Home » The Mitsubishi Mirage Looks To Be On Its Way Out And I’m Not Happy About It

The Mitsubishi Mirage Looks To Be On Its Way Out And I’m Not Happy About It

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Even though I was traveling most of today, I wasn’t completely insulated from the important news of this world. I know this because in the middle of my flight to Los Angeles, the captain ordered all of the seatback video screens paused, and dimmed the cabin light — all to set the proper somber tone for this announcement. “Passengers of Onanism Air Flight 219,” the captain began, “I have disappointing news. According to reports, as of 2025, the Mitsubishi Mirage will be no more.” The captain paused here to let the gasps and occasional shrieks of grief dissipate. “Let us take a moment of silence to pay our respects to this cheapest of available automobiles in the American market.” Even though the mic was then switched off, the muffled sounds of plaintive sobs and the pounding of fists on instrument panels was unmistakable. I sat in my seat, dumbfounded.

We reached out to Mitsubishi for comment, but they, as you’d expect, declined to comment. And I get it; they’re probably going through some things right now. The source of the news, Automotive News, is a very reliable source, and the source of the source of news seems to be Mitsubishi Japan. So, while it’s not 100% confirmed, this does seem a likely happening, miserable as it is.

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If you’re out there thinking, somehow, “Who gives a shit? It’s just some crappy little shitbox nobody really likes?” then I’d like to respectfully ask you to shut your filthy mouth, you. Consider this: Even though there’s a limited handful of cars with MSRPs that start under $20,000, the only model car last month that actually sold, for real-world money, for under $20,000 was the humble little Mirage. And now it’s going to be gone.

Such is bullshit.

Cheap new cars should exist. Period. They just should! It’s absurd that there are so few, and what is arguably the cheap-ass car flagship, the Mirage, is now likely to be gone. The Mirage knew what it was and lived up to that role: cheap. But it worked.

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I have a bit of history defending the unassuming little hatchback (and, yes, sedan now, too, fine) that goes all the way back to 2014, when I reviewed Mirage for The Old Site and then, more significantly, defended the little car from the cruel bullying of bigshot car journalists who delighted in making sport of a basic little car whose only real crime was not taking all your money.

Want to read a quote from my defense of the Mirage? Well, too bad:

I’m picking on Mr. J. Pearly Huffman because for whatever reason, his review’s gotten a lot of attention, but he’s by no means alone here. There’s a certain pervasive belief that, somehow, no matter what the car costs, we all deserve the finest-feeling plastics and the best acceleration and that certain aspirational look that tells everyone we’re mere weeks away from being able to buy some islands.

This is bullshit.

In the same review, Huffman also mentions that the car is roomy, and can get 37 MPG city and 47 MPG highway (I personally observed almost 49 MPG in my tests). Then he goes on to say that “Greyhound bus tickets” and “hitchhiking” are viable alternatives. You know who probably doesn’t agree with that? Every fucking person hitchhiking or stuck on Greyhound bus.

I respect the Mirage. It’s an efficient and reasonable way to get your ass from one place to another, and in that respect it does the same damn thing as a Bentley or a Lamborghini Urus or whatever, and costs a whole garbage can full of ice and kidneys less.

Mitsubishi’s plan to drop the Mirage (along with all their other sedans) is bad news. It’s stupid news. It means that another automotive option that’s still reasonably priced is gone, and more people who just need decent, honest transport are going to be shoved into big-ass expensive vehicles that will feel cramped because they’re loaded up with debt.

I suspect not many out there will shed a tear about the Mirage’s death knell, but I can tell you it doesn’t make me happy. Just based on their rairity, unpretentious, inexpensive cars are the real exotics, and now we’re one fewer.

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Godspeed, little shitbox.

 

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Ian Dunn
Ian Dunn
10 months ago

Thank you for voicing exactly what I am feeling about the current state of the automobile market. It seems like small economic cars are going to become extinct, leaving the rest of us with the ultimatum of paying a premium for a large, gas-guzzling luxury vehicle or going without. I know buying used is an option, but that’s beside the point. We should have the option of getting a new vehicle that we prefer instead of getting railroaded into whatever the current hottest-selling item is.

David
David
10 months ago

I’d be all about it if it weren’t for Cotton Hill pointing out that it’s an Axis loving sushi boat. All joking aside, props to Mitsubishi for making an affordable car like this.

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago

Can we get “Godspeed, little shitbox” shirt?

Myk El
Myk El
10 months ago

The Mitsubishi Mirage for me is a lot like Frank Zappa’s music. It wasn’t made for me and I don’t much care for it, but I’m nevertheless glad it exists.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
10 months ago

Ugh. Pour one out for the last of the sub-$20k’s.

I know it wasn’t a great car, but it creates a hole in the market that no one else is likely to fill (margins on SUVs and CUVs what they are).

The amount of questionable financing that’s going hand-in-hand with a $48k average new car price (as of March 2023 data) is going to be a source of wider economic pain in the near future. I haven’t had enough coffee to write anything with meaningful detail, but economics of automaking doesn’t neatly follow most supply-demand market rules and I’d be willing to say that in general the laser focus on high margin SUVs and CUVs is going to end badly for a few automakers once this financing bubble pops.

Evan M
Evan M
10 months ago

Cheap cars are fantastic and underappreciated.
That said, of all the terrible cars I’ve driven, a rental-spec Mirage was by far the worst. When I went to pull out of the rental facility I hit the gas the normal amount to accelerate into traffic and was immediately concerned the car had stalled. Nothing. Happened. I then floored it as I’d rolled into the road a bit at that point and my window of opportunity was closing, only to find that floored was basically the only way to operate that car… and even then the results were pretty dismal. I had that car for less than 24 hours and still remember it as the worst car, modern or otherwise, I’ve ever had the displeasure of operating.

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
10 months ago

I’ll be that guy, I honestly don’t care and nothing of value was lost. The Mirage was cheap. That’s not the same as a good value. Clearly the vast majority of the American populace thought the same, considering that fewer than 25,000 per year sold in the U.S. in all but one year since its 2012 debut. A new Mirage is worth nowhere near $19K even if it’s the cheapest thing on the market and (while I know this is controversial and privileged to say) you’re better off spending another $3-5K to get something vastly better. Or… just buy a better car used or CPO. Seriously, car quality has come a long way. The Chevy I bought new has gone 160K miles with no transmission, turbo or powertrain issues. I know plenty of people who buy new cars (non-Toyotas even!) and drive them virtually free of non-standard maintenance to 200K or more. It’s common now. The new entry level new car is a used car, and that’s perfectly fine.

Last edited 10 months ago by 90sBuicksAreUnderrated
Angel
Angel
10 months ago

Had 1 Toyota, 1 civic, 3 accords, which were great but my son almost killed himself in one of the accords. My daughter almost in the civic. Then bought a BMW which gave me issues even though it was new. Opted to go with MB, & had three MB’s which the first one the transmission failed the first year after driving it off the lot. I almost killed myself in the third MB which fractured my back broke my arm and fractured my knee. So I didn’t want another fast car, and I prayed for a car that would be convenient and a blessing to me. A week later my cousin sent a text to everyone stating that she was selling her mirage, very cheap a 2015, and I bought it. Because of the pandemic our business slowed a great deal, so thank God for this little car that fills up with just $20 and the gas last a while. I love it, and I didn’t even know that my mother’s car was a mirage after she had a bad accident in her Chevrolet, and after that she decided to get the mirage.So wether you’re in a small car or a Mercedes’ Benz, if it’s your time to go that’s it. My mom told me that she’s had it for years. The ac is very cold in both of our cars, and economical on gas and roomy. When I take someone in my little car they can’t believe how roomy it is and how easy it is to park in small spaces. Not sure but my friend that’s a mechanic, informed me that used cars are going up in prices. He also told me that the mirage is so economical that people are buying them a lot.

Ivy Hopkins
Ivy Hopkins
10 months ago

Did I make and account just to comment, yes. I got this article and the verbiage was just my style.

Now im not normally a car person, however, the Mirage BE was my first car and I purchased it on my own.
I LOVE THAT THING. I never thought I could be attached to a car, but it’s my son and I love him. It’s a powerhouse that I just never expected. I’ve only had it less than a year and have put 19k miles already on it. And have never once had any issues. Roadtrips were decently spacious and my family are larger people, no complaints for room!

If I could I would keep a Mirage for the rest of my life. I love my little baby car!

Ian Dunn
Ian Dunn
10 months ago
Reply to  Ivy Hopkins

I also made an account just to comment on this article. Countless small cars have been eliminated from the lineup. Last year, Chevy did away with the Spark, and apparently Mitsubishi is about to retire the Mirage. It’s frustrating.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
10 months ago

“Inexpensive cars are the real exotics.” There’s your next T-shirt. Well said.

Hiram McDaniel
Hiram McDaniel
10 months ago

I just had an uber ride in one of these yesterday. Backseat was surprisingly spacious for such a tiny car.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
10 months ago

I’ll take a more optimistic view that this means that Mitsubishi is doing well enough that they don’t need the Mirage and its low end sales volume, however small it may be.

For all we know a rebodied Nissan could show up in Mitsu showrooms down the line much like the Rogue-based Outlander. The Outlander Sport is also an old design that surely will need a replacement soon, or get dropped – I’d think something entry level will eventually slot in.

Last edited 10 months ago by GreatFallsGreen
Canyonsvo
Canyonsvo
10 months ago

It sucks that they are killing these cheap little cars. They are absolutely perfect for more people than you might think. My wife had a Versa that would not die. It never had any mechanical issues, though it was falling apart inside towards the end. But she loved that car. Good mileage, small, easy to park and not nice enough to worry about getting dented.

Unfortunately, that car cost me ~$15k when it was rear-ended because the book value was about $5k and the Juke she ended up with was $20k. And she loves that Juke.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago

This probably means that 2025 is when a new, stylish and non-shitty Mirage (a la the current-generation Fit/Jazz) is debuting for everywhere *but* North America.

SuperNova
SuperNova
10 months ago

When Nissan announced the end of the Micra I purchased one in 2019
I drive it every day to and from work. I should have purchased 2.
at $10,000 Canadian cash I can drive this thing and fill it with gas/repair it, till the wheels fall off cheaper than the cost of tires on an electric SUV over 10 years.
Plus I will argue that it will pollute less than your 90k electric car.

Six
Six
10 months ago

I’ll take the counterpoint: this is great. More people will choose transit or ebikes as they get priced out of cars. More demand for living closer in, or in apartments or condos & more pressure to upzone as a result. High interest rates and dwindling new car options should lead more folks to just give up on the whole exercise of car ownership. If you love cars, that means fewer cars on the road, potentially less traffic (fund transit projects already to get the rest of us out of your way). Less driving would mean healthier people as more people choose to walk and bike for more errands.

Sure, if you live in a tiny town in Wyoming, you probably need a car. But most of us live in or around cities.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
10 months ago
Reply to  Six

The order of operations here doesn’t really work out.

Ideally, yes, more people would be living in cities with well thought out and well funded public transit. I don’t think the death of subcompact cars is going to result in more people taking transit (that doesn’t exist) or e-bikes (that aren’t practical or safe in much of America, nor all that useful in places that experience harsh winters).

These things don’t work themselves out within a car generation. Even if somehow the U.S. had a collective epiphany to fund public transit (LOL) it would take decades to build and for people to re-mold their lives around using it. Good luck getting the millions of people living in suburbs and exurbs to devalue the house they currently owe hundreds of thousands of dollars on. And good luck getting poor people to flock to overly expensive urban areas from cheap rural areas only to save money on transportation. Unless something real is done about the cost of transportation and the cost of housing, both groups are going to continue to stretch themselves to financial oblivion until well, financial oblivion I suppose.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
10 months ago

I really wish people would stop lamenting about the state of public transportation in the U.S. It is what it is and it’s not going to change, for the reasons you’ve outlined above. The U.S. is not Europe, so stop trying to assume one size fits all solutions. There are localized areas where public transport can work, but this ignores the massive amount of the country where it simply cannot.

Saying we should all move into the cities so we’re not so dependent on cars, ignores all the reasons people moved out of the cities in the first place. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that putting another two million people into Chicago is the cure for all that ails us.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Public transportation is getting worse, and there are more significant gaps than there were before.

I’ll go with where I live, which is in Saskatchewan. Getting between towns and city is near-impossible because the bus services have been cut. If you don’t have your license and need to travel to a larger centre for whatever reason, you’re shit out of luck.

Better public transit is a necessity because people without a car, without a license – and people who can’t get a license – all still exist and a lack of mobility puts a real limit on their lives and opportunities. Does it mean that everywhere can use a comprehensive system? No. But it doesn’t mean better solutions can’t exist.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Because Public Transportation just doesnt work. There is nowhere that PT exists that pays for itself. It is dependent on everyone else once again paying for a small groups share. Heck in Europe gas is what $8 a spoonful? Yet people still prefer to drive over what people claim is great. But they still are tacking on congestion fees etc to steal more money to subsidize a progressive attitude that everyone is entitled to everything while doing very little. Also cities have to subsidize rent because to expensive. Well George lets shove another few million people in there that should solve the problem. Its like the saying goes crime wouldnt pay if government ran it.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

The mayor where I used to live once said that people who think government should be run as a business don’t know what government is for. It doesn’t matter if public transit pays for itself, it does the public good.

Public transit is a service, it exists to ensure the people can access the mobility they need to live – and even improve – their lives. Does everyone want to use it? No. Do many people have to use it? Yes. And in a lot of cases it can improve your life, especially if you’re going into crowded centres.

And the whole attitude of “people are doing very little” while taking away the means by which they can do more is frankly absurd. The public transit will take them to better jobs, to education, hell even to driver training if they’re aiming for getting a license. People need mobility, better public transit gives that mobility to more people.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

As @Citrus said, public transportation does not need to “pay for itself”, given that it is a public service. Public transportation is a direct investment in the economy. When more people have mobility, then more people can access jobs and businesses, etc. The return on investment is realized in the entire regional economy, not in the service operation itself.

James Brown
James Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Fusion

The fallacy of the argument is that the people who argue public transport needs to be profitable never make the same arguement that roads need to be profitable. They are both public services, and they can only exist if we pay for them collectively.

Last edited 10 months ago by James Brown
Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Oh, I’m totally fine with people lamenting the state of transit in the U.S. Cause it sucks! Even in some of our larger cities it totally blows. I’m a huge proponent of walkable towns and cities, and I think our reliance on cars sucks.

But yes, there will always be a need for cheap transportation for those that don’t live in cities. Would many of us be better off in better designed, walkable cities? Yes. Will that work for everyone? No. Do we as a country appear to have the stomach to pay for that sort of sea change even on a small scale? Sure doesn’t seem like it.

Most folks that live in rural/semi-rural areas aren’t going to abandon their land or support systems to move to a walkable city that they can’t afford in the first place. Anything that is currently on a transit line is going to be out of the reach of those people, even if that was what they wanted.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
10 months ago

Yeah, it’s not a zero-sum game, and I don’t understand why people are treating it like it is. Walkable cities & comprehensive public transportation should exist, and cheap cars should exist.

Clark B
Clark B
10 months ago
Reply to  Six

But the people buying cars like Mirages can’t afford to live closer to town. Many apartments in my area rent for considerably more than the mortgage on my 3BR house. Unfortunately, most of America is not designed around transit or ebikes, and they aren’t viable solutions for most folks. We can say it “drives demand” all we want, but they’d rather build high-end apartments than low-cost ones, regardless of demand. Just like cars, really.

What removing inexpensive cars does is screw over people who just need to get around reliably. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that things work that way in America, but that’s how it is. Any walkable community in my area is reserved for the wealthy, and those lucky enough to have held onto properties before some of those areas gentrified. There are buses around here but they can’t take you everywhere you’d need to go, or even get you close in a lot of cases. And forget arriving on time.

Again, not saying this is a good thing or sustainable…but in the here and now, cheap new cars are a good thing.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago
Reply to  Six

This is a little bit naive: The people priced into Mirage ownership are going to be the same people priced out of downtown apartments and condos.

Personally, I live near downtown in the city where I am. It’s great! I get to walk to work and to many of the amenities I need. I love it.

But I also recognize that I am very lucky to have the apartment I have, and that lots of people don’t have the same options. I recognize that the downtown is a bit of a food desert which is going to be an issue for a lot of people – one of the main sources for groceries is extremely overpriced because where else are you getting fruit in the downtown core? There are also the problems of poor public transit which will still exist.

Getting rid of the Mirage doesn’t change the fundamental problems of urban planning, and people priced into entry-level hatchbacks are also priced out of downtown – or near downtown – apartments.

Last edited 10 months ago by Citrus
Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
10 months ago
Reply to  Six

“…most of us live in or around cities.”

I mean, by raw numbers, I guess? I live less than 50 miles from both Chicago and Milwaukee yet my living experience could not be more different than that of a city dweller. No one around here is walking to work, nor could they. My area is very similar to a vast portion of the country. Ever drive across it? Once you do, it’s hard to believe “most of us live in cities.”

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago
Reply to  Six

Good idea most transit projects are paid for with gas taxes. We already are unable to keep up with maintaining infrastructure. As many switch to EVs we are losing millions there. Everyone switch to cities with no available housing riding bikes no money there. Public transportation is unable to self fund. So what the last 6 people driving an ICE car pay millions each in tax for crappy public transportation?

Last edited 10 months ago by Mr Sarcastic
WalmartTech
WalmartTech
10 months ago

The problem is that the automakers believe that anything below midsize without a bunch of unnecessary luxury features is not profitable and you have organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety screaming at the top of their lungs that anything below midsize, high performance, and anything without a lot of expensive driving nannies is a flaming death trap.

Sklooner
Sklooner
10 months ago

There is an auto parts supplier near me that runs a fleet of these in white driven by severely inattentive drivers, all in white too

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago

Known what I’ll actually miss about the Mirage? They sold it in colors!

I don’t see plain Mirages. They’re all bright greens, purples and yellows. This is fantastic! Walking to work through a sea of white, silver, and black, I can’t help but smile when I see the delightful brightly painted Mirages drive by. The definition of cheap and cheerful.

I think the only other car that is consistently in a cheery shade is the late Mazda 2. There are a ton of bright green ones and they stand out in any environment.

Maymar
Maymar
10 months ago

I get the disappointment, but until interest rates go up, the market has spoken, and would rather buy $20k worth of used Corolla than $20k of new Mirage (seriously, in the past 12 months, my employer alone has sold off nearly as many Corollas as Mitsubishi has sold new Mirages).

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

I’d buy a new Mirage if they were still at the price they were before COVID. IIRC they started around $14,000 new. Now they’re 30% higher, so yeah, it’s no wonder they’re not moving.

Maymar
Maymar
10 months ago

They were barely moving then either (and of course used Corollas are also up a similar amount).

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

Heh, maybe I’m just a weirdo.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
10 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

Not completely true. The Mirage’s sales where steadily climbing prior to the pandemic, with 2019 being it best year at nearly 30k sold. There was an obvious drop off in 2020, but 2021 was it’s third highest sales year. So there is certainly a market for such a car.

Outofstep
Outofstep
10 months ago

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cars like the Mirage need to exist. They’re never going to be desirable but they serve a purpose.

I’ve told this story many times but years ago I had a friend who was struggling badly and always buying junkers because that’s all she could afford. The problem is those junkers were always breaking and she was always buying more junkers. With 3 kids, having to drive to work and go to school that was unacceptable. She lost a few jobs because she couldn’t get to work.

By the grace of god she got a lightly used Mirage hatchback for I believe something in the 6k range (this was over a decade ago so the memory is starting to get a bit hazy) That car took her through college and to work safely and reliably for years. Even when she started making good money and bought a house she still drove it. She finally got rid of it 3 years ago when she bought a truck.

She no longer needs a car like the Mirage but there are countless people who are in similar situations who could benefit from a vehicle like that. Hell growing up my family survived because of vehicles like that. If someone comes in with a true low cost car they will have a market. It won’t ever be a best seller but it will be purchased. I know that profits won’t be big and that’s what drives everything now but I’m holding out hope that someone can pull it off.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

I honestly believe there’s merit to the belief that market and policy makers are, inadvertently at best, deliberately at worst, are pricing out lower income and, increasingly, average Americans out of cars. Indirectly, they’re restricting freedom to travel or at least making it more financially burdensome to do so. Keep the populace preoccupied with making ends meet, make it harder for them to organize; it makes sense.

Outofstep
Outofstep
10 months ago

Oh I absolutely agree with this. If you’re too busy scratching to survive you won’t see how much they’re fucking you. And even if you are aware what are you going to do about it? You can’t take off work to protest or see about making a change in your career because you need that money. It’s disgraceful.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

Exactly. You can’t really blame anyone for not wanting to take to the streets to protest/riot/organize if they’re still trying to get by, much less if they have kids. You’d have to have enough people at the end of their rope, with nothing left (to lose), who have been marginalized for too long for something substantial to happen. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we’re getting closer.

Outofstep
Outofstep
10 months ago

We’re definitely getting closer. I’ve reached that point with my current career (I actually reached it in 2019) and am in the midst of changing it but it took too many years and grinding to be able to get to the point to have an opportunity to make the shift.

The main reason I didn’t leave my job years ago is because it took me from living check to check to having a small buffer so I felt like I couldn’t do better. Almost like the systems put in place that make it seem like this is the only way to live.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

It would be easy to pull off. The will among the established automakers simply isn’t there because they’d rather you sign on the dotted line for an 84-month payment plan at 11% interest, so that they can take it back and sell it to the next sucker when the payments lapse. Modern society is a grift at all layers.

Outofstep
Outofstep
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Auto loans are insane. With this market I feel lucky that I had no choice in 2018 and needed a car immediately. I wasn’t happy about it back then but I look like a genius now considering that I can’t find anything comparable feature wise as my Elantra for the 19k I paid for it out the door. Now I’d be looking at close to 27k for an equivalent sedan before all the fees. Thankfully I could get one without an 84 month loan if I needed one but there is not an additional 8k in value between whatever I’d buy now and my 5 year old car.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

I am not sure about that. If you are the only one making an affordable car it may be a best seller. But then every maker rolls one out and all of a sudden you cant sell enough to make a profit.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
10 months ago

While not a car I would choose to buy, it’s a shame that it’s going away. I feel like Torch and John Davis at Motorweek are the only ones who appreciated the car for what it is.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
10 months ago

The Mirage isn’t a sports car, but it was never designed to be one. Nor was it designed to be a luxury car. It was designed to be inexpensive, efficient transportation. A city car, to get you from point A to B where there is little chance to go faster than 40 km/h even if you wanted to.

There us a lot to be said for a car that does exactly what it is designed to do. The 2000-05 Impala is like that: Journos often hated it, but they sold all they could make of them because it did what it was designed to do: big, plain family/perp transport.

I wouldn’t go for a Mirage, but it served its purpose.

Drew
Drew
10 months ago

The Beastie Boys foresaw this:

You’re scheming on a thing that’s a Mirage

I’m trying to tell you now, it’s sabotage

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