Mitsubishi's new LX Lancer.
Mitsubishi's new LX Lancer.

Mitsubishi Lancer sedan drives a hard bargain on road test

I DON'T know about you but I can't resist a bargain.

Whether its two packets of chips for the price of one at the supermarket or 70% off the latest fashion fancy I'm you girl.

I'd even pop off to Bunnings for a packet of washers if they were throwing the sausage sizzle in for free.

Shake your heads if you will but tell me you don't love junk-mail days, grabbing the pile of catalogues with glee almost salivating at the treasures that lie within.

It is this innate search for a good deal that Mitsubishi is banking on with their freshened up Lancer line-up. There are new features as standard across the range including Bluetooth connectivity, an entry price of less than $20,000 and the addition of the LX mid-spec model.

Comfort

The Lancer is certainly more spacious than it looks from the outside. Knee room in the back is commendable but it is still an area better suited for younger kids and smaller teens.

Leather seats - a powered one for the driver - are cushioned and supportive even on longer trips while there are obvious updates to the interior including a colour touch-screen and a pepped up instrument panel.

The steering wheel is nice and chunky to the touch but adjustable for rake only although to be honest it doesn't detract too much from finding that optimal driving position. Car-seat anchors are behind the headrest, are easy to get to and secure.

The boot is more than adequate for the weekly shop but a narrow lip may see you battling with really bulky items.

On the road

Our LX's 2.0-litre CVT set-up did the sedan proud in most driving conditions. It doesn't give you that surge in the tummy but it is a confident performer with good balance and adequate acceleration. The steering behaves well but there is not much feedback and high-grade safety features stop you from pushing the Lancer too close to the line.

It can be a bit noisy and you do feel the occasional bump but overall it is an uneventful comfortable ride. The brakes are great and so is the acceleration from take-off.

What do you get?

Value-packed inclusions seem to be the brief here with our mid-spec model equipped with 16-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, reverse camera with rear parking sensors, leather trim, heated seats, climate control and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity with steering-mounted controls.

Lancers also come with a full suite of safety features including seven airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist as well as stability and traction control.

Other contenders

The Lancer sits mid-table in a field that includes the Mazda3 (from $20,330), the Toyota Corolla (from $20,990), Hyundai i30 (from $20,990), Ford Focus (from $20,290) and Holden Cruze (from $21,490).

Practicality

The interior could do with a couple more storage places for those inevitable "must-haves" which accompany every trip.

Vision is good, aided by reverse sensors and camera and the turning circle is excellent. Wide opening doors make it easy to enter and leave the vehicle especially if you are loading littlies.

Running costs

The Lancer is one of a select few cars we have driven which has stuck close to the manufacturer's official fuel figures of 7.3 litres/100km. We didn't use much more than that even with a number of shorter trips.
It is backed by Mitsubishi's five-year/130,00km warranty with free roadside assist for 12 months and fixed-price servicing for four years.

Funky factor

The Lancer's heavily sculptured nose, definite lines and nicely slanted lights and side air dams continue to give it a distinctive look. But even with the new chrome touches to the grille, boot and handles it is starting to look a tad dated.

The lowdown

It is hardly surprising that the Lancer has been such a success story for Mitsubishi. Its strength comes from the sum of its parts - a quiet achiever that disarms with value.

With a great warranty and capped price servicing in the mix, the Lancer has been underrated by the buying public in recent times.

What matters most
The good stuff: Ease of use, reverse camera as standard.
What we'd like to see: More storage and a bit more grunt.
Warranty and servicing: Five-year/130,000km warranty. Servicing is 12 months or 15,000km (whichever occurs first) with prices capped at $250.

Vital statistics
Model: Mitsubishi Lancer LX.
Details: Four-door front-wheel drive sedan.
Transmission: Six-speed auto or five-speed manual
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol generating maximum power of 110kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 197Nm at 4200rpm.
Consumption: 7.3 litres/100km (6.9 litres manual) combined average.
CO2: 168g/km (162g/km manual).
Bottom line: From $23,990.


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