The original Mitsubishi Lancer never exactly blew us away. It was underpowered and not particularly entertaining to drive, its interior was simply OK and its styling was dull to boot. The second-generation Lancer has corrected two of those problems, especially with its aggressive new styling featuring a "shark nose" fascia. It's also kind of fun to drive, thanks to solid handling dynamics and (apart from the base engine) peppy engine choices.
All in all, count the Lancer as one model that has greatly improved from generation to generation. However, compared to more recently redesigned compact sedans, the Lancer's refinement, interior quality and fuel economy trail considerably. While the latest Lancer is an attractive, sporty sedan, we suggest thoroughly looking around at its many competitors.
Current Mitsubishi Lancer
Mitsubishi's stylish compact sedan is offered in DE, ES, SE, GT and Ralliart trims. The Sportback body style and high-performance Evolution are reviewed separately.
The two lower trims are front-wheel drive and powered by a 148-horsepower (143 hp in California-emissions-level states) inline-4. The all-wheel-drive SE and front-wheel-drive GT get a 2.4-liter 168-hp four. Should that not be enough, there is the Ralliart, which offers a 237-hp turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all but the Ralliart, while Mitsubishi's continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional (except on Ralliart). The Ralliart comes with a quick-witted automated-clutch manual transmission.
In reviews of the Mitsubishi Lancer, we've been impressed with its secure handling, sporty styling and high-tech optional features. The Rockford Fosgate hard-drive-equipped audio system drew particularly high praise. On the downside, we've found the Lancer's base four-cylinder rather lacking in both power and refinement, and the CVT does nothing to help the situation -- in fact, we feel it saps power from the engine. We would therefore suggest sticking with the five-speed manual transmission or going with a GT, though fuel economy isn't impressive with any model. The Lancer's cabin also falls short of the segment leaders in terms of materials quality and lacks a telescoping steering wheel, which makes the car uncomfortable for many tall drivers.
Read the most recent 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mitsubishi Lancer page.