Reliable, stylish and great features, but be warned about the paint
OK, so the biggest issue I've had with the vehicle so far is the paint... and believe me, it's not uncommon for these types of Lancers at least. I've been on enough threads and spoken to other Lancer owners, and it's pretty much a general consensus that the quality is poor. It chips and scratches very easily. The skirt package my car came with flares out right near the rear wheels, and that portion of it is almost white, as if it had been sand-blasted because of all the stone chips. A couple of stone chips on the roof are starting to show signs of rust. If it makes a difference, the colour of my Lancer is Octane Blue.
The AM on my radio doesn't work anymore. It stopped functioning at around 110,000 kms. Supposedly another fairly common issue with these Lancers.
E-brake has been squeaking for some time when it is engaged. Don't know what the problem is, but it doesn't bother me.
The leather on the driver's side is wearing away a bit from sliding in and out of the vehicle.
I live in Canada, so I change tires in the winter. If you're the same, then you're going to run into this issue I'm about to explain. For me it's not a big deal, but opinions differ. The stock rims and tires come with a device called a "tire pressure monitoring system" or TPMS for short. This system is in place to let you know if you have low or no pressure in your tires, and thusly will notify you on your dash display. So when I remove the stock tires, and I throw on the steels for winter, the vehicle now thinks there's an issue with my tire pressure, and a yellow display comes up on my dash. You can clear the display of the message by pressing the display button, but there's always a small lit up tire icon. And the display will come back every time you start the car or open the door. Now the solution to this is to buy a second set of TMPS for your winters, but they're not cheap, and you have to have them programmed to your car, and every time you switch tires, they pretty much have to reprogram the computer for the other set of TMPS. So my solution is to just ignore the message on my display, for the winter time that is.
So other than the paint being a major issue, (but really minor, 'cause the car still works perfectly, regardless of the looks) I really love my Lancer!
It has a very sharp and aggressive look to it, and gets plenty of attention. I've actually noticed that Chevrolet stole some design ideas from the Lancer for its Sonic model. Specifically the front end. Google both vehicles and compare them... it's a shame that Chevy can't be as original as Mitsubishi. I don't blame them I guess, nobody was buying their vehicles anyways... that's why they needed a multi-billion dollar bail-out. "Oh what?!? You're not going to buy our vehicles... well we'll just take your money anyways, just in a different way". OK, I'm getting side tracked here.
The 650 watt Rockford Fosgate system the car came with is perfect. It's not crazy "bassy" or anything, but it has a nice punch to it. The fact that Mitsu was able to nicely stow away a 10" sub in the trunk without sacrificing the whole thing is genius. The only thing about the system that could be an issue for some is the head unit. It's seemingly difficult to remove if you wanted to upgrade it, and the aftermarket harness/bezel you have to buy to replace it comes with 2 vents, because they're part of the original HU...
The 168 hp 2.4L DOHC engine is fairly adequate for power. I think the power could have been distributed among the gear ratios a little better. There's way too much power in 1st gear. Very easy to chirp and/or hop the tires if the accelerator is pressed too much. Previous to owning this Lancer, I owned a legendary 1999 Honda Civic SiR (that's Si for you Americans). It came stock with 160 hp on a 1.6 L DOHC VTEC. Man do I miss that car/engine. So as far as having something to compare my Lancer to, that's all I have, and I would say the Civic would kick the Lancer's ass. Nonetheless, I still think the car has plenty pep to it.
The Lancer get's fairly good fuel mileage. I average around 600-700 kms per tank. It comes with a 59 litre tank, that costs roughly $50-70, depending on the grade of fuel I choose to use, and the cost that day.
The car seems very spacious for a mid-sized sedan. I'm 198 cm/6'6" and I fit very well into the car. In fact, it's the first car I've driven that I can't have the seat all the way back to drive. I can reach the pedals fine, but shifting is a little more difficult, so it's usually a few notches up from being maxed out.
As far as features go, it's got pretty much anything you'd want in a sporty, mid-sized sedan. Leather, heated seats, A/C, sunroof, 650 watt system, Bluetooth, equipped for satellite radio, stylish spoiler, RCA audio input, 2 electrical inputs. I also like the orangey/red colour scheme they used for the dash lights.
So overall I would give this car an 8/10. Losing some points for the paint issue, the TPMS debacle, and the slight lack in power. It's a very reliable vehicle, one of very few to still be built by reliable hands in Japan and shipped here to North America. The styling is great, and I love all the looks, attention and comments I get. Great features, and I would definitely consider buying another Lancer/Mitsubishi product!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st October, 2012