2019 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Mirage doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Mirage doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Golf has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mirage doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf offers an optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Mirage doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Volkswagen Golf has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Mirage doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Golf SE’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Mirage doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Golf’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Mirage doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Golf’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Mirage doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Golf SE has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Mirage doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Golf and the Mirage have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The Volkswagen Golf weighs 751 to 985 pounds more than the Mitsubishi Mirage. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf is safer than the Mitsubishi Mirage:

 

Golf

Mirage

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

33%

40%

Neck Stress

352 lbs.

435 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

68 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

108/102 lbs.

291/454 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

220

307

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

43%

Neck Stress

174 lbs.

204 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

203 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf is safer than the Mirage Hatchback:

 

Golf

Mirage

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

ACCEPTABLE

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.1/.1 kN

4.9/1.8 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.55/.53

1.87/.8

Tibia forces R/L

3.1/.7 kN

4.2/1.8 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf is safer than the Mitsubishi Mirage:

 

Golf

Mirage

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

50 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Golf the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Mirage was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Golf comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Mirage’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 12000 miles sooner.

The Golf’s corrosion warranty is 3 years and unlimited miles longer than the Mirage’s (10/unlimited vs. 7/100,000).

There are over 82 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Golf’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 19th in reliability. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th.

Engine

The Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 69 more horsepower (147 vs. 78) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 74) than the Mirage’s 1.2 DOHC 3 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Golf Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mirage doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Golf has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mirage (13.2 vs. 9.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A six-speed manual is standard on the Volkswagen Golf, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Mirage.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Golf’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mirage:

 

Golf

Mirage

Front Rotors

11.3 inches

9 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

7” drums

The Volkswagen Golf has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Mirage. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Golf stops much shorter than the Mirage:

 

Golf

Mirage

 

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Golf has larger standard tires than the Mirage (195/65R15 vs. 165/65R14). The Golf SE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mirage (225/45R17 vs. 175/55R15).

The Golf SE’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mirage GT/LE/G4 SE’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Golf S has standard 15-inch wheels. Smaller 14-inch wheels are standard on the Mirage. The Golf SE’s optional 17-inch wheels are larger than the 15-inch wheels on the Mirage GT/LE/G4 SE.

The Volkswagen Golf’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mitsubishi Mirage only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Golf has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mitsubishi Mirage has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Golf has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Golf flat and controlled during cornering. The Mirage’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Golf has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Mirage doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Golf’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the Mirage G4 (103.8 inches vs. 100.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Golf is 4.4 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Mirage.

Passenger Space

The Golf has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mirage G4 (93.5 vs. 89.5).

The Golf has 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mirage G4.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Mirage Hatchback (22.8 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The Golf has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Mirage Hatchback with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 47 cubic feet).

The Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Mirage G4 (22.8 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Golf uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mirage uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The Golf has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Mirage doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The engine computer on the Golf disables the starter while the engine is running. The Mirage’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Golf has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Mirage doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The power windows standard on both the Golf and the Mirage have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Golf is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mirage prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Golf’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Mirage’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Golf the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Mirage can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Mirage’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Golf’s standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

The Golf’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Mirage’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Golf SE to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mirage doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Golf has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mirage has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the GT.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Golf SE detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Mirage doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Golf’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Mirage doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Golf’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Mirage’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Both the Golf and the Mirage offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mirage doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Golf SE offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Mirage doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

With standard voice command, the Golf SE offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Mirage doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The Golf SE/SEL’s optional Parking Steering Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Mirage doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Golf is less expensive to operate than the Mirage because typical repairs cost much less on the Golf than the Mirage, including $66 less for fuel injection and $723 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Golf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 12 of the last 12 years. The Mirage has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Mirage has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Mitsubishi Mirage by over two to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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