The Mitsubishi Mirage entered production from 1978 until 2003. After nearly a decade-long interruption, the Mirage lineup resumed production in 2012.
During the first phase of production, the hatchback was categorized as a subcompact car, while the sedan and wagon were rebranded as Mitsubishi Lancer and sold as compacts. A compact liftback variant was launched in 1988, with a subcompact coupe joining the range in 1991.
Currently, the Mirage is classed as a subcompact hatchback and sedan.
Mitsubishi sold the first two generations of the Mirage in Australia as the Colt and the third generation as the Lancer.
First Generation (1978-1983)
The first Mirage came into the market in March of 1978. It was a 3-door hatchback laid out as a front-wheel drive. A few months later, Mitsubishi introduced a 5-door hatchback variant. Both of these variants came with a rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes, and independent suspension on all four wheels.
The two engines initially offered delivered an output of 53 kW and 60 kW. The 60 kW engine had a modulated displacement feature which allowed for greater fuel efficiency. A 65 kW engine and a 77 kW sports variant were added to the range at a later time. The sports engine had a knock sensor feature, allowing it to run on petrol with varying octane grades.
In 1982, the first generation received its first facelift, which included a new grille and headlamps that had the flusher fitting feature, allowing them to extend and become fender panels. Other changes included enlarged taillights, a new and firmer engine, and fitted transmission mounts. The interior received a revised dashboard. Mitsubishi Motors Australia produced this facelifted model as the Colt. A 4-door sedan variant was also introduced at this time.
The Second Generation (1983-1991)
The second generation came out to replace the first-generation models, although it continued to offer the same 3-door and 5-door hatchback variants and the 4-door sedan variant. In 1985, Mitsubishi also introduced a new body style, a station wagon, which was sold internationally as either the Colt or the Mirage.
The engines were updated, with 1.3L and 1.5L petrol units replacing the 1.2L and 1.4L engines of the previous generation. A few variants also carried 1.6L and 1.8L engines.
The second generation received a facelift in 1986, which included both engine and transmission upgrades.
The Third Generation (1987-1995)
In October 1987, Mitsubishi introduced the third generation of the Mirage. The basic model was a 3-door hatchback, with the sedan variant launching in January 1988. In June of the same year, Mitsubishi released the 5-door liftback variant. The Mirage continued to sell in its two other names (Colt and Lancer) depending upon the body style, variant, and market.
Although both of the previous generations were sold under the Colt name, Mitsubishi sold the third generation Mirage under the Lancer name.
The Fourth Generation (1991-1995)
The fourth generation of the Mirage was sold alongside the third generation until both ceased production in 1995, although the wagon model continued to be sold until 2012. The shape of the vehicle was made even rounder as part of this generation. The Lancer wagon continued to be sold in Australia and New Zealand until 2003.
An essential upgrade in this generation was the availability of four-wheel drive in some variants. The majority continued to have the front-wheel-drive system. The powertrain also received significant upgrades, including a V6 petrol engine.
In Australia, the fourth generation was offered as the Lancer's CC series, providing the coupe, sedan, and wagon variants. As a standard, all vehicles came with a 5-speed manual gearbox, except for one version of the sedan that paired with an automatic transmission.
The Fifth Generation (1995-2003)
The fifth-generation Mirage came out in three body styles, including the 3-door hatchback and sedan variants, and a 2-door coupe. The Mirage also started selling under the Mirage badge in Australia as part of the fifth generation, but without the station wagon variant of this generation. Instead, Mitsubishi continued selling the wagon from the previous generation until 2003.
In 2003, Mitsubishi announced that it was discontinuing the Mirage around the world, reportedly due to financial difficulties. By 2003, only the coupe remained in the Japanese market.
In Australia, the Mirage started selling in 1996 up until 2003. The coupe and sedan variants were sold under the Lancer badge, while the 3-door hatchback variant wore the Mirage badge. It marked the first time that Mitsubishi had launched a Mirage-badged car in Australia. The 3-door hatchback came with a 1.5L petrol engine capable of delivering 69 kW of power and 126 Nm of torque, available in both a 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmission. Engine specifications were not changed throughout the fifth generation.
The Sixth Generation (2012-present)
Mitsubishi decided to rename the Colt as the Mirage in 2012, and the Mirage was reborn. The company aimed to relaunch the Mirage as an affordable vehicle that delivered superior fuel efficiency. To do this, Mitsubishi reduced the vehicle's weight to such an extent that it came to be known as the lightest 4-door vehicle to exist in North America at the time of its launch. The drag coefficient associated with the car was also the lowest in its class then.
In Australia, the Mirage had four trims, including ES, LS, LS Pop Green Plus Pack, and Sport. All these trims came as 5-door hatchbacks with a 1.2L petrol engine (57 kW and 100 Nm) and had either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a CVT auto transmission. A 4-door sedan was added in 2014 in both the ES and LS trims with the same engine specifications.
In 2015, Mitsubishi discontinued the LS Pop Green Plus Pack and Sport trims of the hatchback and the LS hatchback with a manual gearbox. In 2019, the Mirage sedan also ceased from the market. That same year, Mitsubishi introduced a 5-door Black Edition Sam hatchback, which came with a CVT auto transmission and had the same engine specs as the other hatchbacks in the Mirage lineup.
If you have any of these models and need parts for them, you may visit Carpart.com.au and find used and serviceable car parts from sellers operating all over the country.