Would You Rather: Mitsubishi Mirage vs Nissan Versa


would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

With automakers having lost the plot in terms of new-vehicle pricing and dealers still tacking on markups, there are loads of people in need of cheap, reliable transportation. While you may not believe it, there are still models to be had for under $20,000 (USD). But your choices are effectively limited to the soon-to-be-discontinued Nissan Versa and Mitsubishi Mirage, begging the question of which one should you buy before they’re gone.

Presumed to be taken off the market within a year or so, the death of these vehicles will completely eliminate the existence of subcompact cars on our market. American manufacturers discontinued production of their smallest vehicles years ago to counter U.S. emissions regulations and European brands don’t bother shipping them across the ocean. That has left Asian manufacturers to carry the torch. However, those aforementioned regulations and American tastes have made them broadly unpopular and not terribly profitable. Nissan and Mitsubishi are the holdouts.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

Both models see starting MSRPs right around $17,000 for the most basic transportation available in 2024. But the Versa actually starts out with the edge here due to the fact that the base Mirage hatchback (above) is significantly smaller. A fairer comparison would be between the Nissan the larger Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan that adds another $1,000 to the base price. However, the final sticker price is likely to vary between dealerships to a point that the above probably won’t matter.

All Versas are powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC inline four with an aluminum block and port fuel injection. The naturally aspirated unit produces 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque which needs to be accessed a little higher in the rev range. The Mirage uses a smaller 1.2-liter DOHC inline three with an aluminum block and port fuel injection. Similarly naturally aspirated, it makes just 78 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque which likewise needs some revving before you can use all of it.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

Both models are front drive and equipped with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) that are practical but don’t add much personality. With the exception of the G4 version of the Mirage, manual transmissions are available via the base trims. But you’ll sacrifice some efficiency and you’re probably not going to come across many in the wild. This is also a ding for the Nissan, since you have to spend a little more to get out of a manual than you would at Mitsubishi — nullifying the pricing advantage held by the former.

The good news is that these relatively simple powertrains should be easy to service and don’t appear to be over stressed, potentially extending their lifespan. They’re also ludicrously economical, achieving at least 32 mpg in town and 40 on the highway with the CVT. The Mitsubishi can actually manage 34 mpg city and 41 mpg on the highway. But getting there requires you to take it extremely easy on the throttle of a car that rarely feels fast enough.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

On level ground, the Mirage is capable of hitting 60 mph in under 13 seconds. Meanwhile, the Versa can usually accomplish the same in fewer than 10 seconds and will continue to out accelerate the Mitsubishi. While those figures probably aren’t all-that important to those shopping this particular vehicle segment, it needs to be said that drivers will probably be entering the expressway with the pedal down on both vehicles most of the time and that a little extra pep could offer some peace of mind.

Interior comfort is probably more meaningful for shoppers and the Versa definitely offers the smoother ride. This is perhaps the result of it weighing a few hundred pounds more than the Mirage, which just barely clocks in over a ton. But it soaks up the bumps better and would be the one to take if you were planning on covering a lot of ground without stopping.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

Cabins are austere but extremely functional on both models. However, the Nissan feels more modern and cushy. There’s just too much exposed plastic and older hardware in the Mitsubishi. It likewise still uses the now retro turn-key ignition. Although, that last item could be argued as a victory for the Mirage the next time you find yourself holding a key fob with a dead battery.

While both cars will let you climb the trim ladder, there doesn’t appear to be much of a point with the Mitsubishi Mirage. You’re really only getting larger wheels out of the deal and it doesn’t offer much else beyond automatic headlamps and lane departure. Automated emergency braking is standard. However, most other advanced driving aids aren’t even available as an option — which will be something that appeals to some drivers and not others.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

Nissan has more standard safety features and will let you option things like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. But there are a few items absent in terms of infotainment. None of the lower trims come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. In order to get them, you have to opt for the Versa SV or SR that come also with larger wheels — at which point you’ll be spending over $20,000 and probably should have been browsing the Nissan Sentra.

This is also the point where what looked like an easy victory for the Nissan Versa becomes much more complicated. While the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 doesn’t boast any obvious mechanical advantages and is very clearly the older design, just about everything a person would want is made available on the base trim. To get the most out of the Nissan Versa, consumers are incentivized to spend a little more. The Mitsubishi also foregoes a lot of the tech that many drivers today consider obnoxious and overbearing. Granted, this is the result of the brand simply not installing them to save money. But there is still a market for those appreciating simplicity and the Mirage G4 is about as basic as things get these days.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

In most cases, shoppers can find a Mitsubishi Mirage G4 ES priced about grand less than a comparable Nissan Versa S in the wild. Considering the former throws in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it could be considered the better deal. However, the latter is probably the better car due to it boasting a little more interior/cargo space, a stronger motor, and more modern features.

Still, this is a quadrant of the market where buyers are extremely price sensitive and optioning the Nissan to trump the Mitsubishi in every single metric requires you to spend the kind of dough where you might have just been better off going up a segment or shopping the used market. Running with the manual versions of these vehicles will help avoid this conundrum somewhat whilst saving shoppers even more money. But actually locating one can be fairly difficult because dealer allocations are minimal.

would you rather mitsubishi mirage vs nissan versa

[Images: Nissan; Mitsubishi]

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