The Mirage is back.

The Mitsubishi nameplate returns for the 2014 model year in an all-new subcompact platform specifically designed for urban drivers.

With a base price starting below $13,000, the five-door, five-passenger Mirage delivers an EPA fuel economy rating of 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and includes a long list of standard features and amenities.

As an urban commuter vehicle, itís perfect. The 2014 Mirage is nimble and its small size makes it ideal for maneuvering in tight parking spaces and crowded city streets.

And you canít beat its affordability factor, or its exceptional fuel economy.

Available in two trim levels ó DE and ES ó Mitsubishi found a way to pack a lot of features and equipment into a very, very affordable package.

Standard features include tilt steering, automatic climate control, power windows, power side mirrors, 60/40 split folding rear seat, keyless entry system, intermittent wipers and a four-speaker 140-watt audio system.

Standard safety features include seven airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, hill start assist and active stability control with traction control, to list but a few of the features.

As I mentioned earlier, if most or all of your driving is going to be done in the city at speeds less than 45 mph, the Mirage is absolutely an ideal vehicle.

For consumers needing a vehicle thatís well suited for both highway and city driving, you probably wonít like the Mirage due to the fact it is powered by a 74-horsepower 3-cylinder engine.

During most of my one-week evaluation, I conducted most of my driving in the city ó for which again, I found the Mirage very well suited. But on the few times I took the Mirage on the highway, I found it underpowered while trying to get up to highway speeds ó as well as trying to cruise at highway speeds.

As a second vehicle to commute to work or drive around town, I highly recommend the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage as an affordable, viable option.

And, you really canít beat the value.

For an additional $1,200, Mirage buyers can upgrade to the SE model, which adds push button stop/start ignition with FAST-key entry, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 14-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and upgraded seat fabric.

Available optional equipment includes DVD-based navigation system, rearview camera system, and a chrome package.

Again, as a city and/or commuter car, the Mirage is a great option certainly worthy of adding to the test drive list.

But for consumers needing a primary vehicle that will meet both highway and city driving needs, there are much better options as I found the 3-cylinder engine lacking when it comes to freeway speed driving conditions.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.

The Nuts and Bolts

MODEL:

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

5-seat subcompact †

Front-wheel drive

Trim packages:

DE, ES

PRICE RANGE:

$13,000-$15,000

ENGINE:

1.2L I3 (74 hp/74 torque)

TRANSMISSION:

5-speed manual

CVT

EPA: 34/37 mpg city, 44/42 mpg highway (CVT/MT)

FUEL: Regular unleaded

STABILITY CONTROL:

Active stability control with traction control

BRAKES: ABS

LENGTH: 148.8 inches

WHEELBASE: 96.5 in.

WIDTH: 65.6 inches

HEIGHT: 59.1 inches

WEIGHT: 1973-1996 lbs.

TRACK: 55.7/56.3

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 9.2 gallons

TIRES: 14-inch

CARGO: 17.2/47 cubic feet (behind 2nd/1st row).

WARRANTY: 5-years/60,000-miles basic; 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain.