In 1978, Mitsubishi launched a new vehicle line to boost its sales in the subcompact division—the Mirage. Although it was sold under different names, the Mirage still managed to inspire many car owners and automobile manufacturers through its various innovations in style and performance.
1978-1983: First generation
From 1978 to 1983, Mitsubishi manufactured the first generation of the Mirage. It was the first Mitsubishi vehicle line to be equipped with the Super Shift—a four-speed manual transmission that had an additional lever that allowed the vehicle to switch between low and high ranges. In 1982, the first generation was redesigned with flusher-fitting headlights and a redesigned grille insert.
1983-1987: Second generation
In 1983, the second generation of the Mirage was released. From the 1.4- and 1.2-L Orion engines, this generation of Mirages became powered by 1.5- and 1.3-L units. But for those who want better engine options, Mitsubishi released some Mirages that were powered by 1.8- and 1.6-liter Sirius engines. Unfortunately, the United States did not sell the Mirage line until 1985, therefore making the second generation models the first Mirages to be sold in the said country.
1987-1991: Third generation
The third generation of Mirages was released by Mitsubishi in 1987. The three-door hatchback trim level, which was released that year, received a larger glasshouse and a more upright tailgate. On the other hand, the sedan version, which was released the following year, was redesigned to have a rear glass that was almost vertical.
1991-1995: Fourth generation
Mitsubishi introduced the fourth generation of the Mirage line in 1991. It was known for its much rounder and sportier body style and elliptical headlamps. What's more, the fourth generation line was made available with a gasoline-powered V6 engine with a displacement of 1.6 liters. Unfortunately, in 1994, the Mirage sedans were discontinued. Nonetheless, the S and LS trims of the coupe version remained, and they started to be equipped with covered center consoles and passenger side airbags in 1995.
1995-2003: Fifth generation
In 1995, the fifth generation of the Mitsubishi Mirage was released. It was sold as a two-door coupe, three-door sedan, and three-door hatchback. For the 1997 model year, the DE and LS trim levels of the fifth generation Mirages were released in the U.S, and they were powered by 1.8- and 1.5-liter 4G15 engines. Unfortunately, even though the coupe models continued to be sold in North America, the sedan models were eventually discontinued and replaced by the Lancer in other countries in 2002.
2012: Sixth generation
After being discontinued in 2002 when it was renamed as the Colt, the Mirage was once again introduced in the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show. In Japan, the reintroduced Mirage is powered by a 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine that is coupled to a CVT transmission. However, although it is already available in Japan and Thailand, this vehicle will only be available in other countries such as Australia starting 2013.