The Mitsubishi Lancer has had strong competition from such head turning, same-class current rivals as the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Mazda 3. Did the Japanese vehicle however get lost in the mix? Some might say, ahh…maybe. But hold the phone! The latest Lancer is hanging in there and ready to do battle with the best of them.
The refreshed 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer has definitely got it going on in the looks department—bolder lines/more sculpted build quality, new front fascia, chrome accents, wider, lower stance and sleeker headlights. Sporty is the descriptive word that can be used when eyeing the made-in-Japan sedan.
The Lancer offers impressive interior room for a compact. There is a surprisingly ample amount of interior leg and headroom in the front of the vehicle and in the rear as well. As a matter of fact, a six-footer can very well sit quite comfortably in the rear. Seating all around in the Lancer is nicely bolstered and offers first-rate lumbar support. It is pretty plain to see that function over form was the equation used for the overall look of the Lancer’s innards, not a bad thing but hard plastics tend to be a little unexciting. The five-seater has been allocated a revamped front center console with a built-in USB port, a new multimedia system and improved trim materials. The graphics on the Lancer’s available color LCD multi-information display is vivid, so no squinting is involved when checking the outside temp, fuel level, average fuel consumption and other particulars. Mitsubishi’s hands-free voice-activated Fuse system makes it possible to control the audio and available navigation system and it absolutely did not frustrate. As far as truck space, the Lancer offers a mediocre 12.3 cubic feet. If you spring for the performance-oriented GT featuring the Rockford Fosgate premium audio with 750 watts and 9 Surround Sound speakers, the trunk space whittles down further to 11.8 cubes because of the subwoofer. But hey, the vehicle’s smaller trunk space turns into a non-issue when the car’s 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold down for added cargo-carrying capabilities.
There are four trim levels within the Lancer lineup–ES, SE, SEL and GT. The ES has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a CVT is optional. The remaining Lancer trims come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (optional on the ES) that crank out 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. The test vehicle, the SEL delivered a confident and secure ride quality. The Lancer All-Wheel Control (AWC) is one of the few vehicles in its class that offers a selectable AWD system. During an icy storm in the northeast, the sedan’s electronics did an outstanding job at finding its traction. Steering feel in the Lancer was also nicely weighted. Now as far as acceleration, the Lancer will not win any red light drag races but it won’t make you curse your Mitsu dealer when trying to merge onto a highway. At the pumps, the Lancer has been given an EPA guesstimate of 23 city/31 highway/26 combined. All in all, sitting behind the wheel of a Lancer SEL went a little past the midway point of a fun factor meter which ain’t half bad.
As far as safety in government crash testing, the Lancer was awarded a not too shabby four out of five stars for overall crashworthiness, including four stars for frontal protection and four stars for side protection. Standard safety features on all Lancers include front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes are offered across all trims. A rearview camera is standard on all Lancers except for the entry level ES.
It is tough to stand out in this competitive marketplace in the compact category but Mitsubishi is making some strong moves with the 2016 Lancer. It is an appealing option for any consumer, regardless of his or her budget–roomy, safe, comfy with nod-worthy traction. The Lancer is definitely worth a look and most definitely, worth a test drive.
Prices start at $17,595. Need more info? www.Mitsubishicars.com