The 5th generation Mirage was in production for late 1996-2001. It was sold internationally in the 3 door hatchback, 2 door coupé, and 4 door saloon configuration. North America did not receive the hatch as was the same with the 4th generation. The 5th generation Mirage was sold only by Mitsubishi in North America as the relationship between Mitsubishi and Plymouth/Chrysler had been obsolved. The car also received yet another facelift; making it more linear this go around. The powerplants remained the same for North America. The 1.5l 92 hp 4g15 was still present in the base model and the 1.8l 113 hp 4g93 was still in the premium model. There were some significant changes to the motors though. Namely, the engine layout was change 180 degrees. In the previous versions the timing belt had been on the driver's side but with the 5g both motors had the timing belt on the passenger side. No real advantage was made by this, however. The 4g93 saw even more change though. Gone was the traditional distributor, cap and rotor type ignition and in was a new technology; DIS (Direct Ignition System). The DIS system placed coil packs on two of the cylinders. One coil pack controlled cylinders 1 and 3 while the other controlled cylinders 2 and 4. Otherwise, much of the chassis remained very similar. Suspension could be shared between both the 4th and 5th generations as well as brakes.

Mike's 5g coupé
5th gen coupé - owned by Mirageforums member (mirage4g93 (me))

Enthusiasts, however, were drawn more to the 5th generation because as time progressed it was realized that the 5th generation Mirage was also the same chassis as the 4th, 5th, and 6th generation Lancer Evolution. This meant that owners seeking performance out of their Mirage had an enormous amount of options for engine swaps, brake upgrades, AWD systems, body styling, and interior styling. The sky was the limit with this car and it ultimately was up to the owner to decide their own path. By the early 2000s owners were swapping in near 300 hp 4g63Ts from Evo 5s and by 2010 were swapping in the newest version of the 4g63T that was now equipped with MIVEC and boasted 330 hp. It also helped that the replacement for the Mirage, the Mitsubishi Lancer, had an engine that shared much of its components with the older Mirage. It came with a 2.0l 126 hp 4g94 engine that in all purposes was a de-stroked 4g93. The only difference was the 4g94's block was slightly taller, allowing it to be de-stroked. The aftermarket support for the Lancer was much larger than the Mirage and it did not take long for Mirage owners to realize that they could use 4g94 parts on the 4g93. Turbo kits for the Lancer soon started making their way onto the Mirage as did, intakes, clutches, cam gears, pulleys, etc.

EVO-lvedDrifter's 5g saloonArchie's 2 door Evo
5th gen saloon - owned by Mirageforums member (EVO-lvedDrifter)

5th gen coupé converted to Evolution - owned by Mirageforums member (Miralution)

By the end of production the 5th generation Mirage had built up a large following of owners who still remain loyal to their car. It is not uncommon for owners to have sold a Mirage only to buy another one within the same year. They hold a special spot in many of their owner's hearts as they were the car that separated them from the rest of the import scene who all pointed toward the popular Honda Civic and Integra models. Owners that have stuck to their car and final reached a point to where they were racing and beating the import powerhouses all have something to be proud of because owning one of these cars always meant building things on their own; using their own time to design and develop parts and test the things that they created. Some worked and some didn't and some are still being created almost a decade after the last Mirage rolled off of the assembly floor.