Performance: There are five trim levels and two engines to choose from. Standard ES comes with a 2-liter four-cylinder producing 148hp. The ES, SE and SEL trims come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder pumping out 168hp and only all-wheel-drive can be had with it that engine. We’d say it’s best to avoid the 2-liter engine and go right for the 2.4 which seems to be the better value of the Lancer range.
On the road: The Lancer is very entertaining to drive as long as you stick with the SE or SEL trims. Both make the Lancer feel as engaging to drive as it's keen rivals the Ford Focus and Mazda3. However it isn't as sharp or posh as both; steering feel is decent and overall response of the 2.4 makes it well worth spending the extra cash for. The CVT transmission feels like it saps the engine power leaving you cold when you need it most and overpowering when you don't need it. Disappointingly the 2.4 does not offer a manual transmission. Wind and road noise are at acceptable levels.
Behind the wheel: There's plenty of adjustments for the driver's seat but sadly the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach. Interior quality doesn't feel up to par with it's competition. The touch screen display feels dated and not as refined as we would like. Passenger space all round is decent and the boot offers enough space to satisfy most buyers needs.
Equipment: Standard ES trim offers keyless entry with anti-theft security system, cd-player power windows and an AUX input for your MP3 player. ES AWC offers heated front seats, digital HD radio and electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. SE trim adds 18 inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler and Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phone. Range topping SEL adds rain sensing windshield wipers, leather seating surfaces and auto headlights.
Buying & Owning: The standard Lancer seems like a good deal but we highly suggest going for the GT with the sporty looks and added features such as touch screen display and 18 inch alloy wheels. The premium isn't too much and overall impressions of it are good. Running costs should be about average among its competition but resale value is something to consider.
Quality: Mitsubishi has good quality cars. Reliability isn't going to be much of an issue. Only real issue here is locating a Mitsubishi dealership for repairs if you do come across such a problem. Interior quality isn't great although it does feel sturdy and long lasting. There are rivals that offer the best of both worlds and you really don't have to pick between the two.
Safety: Front and side curtain airbags come standard. As well as a traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution to help reduce braking distance in the case of an emergancy braking situation. Also a host of anti-theft aids come standard to keep theft away.
The Lancer is an attractive sedan that is often over looked by competition. It does offer an compelling package and is priced right with the heavy hitters such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. However the styling inside out is dated and there's quite a few short comings with the Lancer that others seem to have mastered. If you want the Lancer for it's generous kit and reasonable price then this is the car for you. However keen rivals have all passed it by and it seems that the only logical reason to buy one is for the discounts.
Likes: Stylish exterior looks. Standard kit is generous with all-wheel-drive offered at a competitive price.
Dislikes: Lancer is getting discontinued this year. We thought it was going to go out with a bigger bang.
Devon's pick: The SEL won’t be as expensive as the price suggests given that the Lancer is being phased out. You should get one with a nice discount. Plus all-wheel-drive makes it even more enticing option.