2002 Mitsubishi Lancer O-Z Rally 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Great car. Hands down. I bought mine in 2005 for 13k and it had 36,000 miles, paid it off in 2008. Here it is 2015 and she has 226,868 miles now. Still running like a champ. Regular routine maintenance, clutch went out at 210k and that's the only major issue. Great car
2002 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I bought a used '02 Lancer ES in 2005 for $8k. It already had almost 100k miles on it and had evidently seen some use, as there was wear on both the steering wheel and headrests. I was looking for something to drive for a couple of years and then trade up. I am so grateful I didn't get around to carrying out that plan before the crash in 2008, because after that I was stuck with every item of value I already had due to not being able to buy new ones. My Lancer came through for me in a big way! I hardly did any maintenance on it at all, spent the bare minimum, yet it lasted me until 2014 and I racked up almost 250,000 miles on it. Towards the end things started breaking and that was why I ended up selling it - if I had been able to afford the new clutch it needed, I would probably still be driving it.
Things I loved about my Lancer:
Gas mileage! I was getting 33 mpg in mixed driving, I swear to god. Roomy and versatile - I used it to haul firewood, used it to move with (crammed all kinds of furniture into it), drove down dirt roads, up mountains and on freeways, spent inordinate amounts of time traveling in it, and plenty of time with the seat reclined taking naps at rest stops. Ease of driving - the clutch pedal is very light and took a minute to get used to, but once I adjusted to that it was easy to drive, very forgiving. Road feel was good, handled well, and a great turning radius. Safety - as much time as I spent on the road (I travel for my job) I had to make several panic stops and the car did great, kept me safe and unharmed. Bells and whistles - the Lancer had exactly the right combination of conveniences and simplicity for my taste. It had electric windows and mirror adjustments (not bad for a base model), a/c that worked great, a decent stereo with CD player, but none of the more fancy features such as headlights that turn themselves on and off, bluetooth, etc. that I personally have no use for anyway and find aggravating. Ergonomics - the seat adjusts in several directions and the steering wheel adjusts as well. Everything is within reach and convenient. The seats recline all the way back for those rest stop naps. My only complaint is the resistance on the heat/cold adjustment knob - it was a bit tight and the knob eventually broke. Power - for a little econo-sedan, it actually had a reasonable amount of get-up-and-go, and I could pull away from stop lights quickly if I needed to, pass people, and keep up with people in bigger cars when needed. I had it up above 100 mph on more than one occasion, although I wasn't really comfortable taking it much above that. Value - let's face it, these cars don't hold a lot of value but that means you can pick up a used one cheap like I did. Expenditure-wise, mostly all I ever did was put gas and oil in it, brakes a couple of times, timing belt at 150k, and some new tires every couple of years. I think I had to buy a set of windshield wipers once. Towards the end, it needed more done to it but it was up over 200,000 miles by that point.
2002 Mitsubishi Lancer O-Z Rally 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
To be a successful economy car, the vehicle in question has to have two things going for it; reliability and fuel economy. With that said, the Lancer is by far the best car I've ever owned. It's been reliable as a rock and the engine can take a serious beating. It'll get 26 miles per gallon with your foot welded to the floor, and 35 while driving Miss Daisy across the country. Need I say more? Why not. On top of those things, it's also roomy, comfortable, the stereo sounds great, the A/C will freeze your hands off and the heater makes Hell seem cold. I took this car on a 3,500 mile journey across the country and it didn't give me any trouble. A bold claim for a 12 year old 165k mile car.
The clutch takes awhile to get used to but once you do, shifting is a joy. The rally style long throw shifter makes driving around town an enjoyable experience. The stereo sounds great, a common feature on a lot of Mitsubishis. The interior build quality is also fantastic. The entire dash is padded and hard plastics are kept to a minimum, a rare trait for the market and era which the car was built. Squeaks and rattles are non existent, and I've yet to have to replace any of the window motors/ power locks. The exterior has admirably conservative styling. It's nice to look at, but you can also be taken seriously when you step out of it. Big enough to be roomy but small enough to be a city car.
The engine isn't a record breaker, but as an economy car that's to be expected. The engine has 120 horsepower, but 100 horses are taken by the air conditioner, seriously. It takes all the power from an engine that already didn't have any to spare. This is barely noticeable when sitting in traffic but you'll need to be shifting at 4000 RPM if you're trying to merge onto the highway at a standstill which can be irritating when you live in a very hot and humid climate such as myself. Engine and wind noise is also apparent at highway speeds, partly due to the car cruising at 3000 RPM at 75 with the A/C on full blast. Also, the bulbs behind the instrument cluster are beginning to fail due to age.
2002 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
This car is overall an amazing car. We bought it in 2004 with 58k on the odometer. We used it for trips and put a heavily amount of miles on the car. This car has lasted us a long while until the radiator busted a hole due to the fan going out. The car had too many miles on it to even bother putting money into it but the car now has 275k on the odometer last time we looked and has lasted a very long while. We've put a few dings and bruises on the car due to a dog jumping out in front of us and a go kart smashing into the side of it but it still went. It's protected us in many other situations too. I would recommend this car for anyone. We are looking for another one. Best car we ever owned!