Milestones

A Minnesota couple drove this Mitsubishi Mirage for 414,000+ miles (and gave it horns)

The Huots drove their 2014Mitsubishi Mirago for over 400,000 miles.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Jerry and Janice Huot spent 414,000 miles driving the Purple Won, but it wasn't their first choice. When the Huots arrived at White Bear Mitsubishi in White Bear Lake, Minnesota to trade in a Cadillac, they wanted a vehicle with better fuel economy. They saw that a Mirage got 44 mpg and they ended up driving it home.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage survived six winter in rural Minnesota. The only reason it won't be surviving its seventh is because White Bear Mitsubishi dealer principal Richard Herod III offered to trade them the for a new 2020 Mirage earlier this year. When they arrived at the dealership that day, they didn't plan on trading it in.

2002 Mitsubishi MirageThe Huots purchased the Mirage from White Bear Lake Mitsubishi.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

"I had brought it into the dealership for regular service and was saying hello to all the people we've gotten to know there when Richard came by," said Jerry. "When he heard about how many miles we had on the car, he said he wanted to use it for advertising, so he worked with us to get great deal on a new 2020 Mirage."

The Purple Won arrived at the dealership for trade wearing a "Purple Won" custom license plate and a purple paint job. The couple conceived the vanity plate's message by combining the car's color with the nickname of Price, who hailed from and lived in Minnesota.

The Huots had a lot of fun over the course of those 414,000 miles. One year Jerry dressed up the Mirage with horns for Janice's birthday in honor of her favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings.

The Mirage lived a full life of many acts. It served as a commercial delivery vehicle, hauled rocks and mulch for a landscaping project and required nothing but standard maintenance.

2002 Mitsubishi MirageThe car had over 414,000 miles on the odometer when it was traded in.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

"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 shared. "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."

2020 Mitsubishi MirageThe Huots with their 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage, complete with custom vanity plate.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The Huots never babied the Mirage. It was stored outside year-round. Naturally, it needed some repairs from time to time. "We had to replace the wheel bearings sometime after 150,000 miles, and the starter motor was replaced at somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 miles, but that was all covered under warranty," Jerry said. "Otherwise, regular oil changes seemed to do the trick."

The Huots haven't divulged if they have any mileage goals for their new Mirage.

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The Sakura is Nissan's newest EV.

Nissan

It's no secret that the Japanese get all manner of quirky, cool cars that we don't see here in the States. Sure, there's the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Delica van, but tiny vehicles like kei cars and "minivehicles" are popular imports for Americans looking to diversify their drives. Pint-sized kei cars are ripe for electrification, and Nissan did just that with its new Sakura EV, which comes almost a year after the automaker announced it was working with Mitsubishi to develop tiny electric models. It's one of dozens of new EVs slated to come from the Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renaul Alliance this decade.

Though tiny, the Sakura offers a decent top speed of 80 mph, and its range of around 112 miles could make it an ideal urban runabout for many. That said, there's little chance the car will come to the United States. Japan's minivehicles and kei cars are far smaller than anything currently on sale here. For example, the Sakura's 133.6-inch length makes it almost 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, a car that Americans would consider minuscule.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura borrows features from the Nissan Leaf, including its battery.Nissan

Nissan borrowed the Sakura's 20-kWh battery from the Leaf and says it can be used to provide power for external devices or even power a home for up to a day. The car comes with three driving modes to change the behavior of things like regenerative braking and throttle response, and Nissan says it took further guidance from the Leaf to give the Sakura the quietest cabin in its class.

The Sakura's upright shape likely helps with headroom, but it certainly doesn't increase cargo space, as Nissan claims just 107 liters (4 cubic feet) of room. That said, the car features small-item storage spaces for gear like a smartphone or wallet. Buyers can opt for black, beige, or blue-grey interior colors, and an upgrade package is available that brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are a surprising number of features packed into the minute Nissan's cabin. A 7-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Nissan says the car's displays are oriented to reduce distraction and keep the driver's eyes on the road, and ProPilot safety systems are standard, including a new parking assist feature. ProPilot is a stepping stone toward Nissan's goal of debuting autonomous driving tech by 2030.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura isn't destined for the U.S. - yet, anyway. Nissan

The Sakura goes on sale in Japan this summer. It's priced at 1.78 million yen, or around $14,000. The car will be available for purchase online, and Nissan says it will offer video chats and other resources to help buyers with the process. Buyers will be able to opt for a full in-person buying experience, a completely virtual experience, or anything in between.

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The 2023 Eclipse Cross gets standard all-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi may not be the most popular automaker, but the brand is working hard to improve its models in the U.S. The Eclipse Cross debuted in 2018 and just got an overhaul in 2022. The 2023 model year brings further improvements to the line, including standard all-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi offers the 2023 Eclipse Cross in four trims: ES, LE, SE, and SEL. Pricing for the line starts at $27,090, which includes a $1,295 destination charge. The range-topping Eclipse Cross SEL with Touring Package starts at $32,690.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with myQ Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The Eclipse Cross picks up standard all-wheel drive for 2023, which is Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel control. The system uses Adaptive Stability Control, Anti-Lock Brakes, and Active Yaw Control to assist with torque vectoring, which shifts power between the rear wheels that need it most.

Mitsubishi updated the Eclipse Cross for the 2022 model year, which brought an updated grille and more LED lighting than anyone would ever need. The stacked light design combines headlights and foglight in a low-mounted position for better visibility and to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. The 2023 model year brings new available 18-inch wheels and standard body-color lower trim for the SE trim and above.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with myQ Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi equips the Eclipse Cross with a few standard driver aids, including lane departure warnings, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and hill start assist. Higher trims add tech such as blind spot monitors, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alerts, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision mitigation with high-speed braking capability and pedestrian detection.

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