2014 Mitsubishi Mirage- The Small Car With A Big Responsibility

CAM00753 Forget about the children.  Today’s cars are also suffering from the epidemic of obesity.  To put it bluntly; they’re fat.  Overweight and plump from being laden with enough airbags for the Mars Pathfinder landing and enough tech goodies to put a Game Stop to shame, and despite the extensive use of lightweight materials, they continue getting heavier each year.  The average car in 1987 tipped the scales at 3,221 lbs, while in 2010, the common car crashed through them at just over 4,000 lbs., or about a 25% increase over 23 years.  Most of us can probably relate to gaining that percentage of mass in the time frame as well.  I often hear car buyers as well as enthusiasts complain that there’s no simple, lightweight cars anymore.  Surprisingly, many clamor for such cult classics like the original Geo Metro of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  With an uncomplicated three-cylinder engine, miniscule dimensions, cheap price of entry, and no luxuries that add a burden to weight, the Metro, along with its Japanese tri-cylinder comrades, the Subaru Justy and Daihatsu Charade, were able to achieve well over 40 mpg without hybrid technology in an era when gas was just peaking over a $1.00 per gallon.  During their tenure, they were little more than just curiosities on our immense American roads and were the butts of many jokes, and the idea just never took off during such good economic times.  The last three-cylinder Metro, which had long outlived the Subaru and Daihatsu, was phased out in 2000.  As they say, timing is everything.  During the recent recession and gas spike, demand for the thrifty old Metros skyrocketed and spawned the famous urban legend of some examples selling for $8,000 on Ebay, or about the same price as they were brand new 20 years earlier.  It also begged the question; why can’t GM, or anyone, introduce a simple, basic, and fuel efficient glorified scooter that offers the same mileage as the hybrids for half the price?  There was obviously a demand.  In that time, with the exception of the puny Smart ForTwo, no one had attempted to reintroduce a three-cylinder car to America.   That was until this 2014 model year, when Mitsubishi stepped up to the plate with the all-new Mirage.

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