Jerry and Janice Huot drove their 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 414,000 miles (6,66,268 km) – through six grueling winters in rural Minnesota – and the only reason they didn’t go farther was a too-good-to-refuse offer from White Bear Mitsubishi dealer principal Richard Herod III to trade in the Plasma Purple sub-compact for a new 2020 Mirage earlier this year.
The Huots dubbed their Mirage the “Purple Won,” and outfitted it with a vanity plate that played off the car’s color and the nickname of Minnesota’s favorite son and rock legend Prince. The paint color also closely matched that of the Huot’s favorite NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings, which at one point, prompted Jerry to dress up the Mirage with Viking horn decals for Janice’s birthday.
On the way to 414,000 miles, the Purple Won was a commercial delivery vehicle, hauled rocks and mulch for a landscaping project and required nothing but standard maintenance.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) spoke with Jerry and Janice about their Mirage experience, and their story is nothing short of epic.
MMNA: When, where and why did you buy the Purple Won?
Janice: We went to White Bear Mitsubishi, which was near to where we lived, looking to trade in my Cadillac for something with better fuel economy. Right in the middle of the showroom was this little purple Mirage that got 44 mpg. 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.
MMNA: How did you accumulate so many miles in such a short period of time?
Jerry: 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. 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.
MMNA: So did you baby the car?
Jerry: No way! It was stored outside year-round. I used it to haul rocks and mulch for our yard. All we did was routine maintenance. 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.1 Otherwise, regular oil changes seemed to do the trick.
MMNA: How and why did you name the car?
Janice: Well, we’d named our earlier cars, so the guys at the dealership helped us think up some ideas for vanity plates when we were buying the car. We tried a few, but the best one that wasn’t already taken was “Purple Won,” which fit with the color, Prince and the Vikings.
MMNA: What’s your best memory of owning the Purple Won?
Jerry: I always loved the comments at gas stations and grocery stores and waves from people as I’d drive by. Kids would always stop and point. Everybody seemed to love that car; it would make everyone smile whenever they saw it.
Janice: For me, there are a lot of great memories, but one of the best was when Jerry dressed the car up to look like a Minnesota Vikings helmet for my birthday. He got a set of magnetic Viking horn decals made for the car, and we stuck them on the doors during football season.
MMNA: Why did you trade in the Purple Won?
Jerry: I didn’t plan to. 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 (Herrod III, dealer principal) came by. 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.
MMNA: How do you like the new Mirage?
Jerry: Oh, I love it! It’s really similar to the old one, but it’s got HID headlights and fog lights, which are good for us living out on a dead end road on the north side of the lake in Lindstrom (Minnesota). It’s really peppy and comfortable, and it’s got heated seats and a really nice stereo. But you have to understand, the Purple Won was the first new car I’d ever owned, and it was absolutely the best, totally dependable and economical. We still miss it. As long as Mitsubishi keeps making the Mirage, I’ll own one.
MMNA: And the name for the new Mirage?
Janice: Not knowing what would be available, we requested “MPG King” and “Top MPG,” and “Top MPG” came through. We love it!
The Mitsubishi Mirage is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline-powered vehicle in the U.S.2 Both Mirage and Mirage G4 will undergo an extensive redesign for the 2021 model year, with sales of the refreshed Mirage scheduled to start in the first quarter.
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