Vehicles like the Mitsubishi Mirage or the Chevrolet Spark can really experience success in North America, especially when compared to Europe.
For example, Quebecers are fond of small cars and for several reasons, but fuel economy and the simplicity of driving these vehicles in an urban environment are without a doubt among the factors behind the success of this segment.
The affordable starting price of urban cars like the Chevrolet Spark and the Mitsubishi Mirage is definitely part of th equation. For many, it’s more appealing to buy a new car than a used one, and the Spark, as well as the Mirage, are among the most affordable.
Two cars of the same size, sold at about the same price, and with a similar fuel economy, at least on paper? A comparison is definitely required.
The Mitsubishi Mirage has promised nothing less than the best fuel economy in its class. In fact, the company boasts that it has the best fuel economy of all non-hybrid models in Canada. On paper, we have to give them the credit.
The 3-cylinder 1.2-litre engine of the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage generates 74-horsepower, and has an average fuel consumption of 4.4 L/100km on the highway, and 5.3 L/100km in the city with an automatic CVT transmission. With a manual 5-speed gearbox, the Mirage has an average consumption of 5.3 L, which is 0.4-litres more than the CVT.
The Spark is not able to compete with the displayed consumption of the Mirage, but it unquestionably remains a vehicle that is very economic. Powered by a 4-cylinder 1.2-litre engine that generates 84-horsepower, the Spark is said to have an average fuel consumption of 6.4 L/100 km for city and 5.0 L/100 km on the highway with the 5-speed manual transmission. The automatic CVT transmission is optional and adds 0.1 L for urban consumption. When on the highway, the fuel economy for the CVT remains unchanged.
Although both models were tested, the testing conditions were not identical, and therefore we cannot comment on the actual fuel consumption of both vehicles. That being said, regardless of the conditions the Mirage will always have an advantage on the Spark in terms of consumption. For those looking for an economical car, it’s something to consider.
Winner: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
Even if you don’t buy the 2014 Chevrolet Spark or the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage for their interior space, it’s still nice to accommodate passengers in the back seat from time to time, or for shopping purposes. In this case, the Chevrolet Spark stands out compared to its Japanese rival.
The interior of the Spark offers space for five people, like the Mirage, but like the latter, accommodating more than four people on board is a tad too ambitious. That being said, the Spark offers more headroom, more legroom and better cargo space than the Mirage.
In fact, if the Mirage can hold 235-litres of stock in the trunk with the seat in place, and 487-litres when it’s lowered. The Spark offers 324 to 884-litres of cargo space. If we compare measurements for the rest of the interior, we notice that in all respects the U.S. is ahead of the Japanese.
In short, whether you are tall or large, or you simply don’t want to make a compromise in regards to space, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark is the preferred model.
Winner: 2014 Chevrolet Spark
Driving and handling
While the Chevrolet Spark generates 10 hp more than the Mitsubishi Mirage, you can’t really feel the difference on the road. However, and as a whole, the American car offers a more solid handling than the Mirage.
The Chevrolet Spark is more stable when driving through curves and on the highway, especially when the wind is blowing sideways. It’s also a bit quieter and generally more comfortable than the Mitsubishi Mirage, which does a terrible job of blocking out the sound as you’re driving. The Mirage is also sharper on a road that’s in poor condition.
In short, the Chevrolet Spark is surprising for a car of its size in terms of how it drives, while the Mirage, and although it does not disappoint, constantly reminds us that we are in a small, affordable car.
Winner: 2014 Chevrolet Spark
The subjective value
The Chevrolet Spark is available from $11,845 before taxes, while the Mitsubishi Mirage is sold from $12,498, again before taxes. For each of their selective base models, none offer a vehicle that is well equipment. No air conditioning, no cruise control, and no Bluetooth. All of these elements are provided, but they are optional. Interestingly enough, the base model of the Mirage does not offer power windows for rear passengers.
In terms of options, each model offers some interesting elements. The Chevrolet Spark can include the OnStar communication system that provides a range of services, including roadside assistance and assistance in the event of a collision, while the Mirage can be equipped with a parking assist system.
Beyond the options, we must admit that the Chevrolet Spark has a better build quality and a more enjoyable interior than the Mirage. The latter offers a bland interior made of hard plastic, while that of the Spark is more vibrant with a well designed center console and a modern dashboard.
Regardless of the model, you need to go easy on the options if you don’t want to end up with a car that will cost over $20,000. However, due to its nicer, more spacious interior, the Spark represents the best choice for the subjective value.
Winner: 2014 Chevrolet Spark
A word about safety
In the end, it should be noted that the Chevrolet Spark is the only car in its class to be awarded the Best Safety Choice on behalf of the IIHS. The Spark and the Mirage offer a knee airbag for the driver, as well as standard stability and traction control.
The Spark stood out during the IIHS tests, especially in terms of the small overlap collision test, where the body structure of the American car scored higher than all the other cars in its category.
The Chevrolet Spark and the Mitsubishi Mirage are both interesting options due to their price and their fuel economy. Even as the fuel consumption for the Mirage is lower than the Spark, the interior space and cockpit is much more pleasant in the Spark, and preferable to the Mirage.