When you think of the word cheap, what immediately comes to mind? The word cheap often has a negative connotation that implies something of lesser quality. A cheap pair of shoes or a cheap suit doesn’t exactly paint a picture of confidence and quality, right? What if we told you that the word cheap is no longer faux pas in the automotive industry? Comparisons between small hatchbacks like the 2021 Chevy Spark vs 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage show us that cheap is another word for affordable and that affordability comes with plenty of features and conveniences you won’t want to miss.
Cheap = Affordable Value
We can’t talk about hatchbacks like the Spark and Mirage being cheap without talking numbers, and that’s what jumpstarts our comparison -prices. The two hatchbacks are priced under $15,000 and are ideal if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle that can navigate a busy street or handle its own on the freeway. Just don’t expect it to go head-to-head with a sports car or offer the spaciousness of a full-size SUV.
Keepin’ The Spark Alive: 2021 Lineup
Chevy’s hatchback lineup starts with the LS at $13,400 and offers plenty of style with a 10-color palette that allows you to showcase your style or your spark, if you will. The LS base model is affordable and offers exceptional value thanks to a standard 7-inch color touchscreen display that houses the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to make syncing your smartphone with the vehicle seamless. The next trim level, the 1LT, adds several upgrades to the base model. These upgrades include power windows and doors, remote keyless entry, and steering wheel-mounted controls (audio, phone, and cruise control) for a modest price increase to $15,300.
If you’re looking for a sportier option, Chevy delivers with the Spark ACTIV. This trim starts at $16,400 and offers a distinctive exterior with a unique front grille and rear fascia as well as roof rails. The model is also outfitted with heated black leather front seats that give the ACTIV a touch of luxury and comfort. The top-tier trim is the Spark 2LT, which is still one of the most affordable hatchbacks on the road at $16,800. The 2LT includes leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel to offer the ultimate luxury. Additional features include keyless open and start as well as heated front seats that make any drive enjoyable.
It’s More Than a Mirage: 2021 Lineup
Like the 2021 Chevy Spark, the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is also an outstanding buy in the hatchback market. Priced slightly higher than the Spark, the Mirage lineup starts with the ES at $14,295. The ES offers a suite of standard features that are similar to the Spark, including a 7-inch touchscreen display and modern infotainment system. However, despite its higher price tag, the Mirage actually comes with a less capable three-cylinder engine.
The next trim is the Mirage LE, which comes with the ES features but sits on larger, 14-inch alloy wheels for $16,220. To get even more value for your money requires you to upgrade to the Mirage Carbonite Edition or the SE trim. The Carbonite Edition, which starts at $16,995, is similar to the Spark ACTIV since it offers a distinct appearance with exclusive interior decals, a red accent front grille, and a Carbonite Edition Badge.
The highest level trim in the Mirage lineup is the SE, which starts at $17,445. The SE sits on unique 15-inch alloy wheels and is equipped with LED headlights, fog lights, and automatic high beams for enhanced visibility. The interior is outfitted with a combination of synthetic and fabric upholstery to complement the leather steering wheel and leather shift knob. For the driver, the SE includes an armrest that adds comfort when you’re behind the wheel, as well as heated front seats and a push-button start. For added safety, the SE includes a lane departure warning feature to help keep your SE centered in its lane at all times.
Value Where It Counts: Capability, Safety, and Tech
The Chevy Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage offer value right where it counts from capability and safety to tech. However, when it comes to the mechanical components, the Spark is the clear winner. Both vehicles offer the choice between a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission, but Chevy included a much more powerful engine. While Mitsubishi chose a small three-cylinder that can only produce 76 horsepower, the Chevy Spark is equipped with a capable four-cylinder with just shy of 100 horsepower. Neither will be winning many street races, but you will feel more confident and comfortable in the Spark.
When it comes to safety, Chevrolet and Mitsubishi are both committed to offering the most advanced features and driver-assist tools to give you more confidence when you’re on the road. Although both hatchbacks are small, their safety offerings are anything but tiny, with the Chevy equipped with ten standard airbags and a variety of available safety tools like Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Forward Collision Alert. Mitsubishi offers a similar collection of features on the Mirage lineup, with Forward Collision Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning.
Technology is also fairly even between the two hatchbacks, as both the Spark and Mirage are well-equipped with everything you need to stay connected when you’re on the road. This connectivity is housed in 7-inch touchscreen displays on both models, accompanied by modern infotainment software. The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system and the Mitsubishi Smartphone Link Display Audio system both offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability in addition to intuitive controls.
However, the Spark pulls out ahead with its standard 4G LTE WiFI hotspot and available six-speaker audio system (the Mirage only offers four speakers even on its top trim). The Spark also has two USB ports against one for the Mirage, allowing you to charge multiple electronic devices at the same time. While both cars offer infotainment setups that were only available in high-end models not so long ago, the Spark definitely comes out on top.
When Cheap Is a Good Thing
Who doesn’t love a great deal? As more of us try to make our hard-earned money go farther, there’s no doubt that it’s a good idea to shop smarter. Models like the 2021 Chevy Spark and the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage make this an easy task considering everything these small hatchbacks have to offer. They are affordably priced, packed with features, and incredibly efficient, all of which add great value to these inexpensive options.
The Spark and Mirage prove that cheap can be a good thing. No, we don’t mean cheap as in cheaply made. We mean cheap in terms of affordability and value. In a world where you can spend six figures on a vehicle without even trying hard, it’s nice to know that there are cheaper options that don’t require you to sacrifice comfort, safety, convenience, and technology just to save a few bucks. So, if you ask us, cheap is a good thing especially considering everything you get on models like 2021 Spark and the 2021 Mirage.