Good for the money, with just a couple of things that show it's built down to a price
On delivery, the front wheel alignment was out, so the car pulled to one side. Not really a fault of the car, but more a pre-delivery issue, and was fixed by the dealer as soon as I brought it back.
Basically nothing has gone wrong with the car since I bought it, and I have had no warranty issues.
The paint chips easily, and I have found this is common with this model.
Great car for the price. Straight away, from the first day I owned it, I was impressed by the solid feel of the body. The only things that let it down are the interior plastics that are hard-surfaced and easily marked, and the exterior paint that chips so easily. These are the only things that suggest the car is "built down to a price." Apart from that, it looks good, both inside and outside, and is comfortable to drive. It could, however, use a little more soundproofing, but my 2011 model SX Sportback is quieter than a 2007 model VR-X sedan my son bought when the model was first released here in Australia. Driving that car was part of the reason I decided on a Lancer myself when I wanted to update.
The roadholding and road adhesion are excellent, but the car benefits from having the tyres pumped up harder than the 32 PSI the handbook recommends. A tyre dealer recommended I run them at 38 PSI, and I found that the car points better and feels more agile with that pressure in them. At 32 PSI the suspension feels slightly underdamped, like the shocks are too soft, but when the tyres are pumped up harder, it seems to get everything in sync and the car drives much better.
The driver's seat is comfortable, but would benefit from a height adjustment. I've had two Kia Rio's in the past that were dirt cheap, but they still had adjustable height for the driver's seat. Apart from that, the driving position is great.
Fuel consumption is another good point with the Lancer. Over the first six months I owned mine, I found I was averaging 7.7 litres per 100km, including driving around town and a few long trips. That figure sounded too good, so I double-checked my figures and found that they were correct. The low fuel consumption and fixed servicing costs make it a very affordable car to run. Also, apart from the front end alignment issue, in two years and 40,000 km (about 25,000 miles), my Lancer has not been back to the dealer for warranty issues at all. Literally, nothing has gone wrong with it.
The owner's handbook is the thickest I have ever seen in a car, but the instructions to match your phone to the Bluetooth don't seem to make sense. Maybe it's just me, but I had to get my daughter's fiancé to program it, and he said he didn't do it the way the book says.
One last thing, the interior room is okay, but the boot space is far from brilliant. Mine is a hatchback, but even the sedans have a small boot. BTW, if you're reading this in the US, that's what we call the trunk here.
Overall, an excellent little car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th March, 2013