Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer LX.
I don’t think there has ever been a car that varies so wildly from mild to wild as the Mitsubishi Lancer.
The wild of course is the Lancer Evolution; one of the most widely loved and respected four door sports sedans ever built.
Then there’s the regular old Lancer that would probably put a brown cardigan to sleep.
The Lancer range is priced from $19,990; I had the mid-spec LX hatch with a five speed manual transmission, which will set you back from $23,990.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 110kW and 197Nm. Acceleration is all right on the flats, on the hills however, especially at lower speeds, the Lancer lacks a little bit of low-down grunt.
Fuel consumption was a very respectable 8.4L/100 in the city, the official combined figure is 7.1L/100.
On the road the Lancer delivers a reasonably good ride, handling is OK too, the brakes are adequate, the steering is actually very good and the turning circle gets a tick.
On the outside the Lancer’s distinctive styling is starting to look very dated, though it is a nice design and that helps carry it through. Standard 16” alloys on the LX, as well as side skirts and some nice chrome touches on the grille, door handles etc. also help keep it in the game.
Inside the cabin you will find plenty of standard features including leather seats, the front seats are heated and the driver gets electronic adjustment, cruise control, leather steering wheel/gear knob/handbrake and door inserts, power windows, power mirrors, digital touch-screen stereo with Bluetooth and a reversing camera.
The dashboard in the Mitsubishi Lancer is a case study in being basic and simple, this philosophy flows through to the climate control adjustments which are the old fashioned (but effective) three knob layout.
The seats are actually quite impressive, although in the driver’s seat I felt a little uncomfortable due to the door and centre arm-rests being placed too low, my elbows would barely make contact even in the lowest seating adjustment.
It also felt to me that the gear shift was just slightly too far forward, this left me feeling as though I was really reaching for the shifter in 1st, 3rd and 5th gears.
The driver’s info screen also looks really dated, while the use of a heap of hard plastic in the cabin helps to let down the whole package.
Leg room front and back gets a pass mark, boot space is very good and can be further improved by lowering the adjustable floor panel – a really neat feature.
I’m pleased to say there is no compromise on the safety front with the Lancer boasting a 5-Star ANCAP rating.
For under $24,000 the Mitsubishi Lancer LX offers enough standard features to keep it in the cut-throat small car market.
With the added pluses of good fuel consumption, nice steering, very good warranty and a reasonably roomy interior you can see why the Lancer remains a common sight on our roads.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol delivering 110kW and 197Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or six-speed CVT auto
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $23,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Mitsubishi CJ Lancer.