most fuel efficient non-hybrid gasoline car in US; up to 40 mpg combined

2015 Mirage ES. Click to enlarge.

The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is currently the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline car in the US, with combined EPA rating of 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km), consisting of 37 mpg (6.36 l/100 km) city and 44 mpg (5.35 l/100 km) highway, when equipped with the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) option. The 2015 Mirage is priced with a low starting MSRP of $12,995.

The Mirage is equipped with a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder DOHC engine that features the latest version of Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) variable valve-timing system to maximize fuel efficiency and power output while minimizing exhaust emissions.

Under the hood. Click to enlarge.

Making use of a high compression ratio of 10.5:1, a bore and stroke measuring 3.0 in. (75 mm) x 3.5 in. (90 mm), respectively, and employing a lightweight aluminum engine block, this economical 3-cylinder powerplant produces 74 bhp (55 kW) at 6000 rpm and 74 lb-ft (100 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine weighs less than 170 lbs (77 kg).

Working in tandem with the 5-door subcompact’s curb weight of just less than one ton, the 2015 Mirage has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Chevrolet Spark.

Additional efficiency has been achieved by reducing the friction and mass of numerous key engine components including the lightweight hollow camshaft and pistons as well as resin-coated low friction bearings; low-friction piston rings; and improved surface smoothness of the valve stems and camshaft journals. An output-optimized engine oil pump circulates lower viscosity engine oil (0W-20 grade).

The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is available with either a 5-speed manual or a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). Based on the unit equipped in the recently redesigned Mitsubishi Outlander 7-passenger crossover/SUV, the CVT features Mitsubishi Motors’ INVECS III technology that automatically selects the optimal gear ratio based on road and driving conditions for a more polished ride quality.

Another feature included in the CVT is Idle Neutral Logic, a technology that reduces friction loss of the CVT by more precisely controlling the clutch when the vehicle is at standstill while in “D” (drive).

Fuel economy with the 5-speed is 37 mpg (6.36 l/100 km) combined/34 mpg (6.92 l/100 km) city/42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) highway.

Along with its low price and high EPA-rated fuel economy, both the entry-level 2015 Mirage DE and the upscale Mirage ES offer a high level of features and accessories in their standard equipment packages.

The exterior features a chiseled crease along the corners of the bumper, underbody tray covers, a smallish grille opening, a patented teardrop-shaped roofline and a sharp-looking high-mounted rear spoiler “wing” to reduce drag. Furthermore, the entry-level DE trim level of the Mirage includes an aerodynamically-shaped full wheel cover that helps further reduce drag and turbulence. These aero enhancements help the 2015 Mirage achieve a very low coefficient of drag of 0.28.

Because of the inclusion of high-tensile steel to key sections of the Mirage’s body and chassis, the vehicle tips the scales at less than one ton (1,973 lbs, 895 kg) while possessing excellent structural rigidity.

The high-efficiency theme is carried over into the Mirage’s interior as well: The HVAC system has been designed to offer reduced weight while providing improved heater performance airflow to accommodate the rear seat passengers, along with the implementation of a new pollen filter to improve interior air quality.

Additional fuel efficiency is gained through the use of an Electric Power Steering (EPS) system —with the added benefit of providing a very tight turning radius of only 15.1 feet—as well as an ECO indicator light that illuminates to signal the driver when they are achieving exemplary fuel economy while driving.

The Mitsubishi Mirage has also been designed to have a lower environmental impact in the manufacturing process by utilizing recycled materials, vehicle parts that can be easily recycled, and by greatly reducing the use of hazardous materials.

Every 2015 Mirage comes equipped with an array of safety features and technologies. These include a seven (7) air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) including dual front air bags; dual front seat-mounted side-impact air bags; dual side-impact curtain air bags and a driver’s knee air bag; 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist; a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS); and Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL). Mirage models equipped with the continuously-variable transmission-equipped (CVT) also include Hill Start Assist (HSA).

Also included is a brake override system. Should the brake and accelerator pedals be applied simultaneously while the vehicle is moving, the engine ECU will override the accelerator’s input and give priority to the brakes—a fail-safe function that greatly reduces the risk of an unintended acceleration.

Additional protection is provided to the vehicle’s occupants by Mitsubishi Motors’ patented high-tech Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) impact-absorbing safety cell technology. In the event of a collision, the RISE system’s energy-absorbing body structure helps to dissipate kinetic energy away from the driver and passengers.

The 2015 Mirage carries a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 7-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion/perforation limited warranty; and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.


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