Monday, June 11, 2007

Brand New Mitsubishi Lancer!!!

Brand New Lancer Big Improvement

After spending the 2007 model year on hiatus, the Mitsubishi Lancer is back. Engineers for the ailing Japanese manufacturer took last year to create a completely new Lancer with hopes to turn around lackluster U.S. sales. This redesigned version is offered in three trim levels, the DE, ES, and the sport-tuned GTS. The base level DE version starts at $14,615.00, while the GTS tester I had came to $22,615.00. All come standard with an inline 4 cylinder and get the option of a five-speed manual transmission or CVT. Conspicuously missing is the Evolution X trim level. This high performance favorite of sport-compact enthusiasts will return next year.

The standard Lancer engine is a MIVEC DOHC 2.0-liter inline four cylinder. Most states get the standard version, which churns out a less than earth shattering 152 horsepower. If you happen to live in California, in addition to paparazzi induced traffic jams and constant media coverage of Paris Hilton, you’ll also be getting robbed of another nine horsepower. Yep, the emissions friendly version makes 143 horsepower. My tester came with the optional CVT transmission, which because of its lack of horsepower, felt as though it had inadvertently slipped back into neutral. In short, this car needs more power.

Okay, enough of the negative talk. Outside of the Lancer’s lack of power, this is a really fun car to drive. The sport-tuned suspension features a Macpherson strut/ rear multi-link setup. Driving the Lancer over rough city streets, the firm suspension provides surprisingly good ride quality. What’s more, under high speed cornering, it is smooth, predictable, and quite stable in transitions. That, coupled with impressive brakes, make the GTS’s handling a superb bridge between the entry-level DE and what has historically been bone jarring Evolution X suspension.

The look inside and out of the new Lancer is a hit. This is a car that was in desperate need of restyling. The 2006 Evolution I had last year looked so dated I could have sworn it came straight from the mid-nineties. It now features a prominent front end, great wheels, and a wing, that while sporty, won’t scare small aircraft flying overhead. Inside, the Lancer is easy to operate and is extremely well appointed for the price. My tester came with the Rockford Fosgate audio with subwoofer and navigation system. This is the first time I’ve seen a tester under $23,000.00 that included these features. Additionally, seating in the GTS features unusually good lateral support.

Add another 25 horsepower and this is one of the best values on the market.

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