Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
List price range
2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

Pros

  • Practical hatchback body style
  • competent handling
  • high-tech equipment.

Cons

  • Power-sapping CVT
  • weak, noisy base engine
  • lackluster interior materials
  • no telescoping steering wheel.
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback years
2012

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is a fairly sporty hatchback, but it doesn't deliver when it comes to refinement or fuel economy.

vehicle overview

Like many manufacturers, Mitsubishi reckons having a little fun in your practical everyday car is a good thing. Based on the Lancer sedan, the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback expands on that notion with its hatchback design, offering additional cargo capacity over the sedan. Aggressively styled with its chiseled body and available cosmetic upgrades, the Lancer Sportback looks as if it came straight from Europe -- which it originally did.

Sadly, there's little actual performance to back up those sporty looks this year, as the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Ralliart version has been dropped for 2012. What remains is a competent hatchback but not much else. While the car's handling is better than average and its features list is fairly comprehensive, it's letdown by a sluggish continuously variable transmission (CVT), unremarkable fuel economy, substandard interior materials and limited actual cargo capacity due to the car's raked rear window.

As such, we think most buyers will be happier with a competing small hatchback. Compared to models such as the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza or Volkswagen Golf, the Lancer typically comes up short in terms of cargo capacity, fuel economy and performance.

Unfortunately for Mitsubishi, small hatchbacks are better than ever, and the 2012 Lancer Sportback has been left near the back of the pack.

Trim levels & features

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is available in ES and GT trim levels.

The base ES comes with 16-inch steel wheels, front disc and rear drum brakes, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, full power accessories, a trip computer, a 60/40-split rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack.

The GT gains a more powerful engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, foglamps, a sport-tuned suspension, aero-style bodywork pieces, keyless entry/ignition, automatic climate control, sport front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles, Bluetooth, the Fuse voice-activation system and a six-speaker sound system with a USB/iPod interface.

Many GT features are also available on the ES as stand-alone options or as part of bundled packages. A Touring package is available for the GT and features a sunroof, automatic wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights, leather seats, heated front seats, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system (with an in-dash six-CD changer and satellite radio) and a rearview camera in the rearview mirror. Also optional on both trims is a navigation system with digital music storage and a rearview camera in the display.

2012 Highlights

For the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback, the high-performance Ralliart trim level has been retired. The GTS is also gone, though it's been effectively replaced by the GT.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback ES is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The GT upgrades to a 2.4-liter four that makes 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. A CVT and front-wheel drive are standard for both engines. The CVT features simulated gear ratios that can be operated via the GT's shift paddles. There is no manual transmission for 2012. The Lancer ES achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. The GT earns 22 city/29 highway and 25 combined.

Safety

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback comes standard with front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and stability control. Antilock brakes are also standard, with four-wheel disc brakes on the GT and rear drums for the ES. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Lancer Sportback its highest rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Driving

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback ES's 148-hp output makes it just fine for the daily commuter but will probably disappoint drivers with more spirited leanings. The GT model is an enticing choice for buyers on a budget who are looking for more performance than in the typical economy car. Its 2.4-liter engine has adequate low-end power and a smooth, willing nature, as well as unusually sharp handling for this class.

Interior

While the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer's chiseled exterior lends an air of aggression, its interior design and materials tend to drag down the vehicle's overall appeal. On the whole, the cabin design is a bit uninspiring, and is rife with hard plastic elements. Taller drivers will likely bemoan the lack of a telescoping steering wheel and the lack of under-thigh support.

The rear seats are quite comfortable, with a generous amount of legroom. The 60/40-split seats fold flat to accommodate bulky items, expanding the 13.8 cubic feet of storage to a maximum of either 46.6 cubic feet with the rear cargo floor in place or 52.7 cubes with it removed.

The clumsy operation of the touchscreen navigation unit looks to have been remedied by Mitsubishi's Fuse voice activation system. Much as with Ford's Sync system, selecting a destination or choosing your favorite music is only a voice command away. Fuse is not quite as sophisticated as Sync and lacks a few of the latter's features and voice commands, but we still prefer it to the tricky layout of the touchscreen.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Bang for the Buck
mitsu12,02/10/2012
I wish that Edmunds would have been fair on the review of the Lancer GT Sportback. Maybe they can explain why no Data is shown for performance times and braking distances. While I do agree that the CVT Trans feels different, why don't we let the performance numbers do the talking. If you want the vehicle to feel like a normal transmission just use the auto stick or the paddles and you will feel right at home. The car rides firm but smooth, the brakes are excellant, the back seat room destroys the competition, the cargo area with the rear seats down is class leading. Warranty is GREAT and the number one reason to buy a GT is of course its great looks!!! and you won't see one at every light
Underrated
CC,06/03/2017
Very unique appearance. You will almost never see another one. Has been the most dependable car I've ever owned. I've done nothing but routine maintenance. Driven 107k miles in less than 4 years. Great handling, but needs more horsepower (148HP I think). Not a fan of the CVT transmission, but acceptable once you get used to it. If you want extremely dependable transportation with unique looks at a great price, this is a good candidate. Sucks that the resale value is weak though. I can't understand why. I'm more than satisfied with mine.
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Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
148 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
168 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback features & specs
More about the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Overview

The Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is offered in the following submodels: Lancer Sportback Hatchback. Available styles include ES 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl CVT), and GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl CVT).

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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