Home » A Detail To Celebrate: The Mitsubishi Mirage’s Afterthought Of A Backup Camera

A Detail To Celebrate: The Mitsubishi Mirage’s Afterthought Of A Backup Camera

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Some things that capture the attention of car-people might seem surprising to the average person – not obvious things like the aching beauty of the bird-lady on the grille of a Rolls-Royce or the flowing lines of the universally-loved Jaguar E-Type, I’m talking about smaller, less expected details — even details that conventional, expected wisdom might consider unworthy, even ugly. Details like the backup camera on the 2018-2024 Mitsubishi Mirage.

Yes, the backup camera on the Mirage! That ridiculous, tacked-on looking thing! I know it seems like an absurd thing to devote any attention to at all, but I think you should hear me out. You see, there’s something kind of subversive and punk about the backup camera on the Mirage, and I think it’s one of those things that many of us have noticed, but haven’t quite taken the time to put into words. So maybe now is the time.

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The Mirage made its backup camera standard in 2018 (though it was optional before), the point when it pretty much had no choice anymore, legally. Oh, and speaking of car backup cameras, you know what’s interesting about them, in relation to other camera systems? They have their image flipped, on the horizontal axis, just like a physical mirror is. If it didn’t, it would be really confusing, not just because we’re all used to looking at a reversed image in a mirror, but also because you as a driver are facing the opposite way from the camera, so all your motions would be reversed if the image itself were not reversed. Neat, right?

Anyway, back to the Mirage. The method used to put a rear-view camera on the Mirage screams the least possible effort, and I think that’s what I like about it. There’s an honesty to it, a complete lack of pretension, and what seems to be some genuine self-awareness.

Let’s just look at how this installation is accomplished:

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There is no attempt to integrate anything into, well, anything. The camera is contained in a nice enough housing, but that little plastic housing – which at least is painted the body color of the car – doesn’t seem to be influenced by any of the design cues or decisions made for the rest of the car. It’s just a camera housing that positions the camera at the right place, and facing the proper angle.

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It’s not like there weren’t other options; the camera could have been worked into a slightly enlarged Mitsubishi diamond-star badge, or placed in the spoiler above the tailgate or hidden in the black window area or in the rear bumper – there’s a lot of possibilities other than the one chosen, which, it’s worth remembering, was chosen deliberately.

Hell, even my Changli, the cheapest car in the world, has a better-integrated backup camera than the Mirage. Look:

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So this can’t have been just a way of being cheap; sure, Mitsubishi picked one of the cheapest solutions possible, but if the freaking $930 Changli could work a backup camera into the design in a less obtrusive way, then you would think the industrial juggernaut of Mitsubishi could, too.

And, yet, again, Mitsuibishi didn’t.

But what it did do has a strange sort of charm. It’s just stuck on there, defiantly, and while almost every reviewer seems compelled to comment on it – this 2014 review says “notice the tumor-shaped protrusion on the car’s rump,” for example, even though the only being capable of growing a tumor that looks anything remotely like that is, I don’t know, Robocop? But the fact that the reviewer felt compelled to point it out and compare it to a tumor (not even just a lipoma) says that this little bit of plastic and electronics has some strange power.

The Mirage’s backup camera is a defiant fuck you to auto reviewers, auto designers, and the entire concept of cars as status objects. Mitsubishi could have tried to integrate the backup camera into the tailgate in some more elegant way, maybe with some additional plastic trim that would have hidden the camera, or made it flow into the curves of the body.

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But, again, they didn’t. Because fuck it. It’s a Mirage, and at least this way if the camera sticks out like an alleged tumor or whatever, at least whoever saw it can think hey, that cheap little Mirage has a backup camera. I mean, it’s kind of absurd to be hiding it in the first place! It’s a camera, it’s not the car’s rectum, there’s nothing to be ashamed of!

The auto industry has some strange fixations on what should be shown and what should be hidden as it is. The Mirage’s backup camera isn’t playing into any of that. It’s also worth noting that if the Mirage were a rugged sort of SUV like a Land Rover Defender or an Ineos Grenadier then a little chunky pod with a camera wouldn’t be looked at as weird at all. It would just be an accepted part of the design.

Sure, those vehicles have a very different aesthetic, but maybe the Mirage is saying why should those types of vehicles only have the freedom to not hide their reverse cameras?

If you’ve ever noticed the Mirage’s backup camera, and my guess is you have, then I bet you felt something. I bet you expressed what you felt with derision at first, but I would call upon you to look deeper, to really think about what you’re feeling. Maybe there’s a bit of discomfort, because what you’re seeing is a car that just doesn’t care about the expected rules and norms anymore.

It’s been derided and mocked so many times that it’s immune. It doesn’t give a shit. It gets its driver and passengers where they want to go, and when they want to go backwards, it turns on that little camera in that little protuberance, and it does the exact same thing as one of those backup cameras hidden behind a badge and needing some little motor to expose it, all dramatically.

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The backup camera on the Mitsubishi Mirage should catch your attention, but not for the reasons you may think. This little lump of optics and electronics is a middle finger to so many conventions of the mainstream automotive world, conventions that perhaps deserve not just to see that middle finger, but to sit, and, where applicable, spin.

Respect the Mirage’s silly reverse camera. But if you’re not willing to do that, I can guarantee you that it won’t care.

 

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Allen Lloyd
Allen Lloyd
2 months ago

As a do it yourself-er I love things like this. They tend to be much easier to remove and repurpose.

Scott Ashley
Scott Ashley
2 months ago

One man’s subversive and punk is another man’s engineer phoned it in whilst simultaneously lighting up the bong.

Timbales
Timbales
2 months ago

I miss the backup camera on my SportWagen. It was under the VW emblem, which tilted up and exposed it when it was in use. It was never dirty or obscured.

https://youtu.be/dBMxx3R_ehY?si=-CYpSqD4gFc9tIuY

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
2 months ago
Reply to  Timbales

I mean, it’s sort of ridiculous. But I am also annoyed that my 2019 Honda Pilot has a reverse camera that is basically unusable at even a hint of rain.

Outofstep
Outofstep
2 months ago

My 2019 Elantra is kind of like that. In a light rain it’s fine. In anything more than that it’s pretty much unusable. It’s just a blurred out blob of colors. Thankfully I try to use my reverse camera as little as possible so it’s not too much of a problem but it is annoying when trying to parallel park into a tight spot and I can’t tell what I’m looking at.

Timbales
Timbales
2 months ago

Yeah, that’s really the thing. It seems overdone, but the camera was always clean and clear. Even in upstate NY winters, it was never snowed or iced over to keep it from working.
Now I have an external camera above the rear license plate that needs to be wiped off all of the time.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
2 months ago

Honda threw a similar unit on the back when they added a backup camera on the first-gen Pilot. Granted that was also the early days of backup cams, but they integrated it more conventionally on other Hondas/Acuras, tucked under the trim over the license plate on the tailgate. Guess perhaps that was easier than a new part to mount the camera by the license plate lights and tailgate handle.

Uninformed Fucknugget
Uninformed Fucknugget
2 months ago

Every time I see a mirage and try to get closer for a good look it disappears.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago

Have you seen the butthole on the ND2 Miata?

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Goddamnit. Why’d you have to ruin the ND2 just a little bit for me?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago

Luckily you can’t see it from the driver’s seat.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Unless you open the vanity mirror /s

Last edited 2 months ago by Chartreuse Bison
Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago

Huh?

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

A lame joke implying the driver is a butthole

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago

Ah. That’s actually a pretty good one. Went right over my stupid head, unfortunately!

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
2 months ago

The good thing about this, its not buried down in the bumper where it gets super dirty and then when you try to wipe it, you cannot find it. Who else use their thumb to give it a quick clean?

Ben
Ben
2 months ago
Reply to  Mrbrown89

I don’t because I’m paranoid about scratching the lens. I keep a little spray bottle of wiper fluid in my garage and just spray it down when it gets dirty.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
2 months ago

While I like backup cameras just fine, isn’t this maybe one of a handful of modern cars available in the US that really doesn’t need one? This is a regulation (like many) that makes a lot of sense for the embiggening pickup trucks around here, but seems a little strange for something that is both tiny and fairly easy to see out of. I can see why Mitsubishi may have been annoyed to have to bother.

Hey, at least they painted it the body color!

JShaawbaru
JShaawbaru
2 months ago

It does give the benefit of being able to see in the blind spot below the window so you don’t run over anything that might be unexpectedly placed behind your car, but aside from that I’d agree.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
2 months ago
Reply to  JShaawbaru

Oh sure. And as much as manufacturers like to blame features like this driving up the price of cars, if Crutchfield can supply me a kit to install my own with basically any new head unit for a few sheckles, a manufacturer should be able to do the same for practically nothing.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

Honestly, I think reverse proximity sensors would’ve made more sense as a regulation than backup cameras.

What is behind you is much less important than how close you are to what is behind you.

My parents’ old 2010 Ford Flex had one of the “beeping increasing in pace based on distance” in reverse and it was so nice for that.

Sudden careless pedestrian? Beeping speeds way up! I don’t need to know if, say, it’s an adult or child. And they’re on the bumper so they’re low enough that anyone old enough to walk should be detected.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I’d agree if they actually worked well. The reverse proximity sensors on my Mustang primarily indicate that 1) it is raining, or 2) I parked nose-up on an incline. It beeps frantically in both of those cases, such that I’ve been conditioned to ignore its indications completely most of the time.
To avoid backing over someone or something, I use situational awareness, check all three mirrors, and turn my head before moving in reverse. I think they mentioned a procedure like that in my driver’s ed class back in the day…

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike Smith
VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

I get that. Ours seemed to be pretty reliable, even in inclement weather or on inclines, but yeah. Makes sense.

On the flipside, the rearview mirror is definitely not as helpful with some vehicles. The Flex’s was there, but the sightlines out the back were high and narrow enough that there was a nonzero amount of trust in the sensors. I won’t call them “tank slits”, but of the few vehicles I’ve driven in my life, they were definitely the most restrictive.

My ’97 Econoline had great sightlines relative to its size, but I still had the occasional intrusive thought, “someday I’m going to back up, feel a speed bump, and then look out the front and realize I backed over a Miata.” I really felt (and still feel) like some cars, if close enough to the back bumper, would have been too low and small to see from any of the mirrors. (This is not me blaming them for being small cars. The world needs more small cars.)

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
2 months ago

We have a Mirage. The visibility in the side mirrors is excellent, probably one of the best I have ever driven. The interior rear view mirror visibility is kind of lacking since the hatch window is kind of short and small and the spoiler hangs over part of it. So the backup camera is useful. But I would be fine without it.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
2 months ago
Reply to  Curtis Loew

Good to know!

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
2 months ago

In the 1980s and 1990s, many Japanese vehicles exported to Europe weren’t fitted with some of the mandatory ECE safety equipments on the assembly lanes in Japan. The European importers had to install the rear red fog lamps, side turn signal repeaters, headlamp aim adjusters, and other safety equipment.

That meant cutting the holes on the bumpers and front fenders, removing the upholstery and trims to lay the wires, reconfiguring the electrical systems, and such. You could not help but notice how dodgy the quality of installation often was. Sometimes, the technicians would cut the hole on the roof and ceiling upholstery to install the sunroof. The vehicles that were ordered with CNG/LPG system would have the fuel system installed there. That included drilling holes and moving stuff to accept the CNG/LPG system.

It can be said the same for the General Motors, too, during the same period. Many of North American-built vehicles destined for Europe were shipped to the conversion specialist in Ohio where they were stripped of USDM equipment and modified to accept the ECE equipment, including the lighting system and seat belts. Even the speedometer was taken out and fitted with metric-only version that had weird red-coloured bar from 100 km/h mark on. If the glass windows weren’t marked with circle-E, they were taken out and replaced with appropriate glass windows.

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
2 months ago

I would argue that the fact that the hump is painted in the body colour totally invalidates your argument of “least effort possible”.

El Barto
El Barto
2 months ago

Plenty of cheap JDM cars have similar cameras – Nissan Tiida, Nissan March all used something very similar until the next generation designs them into the bodywork. I’ve seen plenty of used JDM cars in NZ with the same off-center camera. Mitsubishi will likely do the same if an updated Mirage is sold in the US.

Not The Ford 289
Not The Ford 289
2 months ago

Well… Time to get the chisel and hammer, I want to get rid of that little design annoyance!

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
2 months ago

We have a Mirage with this camera. I think I probably can speak for all Mirage owners when I say, the camera works and I could care less what it looks like.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
2 months ago
Reply to  Curtis Loew

Did you buy it new? I’ll assume yes. Why a Mirage and not a certified-pre-owned Honda or Toyota?

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
2 months ago

I don’t know about Curtis, but for me, smaller is better. Perhaps he just likes unfarted seats, though.

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
2 months ago

For the 10 year warranty mostly. We wanted the cheapest new car possible. Certified used doesn’t impress me much, we are at a point in our life where we didn’t want to buy somebody else’s problems. We got the Ralliart trim which is hilarious yet awesome. Forget all the professional reviewers and talk to people who actually own one of them. It has normal accelleration and does just fine at 80 on the highway, it’s a great car.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
2 months ago

“it’s not the car’s rectum“

Quite right! Yet no effort is made to hide the car’s actual rectum (the tailpipe, of course!). Conversely, a car’s rectum (maybe anus, more accurately) is often made into a feature, with shiny chrome, cool shapes and even surrounds that make it look bigger – kind of like some bejewelled buttplug!

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

Besides, if your rectum protruded like that, you’d be in a world of pain.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
2 months ago

The new Misubishi Mirage PE (Prolapse Edition)

Parsko
Parsko
2 months ago

A better solution would have been one of the ones that goes on the top of the license plate between the mount screws. Those are pretty stealth.

Maymar
Maymar
2 months ago

Same thing on the Canadian market Nissan Micra, and same lack of pretension. Of course, because Canada, one of the first search results is about the camera hole rusting.

https://micra-forum.com/showthread.php/2739-Rust-coming-from-the-rear-view-camera-hole

EPGCivic
EPGCivic
2 months ago

They might as well have Yolod a wyze camera on back.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
2 months ago

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them and just figured it was an older model from when those cameras were pretty new. The idea that it’s still like that even on the newest years is… not really cool, but I agree there’s no reason to hide it either. I shrugged until you showed how the Changli does it with a little more elegance, and that made me laugh.

Seeing how easily it looks like the Changli’s camera gets dirty, it made me wonder why they can’t make a backup camera that doesn’t get obstructed so easily. Mine is barely usable in the winter because of water drops and mist, and it just seems unnecessary. They should incorporate some sort of defrost mechanism, like they do with side mirrors. Or give us a teeny-tiny little wiper blade. That would be very classy and elegant, like when headlights have wipers, so I suppose that could be for the more luxurious cars.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Or have a car with functioning windows and mirrors, and you don’t even need to worry about the camera becoming obstructed!

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I mean, why even have mirrors? If you can’t turn your head, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive!

Salaryman
Salaryman
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Apparently, JDM Mazda 3’s have a small air pump that operates with the rear wiper to blow rain off the camera.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
2 months ago
Reply to  Salaryman

That’s a great idea, that’s just what I’m talking about. Figures it’s JDM only though.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
2 months ago

The Mercedes G-wagon (until 2018) had just as lazy of a backup camera solution, which is impressive considering how expensive they were.

EPGCivic
EPGCivic
2 months ago

Almost feel sorry for all the new money driving those…..

Dan Manwich
Dan Manwich
2 months ago

Came here to post the exact same thing! Even pulled the pic:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Mercedes-Benz_G65_AMG_%28W463%29_rear.JPG

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago

“They have their image flipped, on the horizontal axis, just like a physical mirror is.”

That’s not how axes are typically defined. A horizontal axis is an axis which is itself oriented horizontally. Flipping something on such an axis results in a vertical rearrangement, which is to say an upside-down image, with chirality either preserved or reversed depending on which horizontal axis is used. Either way, even the mirrors in my cars aren’t that weird.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Well said.

Nerdy wordy time: the “chir” in “chirality” is the same as in “chiropractor” and means “hand”–so chirality is the same basic word as handedness, literally.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

Ooh, I love it. Like sinister and dextral/dextrous.

I still can barely make the damnedest bit of sense of stereoisomers and molecular chirality though.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Organic chemistry class is what made me realize I’d never ever be a chemist.

AlterId
AlterId
2 months ago

Good to know that chirality is not dead!

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
2 months ago

See also the mk2 Kia Ceed, which I don’t think you got in the US

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_Ceed#Second_generation_(JD;_2012)

Note the protrusion on the tailgate, just below the Kia badge:

https://mediacloud.carbuyer.co.uk/image/private/s–dr4pwAAH–/t_content-image-full-desktop@2/v1579626627/carbuyer/_28a2735.jpg

*Chief designer on this car was Peter Schreyer, who did the OG Audi TT*

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
2 months ago

It stands out, but at least it’s centered. Mitsubishi, in contrast, appear to have chosen their backup camera location the same way Robert Dunn (Aging Wheels) chose the new spot for his Twike’s charge connector.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago

Speaking of weird ideas about what should be visible and not, I have a love/hate relationship with whoever decided exposed fasteners were evil.

Love, because I get that in something fancy, like a Chrysler or a Rover, you might not want a row of exposed metal screw heads staring at you; hate, because I personally like being able to look at something and know immediately how it comes apart and that it will go back together without any risk of cracked plastic.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

> something fancy, like a Chrysler

what

> being able to look at something and know immediately how it comes apart

It will definitely come apart if the badge says Chrysler

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Agree. I think trucks in particular should have hard plastic and exposed fasteners.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

A comment close to your heart.

The Early Model Corvair attaches the door panels with hidden fasteners while the Late Model has exposed screws. EM classy. LM cheap.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chronometric
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

That kind of inverts things a bit, with the EM being the econobox generation

Neomancer Nz
Neomancer Nz
2 months ago

The Lancer is the same, they put that same housing it looks like where the trunk button used to be, and moved the trunk button down and off center on the trunk.

LTDScott
LTDScott
2 months ago

Ha, recently a friend of mine posted photos of him on vacation. I didn’t know where he went and the post didn’t indicate it, but I saw a photo of his Mitsubishi Mirage rental car and noticed the distinct lack of the camera wart on the rear hatch. That clued me in that he wasn’t in the US, and sure enough I later found out he was in Australia. What’s odd is that he mentioned the car did have a backup camera, but it was mounted above the license plate in the bumper. So it must be on the hatch in the US to meet height requirements or something?

Last edited 2 months ago by LTDScott
LTDScott
LTDScott
2 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

You can juuust see it peeking above the rear license plate here. So clearly they could have integrated it in a more aesthetically pleasing way:

https://images.drive.com.au/driveau/image/upload/c_fill,f_auto,g_auto,h_1080,q_auto:eco,w_1920/v1/cms/uploads/fnhejrjabzmqopc0hj1t

Craig Simpson
Craig Simpson
2 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

I admire your dedication to determining the regional differences between base model Mitsubishis.

I wonder if they’re coming from different factories?

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
2 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Now this is some real Autopian here.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

The really weird part is that it seems like this might bee the more expensive solution what with the molded and painted housing. Just punching a hole and stuffing a camera in said hole, Ala Chang-Li, would surely be less costly. But I like what Mitsu did too.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

It’s probably cheaper for Mitsu this way since I imagine most Mirages these days are sold in markets where they don’t come with a backup camera. So between that and any fabrication change being more expensive than it seems they probably figured it was better to just stick that thing in the back.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

I’m sure you’re right, but in my mind it still doesn’t make sense.

However, given that I hover somewhere around a 50.00011 correctness percentile in current life, I could indeed be quite incorrect. Yet I still spew…

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Hey, it’s the Internet. We are all correct all the time, and we are all wrong all the time.

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