2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT AWC
2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT AWC. Click image to enlarge

The Lancer GT’s AWC (all-wheel control) system consists of three driver-selectable options: 2WD, 4WD and Lock. 2WD means front-wheel drive only and that’s sufficient for most dry and wet weather conditions and provides the best fuel economy. 4WD means all-wheel drive – a rear-mounted electronically controlled transfer clutch automatically varies torque between the front and rear wheels to provide the best traction and cornering stability on slippery (or dry) roads. Most of the power is sent to the front wheels, but unlike many on-demand AWD systems, there is always some power going to the rear wheels – up to a maximum of 40 percent under hard acceleration and about 15 percent when cruising. AWC works in concert with the Lancer’s standard traction and stability control to maximize stability and steering control on slippery surfaces. The AWC’s Lock setting doesn’t actually lock the front and rear differentials in a fixed 50/50 distribution but it does send more of the engine’s power – up to 50 percent – to the rear wheels when necessary in severe conditions like deep snow, mud or gravel. This means that even on dry roads you can drive in Lock mode without any binding when turning.

The Lancer’s AWC system doesn’t include the Active Centre Differential and front and rear limited slip differentials featured in the Lancer Ralliart. Nor does the Lancer AWC have the Evolution’s sophisticated Active Yaw Control. But for the purposes of typical city and highway driving, the Lancer’s standard AWC system is a distinct performance advantage when driving on slippery surfaces. Driving in the rain-soaked streets around Vancouver, our test car felt stable and confident with grippy handling, but there wasn’t any snow to put it to a real test.

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT AWC2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT AWC
2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT AWC. Click image to enlarge

As advantageous as AWC is, its $4,000 premium over the front-wheel-drive Lancer GT seems excessive. As a buyer, I’d seriously consider whether I really needed the advantages of AWD in my daily driving routines. On the other hand, a similarly equipped Impreza with all-wheel drive (the only other compact sedan with all-wheel drive) is priced even higher.

The Lancer GT AWC comes with standard 205/60R16-inch tires while newer competitors are offering 17- and 18-inch low-profile tires with sharper looking alloy wheels. That doesn’t affect the Lancer’s handling though: with its fully independent suspension (McPherson strut/multi-link) and traditional but responsive hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering, I enjoyed the Lancer’s combination of predictable, solid handling and a comfortable ride. Its tight turning circle is also a pleasant surprise in an all-wheel-drive car. Outward visibility is good except for that huge trunk spoiler that bisects the view through the rear window. Apparently, a rearview camera and parking sensors ($440 plus labour) are available as dealer-installed accessories, but I couldn’t find the rearview camera option on Mitsubishi’s website. Perhaps it’s part of the dealer installed navigation and music centre ($4,612 plus labour). It should be for that price!

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