The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer is one of the least-new new cars on the market. The basic structure and design entered the market back in early 2007 as a 2008 model. That's a full decade ago...back when Barack Obama was an obscure junior Senator from Illinois, Donald Trump was still a reality/game show host and a few months before Steve Jobs allowed the first iPhone sales. It was a different world back then, and the Lancer feels like it was built for that long-gone past.
Last year Mitsubishi updated the Lancer's appearance, retuned the optional continuously variable transmission and added a couple more standard features. For 2017 the changes aren't earth-shaking. The 6.1-inch touchscreen at the top of the dashboard center stack is now a standard item and among the things it will display is the newly standard rearview camera. Those are more in keeping with the competition additions than true market advantages.
One market advantage the Lancer does have is all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive was part of what made the beloved, awesome performing, and now out-of-production Lancer Evolution models so spectacular. It's currently offered on three of the four versions of the Lancer itself.
At the base of the Lancer pyramid is the 2.0 ES powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated a pokey 148 horsepower backed by a standard five-speed manual transmission. From there it's a climb up through the 2.4 ES AWC, 2.4 SE AWC and 2.4 SEL AWC, which all feature a 2.4-liter four wheezing out 168 hp that feeds through the CVT automatic and out to the all-wheel-drive system.
Ten years may as well be 10,000 in the competitive compact car market, where Mitsubishi's American, Japanese and Korean competitors have been shoving new designs onto the market at a furious rate. Compared to those newer products, the Lancer feels crude to the touch, sounds raucous to the ear and flat-out isn't very quick. There are better choices, even if there are few cheaper ones.
According to the EPA ratings, the fuel-stingiest Lancer is the stripped SE with the CVT rated at 30 mpg combined (27 city/34 highway). The all-wheel-drive models are all rated at 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway). Those are all numbers beaten by other players in this market segment.
If you're going to buy a Mitsubishi Lancer, use the tools here on Edmunds to at least get a great deal from a great dealer.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.