2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT, 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR, 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback. Click image to enlarge
Review by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Compact sedan or 5-door
History/Description: With two body styles, an absolutely unbeatable powertrain warranty, sporty looks and available AWD in select years, the Mitsubishi Lancer competed mainly with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza and Mazda 3 with an eye for value and long-term confidence. The Lancer is far from the newest or freshest compact sedan on the used market – but it’s priced decently, nicely equipped, an award-winner in numerous crash tests, and comes with a confidence-inspiring warranty.
Here’s a lineup that offered plenty of selection. In addition to ‘standard’ Lancer Sedan and Sportback body styles, shoppers could specify a turbocharged AWD Lancer Ralliart in either body, and an even more turbocharged Lancer Evolution, which only came in sedan form. We’ll focus on the mainstream, non-boosted Lancer models today, though.
Available feature content included automatic climate control, heated seats, a sunroof, premium audio, Bluetooth, a driver computer, power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic lights and more.
For those shoppers after maximum real-world flexibility and versatility, the Lancer Sportback is a common choice. A five-door lift-gate body design, 1,300 litres of cargo capacity and the same fuel-efficient drivetrain found in the Lancer Sedan lineup make plenty of sense for pet owners, sports enthusiasts, small families, or anyone after a vehicle with plenty of space at an honest price.
If the model you’re considering has the available “Sun and Sound” package, you’re well on your way to sharing your tuneage with entire intersections and parking lots, thanks to a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium sound system with 10-inch subwoofer, digital signal processor, speed compensated volume and a six-CD/MP3 in-dash head unit. A power glass sunroof with shade and tilt feature is also included alongside a keyless hands-free access system, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the engine started without needing to actually handle the vehicle’s key.
Engines / Trim: Engines in the mainstream Lancer models included a 2.0L four cylinder with around 150 horsepower, and a 2.4 litre unit with 168. A five-speed manual or infinity-speed CVT transmission was available, as was Mitsubishi’s All Wheel Control (AWC) All Wheel Drive (AWD) system in select models later in the generation. Note that the AWC-equipped Lancer was available only with the CVT transmission.
2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Like: Lancer drivers typically enjoy sporty handling, the confidence of top safety ratings, decent performance and a good equipment level for the price. Many owners report satisfaction with cabin roominess, as well as fuel mileage – depending on the engine and transmission selected. The manual transmission is said to be slick and sporty, and the highway ride is said to be comfortable and laid back. And if you’re into music, the Rockford Fosgate stereo will likely impress.
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Dislike: Wind noise, cheap interior materials, a rough ride on some models and poor interior lighting at night are some of the more common complaints of this generation Lancer. Ditto a tight rear seat for grownups. Additionally, many owners complain of sluggish, lazy performance on models with the CVT transmission. This is a common complaint of many models with a CVT, not just the Lancer.
Here’s what some Lancer owners are saying at autoTRADER.ca
The Test Drive: Perhaps refreshingly, one of the most commonly-reported problems within the used Lancer community pertains to paint and finish that’s easily chipped, scraped or scratched. So, start a check-over of the Lancer you’re considering by examining the body, looking for signs of somewhat-commonly reported paint wear – which will show itself as chips, scrapes and scratches. Look at the lower, inner edges of all body panels for signs of rust, too.
Some owners have reported premature shock-absorber wear and failure, so test-drive the Lancer listening and feeling for unwelcomed sensations when travelling over bumps at various speeds. The car should quietly bounce, rebound and settle – not slam, bang or crank into bumps or dips in the road. If you’re unsure of the condition of the suspension in the Lancer you’re considering, have a mechanic take a look.