Mitsubishi has gone through some tough times in the American automotive market the last few years. The vehicles they sell are good products, but there are only a few models and new products have been slow in coming.
The cornerstone for the brand is the Mitsubishi Lancer family, which comes in three variations: Lancer sedan, Lancer Sportback (a five-door hatchback) and the high performance Lancer Evolution. We sampled the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE 2.4L AWC (all-wheel control) a few weeks ago and while the design is somewhat dated, it is still impressive and a good value.
The Lancer sedan is available in four trim levels: ES, SE GT and Ralliart. The ES has a 148-hp 2.0-liter four cylinder engine, the SE and GT models use a 168-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and the Ralliart has a 237-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual is standard on the EX and SE with an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Ralliart uses a quick shifting six-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2.4-liter engine in our test vehicle has good power, but it tends to be a little on the noisy side. We are not normally crazy about a CVT, but they do a good job of boosting fuel economy. They work especially well for the average driver who?s not concerned about using the transmission for better control ? in other words, a driver that puts the transmission in ?D? and drives. The upper level Lancer GT has steering wheel mounted shift paddle shifters as an option but they are standard on the Ralliart.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE AWC has respectable performance making a 0 to 60 mph run in 7.7 seconds, which makes it one of the quicker naturally aspirated cars in this class. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. Our average during a week of mixed driving was 24.7 mpg.
Mitsubishi has been a master of all-wheel drive systems, which they have developed for the Lancer Evolution ? a high performance rally-style car and the SE AWC gets the benefit of a simplified version of that technology.
All the 2014 Lancers are equipped with seven airbags and a range of electronic safety technologies including anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL); and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Changes made to the 2014 SE AWC model we drove included a new 6.1-inch touch screen display audio system, with updated HD and SiriusXM satellite radio systems. There?s a new standard rearview camera, too, on all but the ES models. The SE AWC also has upgrade seating fabrics and a new five spoke 16-inch alloy wheel design.
Lancer sedan pricing starts as low as $17,990, including destination charge, for the Lancer ES with five-speed manual transmission. The CVT adds $900. The SE AWC with CVT we tested is priced at $21,490 making it one of the lower priced all-wheel drive cars sold in the U.S. The top model a very well equipped Ralliart has a base price of $29,190.
As people who drive for enjoyment, our choice of the Mitsubishi Lancer models would certainly be the turbocharged Ralliart which has standard AWC. Turbocharging is a marvelous thing, too, propelling it from 0 to 60 in just 5.8 seconds. That combined with sportier underpinnings make the Ralliart a blast to drive.
We also enjoyed the SE model. It?s has a nice agile feeling with peppy acceleration. The Lancer is no head-turner, but it is attractive, with simple clean lines and a distinctive grill that proclaims it?s a Mitsubishi. The interior is simple and functional — a nice atmosphere without a lot of unnecessary gadgetry and alien looking lines like many of its competitors.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE AWC is a very good car in a market filled with some very tough competitors, but it does its job well and provides the buyer with a very good value. We are looking forward to seeing some new products from Mitsubishi in the near future.