A couple in Minnesota just traded in their 414,000-mile 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, which is notable for any car, topping many of the Junkyard Gems we've featured. We were also impressed because that's a lot of miles in a car that we weren't especially fond of. But the couple that owned it, Jerry and Janice Huot, clearly liked it. Dubbed the "Purple Won" in a nod to Prince, the subcompact endured six upper Midwest winters as an all-purpose utility and delivery vehicle.
"I always loved the comments at gas stations and grocery stores and waves from people as I’d drive by," Jerry said. "Kids would always stop and point. Everybody seemed to love that car; it would make everyone smile whenever they saw it."
The Huots were repeat Mitsubishi buyers in search of something with better fuel efficiency than their Cadillac. While Mitsubishi didn't specify which model the Huots traded in, it's safe to say that whatever it was, the 2014 Mirage would have been a significant upgrade in that respect, as it was rated at 37 mpg in the city, 44 on the highway and 40 combined when it was sold new; the EPA has since re-rated it at 36/42/39.
"Right in the middle of the showroom was this little purple Mirage that got 44 mpg," Janice told Mitsubishi. "I’d had an Outlander Sport and Montero Sport before and loved them, so it seemed like a good choice. We drove the Mirage home that day, right off the showroom floor."
"Janice drove it mostly for the first 7,000 miles or so, but when winter came, she wanted all-wheel-drive, so she got a 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport," Jerry says. "But then I started using the Mirage for my business. I am a courier. I deliver samples from various doctors’ offices to labs, so I drive up and down the state and around town in Minneapolis all the time. The Mirage never missed a beat. It got me up and out of our gravel driveway, even in the middle of winter, when others got stuck in the snow."
According to the Huots, the Mirage only needed two noteworthy repairs on its way to 414,000 miles: a replacement starter motor between 200,000 and 300,000 miles and a new set of wheel bearings some time after 150k, both of which they say were addressed under warranty.
We reached out to Mitsubishi for clarification on the owners' warranty claim, as even the automaker acknowledges that its coverage would have expired well before the owners claim those repairs were necessary; an aftermarket long-term warranty package sold by the dealer (or another third party) is the most likely explanation. Apart from that, the Huots say it has needed only regularly scheduled maintenance.
What replaced it? Another Mirage, predictably. Though the Huots have also added a new Outlander Sport to their driveway since the Mirage came home, they had no intention of replacing the Purple Won. The principal at their servicing dealer offered to buy it after learning how many miles it had accumulated, and he plans to use it for advertising.