2011 MITSUBISHI LANCER REVIEW
VEHICLE STYLE: Mid-size sedan
PRICE: $25,290 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol, naturally-aspirated in-line four cylinder.
Outputs: 113kW @ 6000rpm / 198Nm @ 4250rpm.
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic transmission.
Official fuel efficiency: 8.2 L/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 8.7 L/100km
CO2 emissions: 196g/km
The 2011 Lancer SX comes with a set of visual add-ons and enhancements for just $1000 above the price of the base model ES.
It’s no world-shaker, but the SX adds some nice touches to the solid-value and dependable Lancer.
Quality: The clean lines to the interior have aged well, however the trim materials are hard and uninviting. While it’s solidly put-together, there’s no mistaking the Lancer interior for that of a premium vehicle.
Comfort: Finding a comfortable position in the Lancer is simple enough, with good front seat travel and a spacious back seat, let down a little by a high window line. Driver’s lumbar support and reach adjustment for the steering wheel are also missing.
Equipment: Remote central locking, cruise control, four-speaker CD player, power windows and seven airbags make up the basic Lancer package. SX specification adds audio and cruise buttons to a leather-wrapped wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and chrome exhaust tip.
Storage: A 400-litre boot with a low lip makes loading up a breeze. There is also a 60:40 split-folding rear seat to accommodate larger items. Storage inside consists of a lidded cup holder, console, front door-pockets and moderately-sized glovebox.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Lancer’s 2.0 litre engine is a good match to the package, and Mitsubishi’s experience with CVT automatics shows, with seamless operation in most commuting situations.
Equally at home in town or on the freeway, revs are quite low at highway cruising speeds - but there’s enough urge on tap when demanded.
Refinement: Although there are no gear-shifts (thanks to the seamless CVT) to ruffle its feathers, there is some engine coarseness evident at high revs, but never excessively. Noise insulation is up to scratch for most driving conditions.
Suspension: Front suspension is MacPherson struts; the rear features a multi-link set-up. And while handling is biased towards comfort, the Lancer still displays determined levels of grip.
Braking: Disc brakes feature all-round with vented front rotors. Stopping performance is strong, and pedal progress smooth.
ANCAP rating: 5-Star
Safety features: ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee) Active Stability and Traction Control, front seatbelts with height adjustment, load limiters and pretensioners.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Warranty coverage is for 5 years/130,000 km. The powertrain is covered by a 10 year/160,000 km warranty for the vehicles original owner. Bodywork is covered for five years against perforation.
Service costs: Mitsubishi offers capped price servicing for Lancer up to 60,000km or four years. Service intervals are set every 15,000 km or 12 months
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Toyota Corolla Conquest ($26,490) - The Corolla offers a similar driving experience but with less power, a dated four-speed auto, but slightly better fuel economy and a few extra luxury appointments. (see Corolla reviews)
Mazda3 Maxx ($25,755) - Featuring a five-speed automatic, engine specifications are similar as is fuel consumption, on the road however the Mazda’s dynamic prowess can leave the Lancer feeling a little underdone. (see Mazda3 reviews)
Holden Cruze CDX ($25,990) - it offers more standard equipment then any other competitor for only fractionally more money. Quiet and comfortable on the road, but too heavy for its engine. (see Cruze reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Lancer range still looks handsome and its handling and spaciousness are class competitive. Also, having one of the best warranties available is a hard selling-point to ignore.
The interior is a let down, but, dressed up in SX spec, the Lancer offers enough extra value to warrant a second look.