Mitsubishi says its new Mirage subcompact going on sale this fall will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car in the U.S.

The Japanese auto maker debuted the model this morning at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

The Mirage, with a continuously variable transmission and a 74-hp, 1.2L 3-cyl. engine, is expected to achieve 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) combined, or 37/44 mpg (6.4/5.3 L/100 km) city/highway, Mitsubishi says of estimated fuel economy.

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the Mirage, but no mileage figures are given for its pairing with the 1.2L.

Ford also is launching a 3-cyl. in the U.S. this fall in the Fiesta B-car, although that engine is a turbocharged 123-hp 1.0L.

Mitsubishi hasn't sold a B-car in the U.S. since the 1980s, when it partnered with Chrysler on the Colt model.

The Mirage name has been used before in the U.S., including on Mitsubishi's C-segment model now known as the Lancer.

Mitsubishi says advantages of the new Mirage include scads of standard safety equipment such as seven airbags and hill-start assist, as well as traction and stability control.

Mitsubishi's newest generation of its Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) safety-cell technology is applied in the ’14 Mirage. A key feature of RISE is “an abundant use of high-strength steel" in key areas of the car’s platform, as well as an energy-absorbing front end.

Coefficient of drag for the Mirage is 0.28, Mitsubishi says, achieved due in part to the rear bumper's sculpted corners.

Mitsubishi is claiming the "sharpest turning radius in the class," at 15.1 ft. (460 cm) for the Mirage, which has standard electric power steering.

Two grades of the car will be available: DE and ES, with the former getting standard power windows, tilt steering, automatic climate control and keyless entry; the latter adds cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and 14-in. alloy wheels.

Options include navigation (ES only), bumper and side-sill extensions, an illumination package with light-emitting diodes inside and out, and park-assist sensors.

The U.S. subcompact segment experienced a renaissance in 2006, when the Japanese Big Three entered the group with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris. Ford, Chevy, Hyundai and Kia also sell in the group, all with relatively new entrants.

Yet, the Versa, whose hatchback variant is nearly 7 years old, was the No.1-selling subcompact in the U.S. last year, racking up 113,327 deliveries.

Subcompact sales have been stagnant this year despite higher gas prices, with Ward's Lower- Small group up just 0.4% through February from like-2012.

Mitsubishi also uses the New York stage to announce pricing for its next-generation ’14 Outlander cross/utility vehicle, on sale in June.

The ES-grade Outlander begins at $22,995, the SE grade at $23,795 and the high-end GT model at $27,795. Optional all-wheel drive adds a couple thousand dollars to each model's price.

Also on Mitsubishi's New York stage is a full-scale cutaway model of its upcoming plug-in hybrid Outlander.

Due next year in the U.S., the Outlander PHEV uses a 2.0L gas engine, two 60-kW (80-hp) electric motors and a 12-kW lithium-ion battery pack. Range in electric mode is estimated at 30 miles (48 km).

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com