You could spend $14,295 on a used car, or you could take home a brand new 2021 Mitsubishi
Mirage ES. This pint-size sedan puts only 78 horsepower to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox, but it is remarkably well-equipped for the money.
That price – plus $995 destination charge – gets you automatic emergency braking that can even detect pedestrians, plus a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, air conditioning, and power windows. A 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty are standard fare, too.
An automatic transmission costs $1,300 more, while a sedan body style called the Mirage G4 raises the price by $1,000 on its own.
A new Carbonite Edition package this year adds carbon fiber-looking trim and other exterior accents, though these bits are of both dubious value and taste since they cost $775. That’s nearly a 5% markup, so spend your money wisely.
Still, fully equipped, the swankiest of Mirages runs $18,195, or a little more with extra-cost special white paint. The loaded-up Mirage SE trim level includes alloy wheels, heated front seats, automatic climate control and fog lights, features generally reserved for pricier small cars.
That isn’t enough to make the Mirage the cheapest car in America, however. That honor goes to the $13,400 Chevrolet Spark, which is rather more basic. Don’t go looking for standard automatic emergency braking or even forward-collision alerts on the little Spark.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.