Malcolm Flynn | Oct 22, 2012

An all-new Lancer will join Mitsubishi’s Australian lineup in 2014, the carmaker has confirmed, and it will be smaller than the model it replaces.

Speaking with TMR at this week's Australian International Motor Show (AIMS), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko confirmed the brand is taking a different approach, going smaller when most are getting larger.

“The new Lancer will be a very new car, and will be sized somewhere between the current model and its predecessor (sold here 2002-07)”, Masuko-san said.

New-generation launches have seen segment rivals like the Ford Focus (sedan), Nissan Pulsar (compared with Tiida), and Volkswagen Golf grow significantly, making Mitsubishi’s Lancer plans a rather bold move.

The decision will necessitate clever packaging for the new model, if the Lancer is to remain competitive on interior space and comfort.

However, a smaller overall size would likely give the Lancer a weight advantage over larger rivals, while also yielding handling and efficiency benefits.

Local drive specifications are still to be finalised, but Mitsubishi Motors Australia’s product and market strategy boss Tony Principe has suggested the possibility of smaller capacity, forced-induction petrol engines, and a diesel option, for the 2014 Lancer.

Such a move would bring the model in-line with offerings from the likes of Volkswagen, Ford and Holden, while contrasting with rival Mazda’s commitment to relatively large, naturally-aspirated petrol units with its SkyActiv technology.

What of the fan-favourite Evolution badge?

Quizzed on talk of a hybrid drivetrain for the 'Evolution XI' version of the new Lancer, Masuko-san responded politely, simply and firmly: “Thanks for asking” - hinting that a significant announcement is looming for an heir to the revered nameplate.

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