Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the Mitsubishi Lancer.
The Mitsubishi Lancer continues to be a reasonably popular small car offering in Australia despite the current body shape being around for eight years.
While others, such as the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 sport sexy new shapes, the Lancer is still cashing in on what was quite a good design that first appeared in 2007.
Mitsubishi recently gave the Lancer a mini makeover – adding indicators to the wing mirrors, new interior door trims, some new colours and a simplified model range.
With those changes Mitsubishi also revised the pricing structure with the Lancer range now kicking off at $18,990 for the ES Sport in manual form, an additional $2000 gets you the auto version (six-ratio CVT).
I was handed the keys to the auto version and while the Lancer is anything but cutting-edge it does get the job done reasonably efficiently.
Under the bonnet of the entry-level model is a 2.0 litre petrol engine that produces 110kW and 197Nm. Working with the CVT, the engine produces reasonably good acceleration from a standing stop, cruising at highway speeds is also fairly well covered.
I averaged 8.8L/100kms in a week of predominantly city driving, the claimed combined consumption rate for the Lancer is a very reasonable 7.2L/100kms.
The ride is helped along by the 60 series tyres on the standard 16” alloy wheels, in this grade of Lancer however handling is not this cars forte! Brakes though are good, the steering nicely weighted and quite direct, and the turning circle is very impressive.
I mentioned the alloy wheels, the Sport grade Mitsubishi Lancer also gets that rather large wing on the boot. It’s completely out of place though as the rest of the car is just so conservative (and dare I say boring).
The wing and the three headrests on the back seat also manage to block a far chunk of rear visibility from the driver’s seat.
Inside the cabin you will find quite supportive and comfortable seats, reasonably good leg room front and back and a pretty good-sized glove box and centre storage box.
Comfort is let down a little due to a very low centre arm rest. A barebones dashboard comes with pleasingly simple climate control adjustments, the Lancer ES Sport features quite a dated but otherwise functional trip computer and clear and simple gauges.
You want sat-nav, reversing camera, auto headlights, auto wipers? You aren’t going to get any of that in this grade of the Lancer. Voice activated Bluetooth, electric mirrors and air-conditioning are all included though.
The Mitsubishi Lancer range comes complete with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; if you’re after a small car from a reputable Japanese car brand then the Mitsubishi Lancer is always worth a test drive. The good points are the fuel economy, generally very good build quality, generous warranty, top safety rating and simple cabin layout.
If you can look past the out-of-date styling and you can do without a few luxuries then the base model Lancer looks to be a pretty reasonable buy. Take note though, metallic paint will set you back an additional $495.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 110kW and 197Nm
Transmission: Six-speed CVT or five-speed manual
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $18,990