The Mitsubishi Mirage Meets Its End…For the Japanese Market

Mitsubishi discontinues its small car in its home market - and may be a sign of what's to come in North America

(Images: Mitsubishi)

In a shrinking market of affordable small cars, the Mitsubishi Mirage is still an option, for now.

Buyers in Japan looking to get their hands on the small and relatively cheap Mirage face some inconvenient news, as the automaker officially discontinues production. Head over to the brand’s Japanese consumer website, and you’ll see the following message in red text (translated): “Due to the end of Mirage production, body colors, options, etc. may not meet your request. Please contact our sales staff for details.”

With its demise in its home market, we’re wondering whether this is a precursor of what’s to come for the Mitsubishi Mirage in America. At the moment, it’s one of the few actually affordable cars left, alongside the Nissan Versa and Kia Rio, with prices starting at around $17,600.

Mitsubishi Motors did not announce the car’s discontinuation for the U.S. market, instead stating that it’s still integral to the brand’s lineup. Nonetheless, folks tend to shop crossovers and SUVs (like the Eclipse Cross and Outlander) over conventional hatchbacks, and the Mirage hasn’t seen much love since it entered the market in 2012. It received a minor facelift and tech update for the 2021 model year, but that’s it.

Will we ultimately see the Mirage leave the U.S. market at some point in the near future? It likely will in its current form, as it’s just getting too long in the tooth to remain competitive. Even against a comparatively small pool of rivals, the updated Nissan Versa is a far more compelling package, even though it’s just available as a sedan. If you need a hatchback, the similarly priced Kia Rio is a solid option as well.

Both Nathan and I agree, however, that the industry needs affordable options for budget-conscious folks who want the peace of mind a new car warranty offers. On that basis, hopefully the automaker will bring in a replacement if it decides to drop the Mirage in the U.S. market.

As always, time will tell.