a vehicle in 2023 at a factory after a crash test

2023’s most deadly car model on the road was the Mitubishi Mirage

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In a year marked by technological advancements and increasing safety measures within the automotive industry, the reality of road safety continues to challenge both manufacturers and drivers alike. Despite the progress, certain car models have unfortunately been associated with higher incidents of fatalities, raising concerns over their safety on the roads. 

J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles has taken a critical step forward in addressing these concerns by meticulously compiling all available data to shed light on the most deadly car model of 2023. Our comprehensive analysis is not just a mere enumeration of statistics; it is a clarion call aimed at urging manufacturers to take immediate and effective actions to enhance the safety of their vehicles. More importantly, our efforts are rooted in a commitment to protect consumers and ensure that they can make informed decisions when it comes to choosing a car that is not only reliable but also safe. 

Through this article, we offer our informed opinion on which car model resulted in the most deaths in 2023, in the hope that this knowledge will spur necessary improvements and safeguard the lives of countless drivers and passengers alike. Our analysis not only uncovers which car has the highest fatality rate but also explores the underlying factors contributing to its perilous distinction. 

Join us as we dissect the data, examine safety features, and offer insights to help you make informed decisions about your safety on the road. Whether you’re in the market for a new car or simply concerned about road safety, this post is an essential read for anyone committed to navigating the roads with confidence.

What was the most deadly car for 2023 and why was it so bad for safety?

The Mitsubishi Mirage was identified as the vehicle with the highest fatality rate in 2023. New data released in July 2023 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) puts the sedan and hatch versions of the subcompact at the top two spots in terms of driver fatalities.

Several factors contributed to its poor safety performance:

  1. Size and Structure: The Mirage is a subcompact car, and its smaller size and lighter weight make it more vulnerable in collisions compared to larger vehicles. In crashes, larger, heavier vehicles tend to offer better protection to their occupants due to better crash energy absorption capabilities.
  2. Safety Features: While the Mirage includes standard safety features, it may lack the more advanced safety technologies and structural reinforcements found in higher-rated vehicles. These advanced features can significantly improve occupant protection in various crash scenarios.
  3. Crash Test Ratings: Vehicles are subject to crash tests conducted by organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Lower scores in these tests can indicate a vehicle’s poor performance in protecting occupants during front, side, rear, and rollover crashes.
  4. Driver Demographics and Behavior: The type of drivers attracted to certain vehicles can also influence fatality rates. Economical, compact cars like the Mirage might be popular among younger, less experienced drivers, who statistically are involved in more accidents.

It’s important for consumers to consider a vehicle’s safety ratings, features, and crash test performance when making a purchase decision. Vehicles with higher safety ratings and equipped with advanced safety technologies can offer better protection in the event of a collision.

Here is a full list of the most dangerous cars in the data

Death rates are given as the number of driver deaths per million registered vehicle years. A registered vehicle year is one vehicle registered for one year. A vehicle must have at least 100,000 registered vehicle years or at least 20 deaths in the four-year study period to be included in the data. More information about how the IIHS calculates data can be found here

While the Mitsubishi Mirage has been frequently cited in reports for its safety concerns, there are other vehicles that have also been noted for their safety performance or lack thereof in various assessments. However, it’s important to remember that vehicle safety is a complex issue that can be influenced by numerous factors, including crash test results, availability of safety features, and overall vehicle design.

Historically, smaller and lighter vehicles tend to perform differently in crash tests compared to larger, heavier vehicles, due to physics and the amount of protective structure around the occupants. Additionally, older models or those without modern safety features such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and advanced airbag systems might also be considered less safe compared to newer models equipped with these technologies.

For the most accurate and current information on vehicle safety ratings and to identify which vehicles are considered less safe, it’s best to refer directly to the latest results and publications from:

These organizations regularly update their ratings based on the latest data and testing methodologies, providing a valuable resource for consumers looking to understand the safety profile of specific vehicle models.

Information on the Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is known for being one of the most affordable cars on the market, appealing to buyers looking for basic transportation at a low initial price point. It comes in both hatchback and sedan (Mirage G4) versions, offering versatility for different buyer preferences. Here are some key details about the Mitsubishi Mirage, keeping in mind that specifics can vary by model year:


  • Engine: The Mirage typically features a small, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. This engine is focused on fuel efficiency rather than performance.
  • Power: Output is modest, with horsepower ratings usually around 78 hp.
  • Transmission: It often comes with a choice between a 5-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) aimed at maximizing fuel economy.

Fuel Efficiency

  • One of the Mirage’s strongest selling points is its fuel economy. It’s among the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid cars available in the U.S., with EPA estimates often exceeding 40 mpg on the highway for models equipped with the CVT.

Interior and Technology

  • Interior: The Mirage’s interior is basic and functional, with seating for up to five passengers. The materials and design reflect its budget-friendly nature.
  • Technology: Recent models have seen improvements in standard technology, including touch screen infotainment systems, Bluetooth connectivity, and even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility in higher trims.


  • The Mirage comes with standard safety features like front, side, and curtain airbags, stability control, and a rearview camera. However, it lacks some of the advanced driver-assistance systems found in more expensive vehicles.
  • Safety ratings for the Mirage have been mixed, with lower scores in certain crash tests conducted by organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


  • The Mirage is marketed as one of the most affordable new cars available, making it an attractive option for first-time car buyers and those with a tight budget.

Market Reception

  • While the Mirage scores points for affordability and fuel efficiency, it has faced criticism for its lack of power, basic interior, and driving dynamics. It’s a vehicle that prioritizes practicality and cost over luxury or performance.

It’s always recommended to check specific model year features, safety ratings, and reviews to get a comprehensive understanding of the Mitsubishi Mirage’s offerings and how they align with your needs and preferences.

What makes the Mitsubishi Mirage so controversial?

The Mitsubishi Mirage has been a subject of controversy and mixed reviews for several reasons, making it a polarizing vehicle in the automotive market. Here are the main factors contributing to its controversial reputation:

Performance and Driving Experience

  • Engine Power: The Mirage is equipped with a small, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that produces modest power (typically around 78 horsepower). This results in sluggish acceleration and a generally underwhelming driving experience, especially on highways or during overtaking maneuvers.
  • Handling: Critics often point out that the Mirage’s handling and driving dynamics fall short when compared to other vehicles in its class. The car’s light weight, while beneficial for fuel economy, can affect its stability and ride quality, particularly at higher speeds or in adverse weather conditions.

Build Quality and Interior

  • Material Quality: The interior of the Mirage is often described as basic and utilitarian, with a noticeable use of hard plastics and less expensive materials. This is a common trade-off in vehicles prioritizing affordability, but it has been a point of criticism for those expecting a more refined interior.
  • Noise: The Mirage’s cabin insulation has been noted as insufficient by some reviewers, leading to a noisier ride where engine, road, and wind noise are more pronounced.

Safety Ratings

  • Crash Test Performance: The Mirage has received mixed safety ratings from organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While it comes equipped with basic safety features, its performance in certain crash tests has raised concerns about its overall safety compared to other vehicles in its segment.

Value Proposition

  • Despite its affordability, critics argue that there are other options in the used car market, or even among new cars, that offer better value in terms of safety, performance, and overall quality. This has led to debates about whether the Mirage’s low cost of entry truly represents a good value for consumers.

Positive Aspects

  • It’s worth noting that the Mirage also has its proponents, who highlight its exceptional fuel economy, low cost of ownership, and Mitsubishi’s warranty coverage as major selling points. The vehicle appeals to a specific segment of buyers looking for an affordable, efficient mode of transportation. It also comes in different colors, which is a nice thing.

The controversy surrounding the Mitsubishi Mirage essentially boils down to a clash between expectations of quality and performance versus the vehicle’s positioning as a budget-friendly option. While it meets the needs of those prioritizing cost and fuel efficiency, it may not satisfy those looking for a more engaging driving experience or higher levels of comfort and safety.

Call a Los Angeles car accident lawyer today

As we conclude our investigation into the most deadly car model on the road in 2023, the Mitsubishi Mirage, it’s clear that this insight is not just a statistic but a call to action for manufacturers, regulators, and consumers alike. The data underscores the urgent need for improvements in vehicle safety standards and consumer awareness to prevent future tragedies on the road.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, regardless of the model involved, it’s crucial to understand that you have rights and options. The J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, stands ready to support you through these challenging times. Our experienced team is committed to providing personalized and compassionate legal assistance to ensure that you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. 

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and help you navigate the legal complexities that may arise. You can reach us at (323) 202-2305 to learn more about how we can assist you in your recovery journey.

Remember, your safety and well-being are paramount. As we move forward, let us all commit to advocating for safer roads and vehicles, equipped with the knowledge and resources to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.