SEATTLE, December 4th, 2014 — The Lancer has been a great seller for Mitsubishi and that’s because it has some good things going for it, an all-wheel-drive option being not the least of them. This compact sports sedan has garnered a loyal following over the years, thanks in part to the EVO and Ralliart models. Needless to say, Mitsubishi has always tried to make sure its cars provided a spirited driving experience.
The 2014 model hasn’t changed a too much from the previous year, the overall body is still the same. We still find the big open grill in the front with the snazzy-looking headlights which nearly appear as eyes and of course the nifty fog lamps at the bottom.
The current generation of Lancer has some great body lines with a look that’s still “Japanese” but still unique and definitely “Mitsubishi-like”. The combination of lines and curves paint a car that has a naturally assertive look and stance.
The Lancer GT comes with the 2.4-liter MIVEC 4-cylinder engine that is normally aspirated. Its horsepower rating is 168 and the torque is a nearly even number at 167. Overall not bad numbers for a car of this class but the automatic transmission is a CVT (Constantly variable) – the 5-speed manual would be this reviewers pick. Thankfully, Mitsubishi is has at least provided us with paddle shifters. Driving a CVT makes those of us who appreciate good performance feel like we lost our soul or “mojo”, however, the paddle shifters do help a bit to make up for that.
The EPA rates this car at 26 MPG around town and 30 MPG at freeway speeds. That’s pretty good but not the greatest we’ve seen in the compact sedan segment, either.
Our test vehicle had the standard “sport cloth” seating surfaces but leather is available as an upgrade. Even though it’s a relatively small car, it felt more spacious inside then one may think from just looking at its exterior. Everything is within easy reach from the driver and the car just “fits” rather well, once inside. One of features we enjoyed during this time of the year was the built-in seat warmers. Folks in the back? Notta. No seat warmers for those in the rear passenger area.
The seats are rather comfortable and supportive but can wane a bit for extended trips. The rear leg room is good for a compact sedan but faces the same challenge as most all cars in this class and you’ll find that out, quickly, if you try and stick three adults in the back. Two adults with a small child in the middle an you could likely hold up okay for the first 100 miles so before discomfort set in.
Its infotainment center uses the FUSE hands-free Link System with Bluetooth telephony and audio. One of the things that Mitsubishi’s Bluetooth has always done is that when using hands-free, the audio only comes out of the right-hand speaker. We’re not sure why they do it this way but it certainly can make things a bit more difficult to hear on noisy roads without having to adjust the volume. Other sources of entertainment include, AM/FM/Satellite Radio/Bluetooth Audio/CD and DVD.
The 6.1-inch screen is easy on the eyes, relatively easy to navigate and helps backing up as well, thanks to the rear view camera. Mitsubishi again partners with the folks from Rockford Fosgate to build an audio system that provides some “boom”; an ideal setup for hipsters and the slightly younger generation who like it loud. Sound quality is good, not stellar but sounds good overall. The only real issue with it is that the midrange frequencies should do a better job of blending in with the rest of the audio spectrum as the highs are here as well as the lows buts mids can get a bit too muddled.
Honestly, what makes a Lancer a Lancer is the way it drives and the 2014 delivers that same level of fun-factor many Mistu owners love. Even though it’s a CVT, the paddle shifters do allow the driver to smash through the gears with ease, all while holding engine RPMs. The car doesn’t feel underpowered, although another 20-30 horsies under the hood wouldn’t hurt, either.
Ride quality is good, sporty and lively. Just the way a Lancer should be. It’s fitting to the power and the way the car handles. It’s a nice combination of sport and comfort. Cornering is a great deal of fun in the Lancer as the body roll is kept to a minimum and car seems to really love a good corner.
As in most cases, what it all comes down to is the price of the car and if it provides the level of performance, styling, safety etc. that one may be looking for. While the answer to that is purely subjective, one thing is not. The price. The GT’s baseline price is $21,595 but by the time you tack on the $5k “touring package” (yes, you will want this package), we’re now up to $26,745. At that price, it starts to compete with other cars that may lure you away. It’s hard to tell. The best way, as always, is to get out and test drive a Lancer GT today and see if it’s right for you.
Until then, we’ll keep enjoying the products that Mitsubishi kicks out and have a lot of fun driving them!