2006 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 2.4 Mivec petrol from Australia and New Zealand
Another solid Mitsubishi, only let down by the lack of attention to detail
Leaking water pump replaced, along with routine cam timing belt replacement. Cost $1250.00 in total (including belts).
Electronic throttle control actuator has a mind of its own. Has dead spots on acceleration. Have seen many Lancer CH owners complain about this problem on forums. Standing starts result in the car jumping forward after a brief moment of retardation (exactly like a turbo lag experienced in some diesels). Experience has reduced the severity of the surge to an extent by experimenting with the throttle. However, I'm concerned that the sudden surge in power and torque would slip the clutch and lead to premature wear. It doesn't help that Lancers have relatively weak clutches (noted especially by Evo VIII and IX owners).
Gearbox is notchy and sometimes needs an old school double clutch action or rev changes for smooth shifting.
Other than the annoyances listed, the car is rock solid and that is the sole reason for the purchase.
My only favourite part of the car has to be the engine. The 2.4 litre unit is lovely and sounds great. I often drive with the windows down just to listen to the purring of the engine. Acceleration, apart from the throttle playing up, is a treat.
Mitsubishi being lazy, as they always are, haven't put in an appropriate gearbox for the size of the engine. The gearing is way too low for the car, resulting in high fuel consumption on highways (I'm not sure, but I think it's the same unit from the 2 litre predecessor). In the city it's just as good as any other car. A sixth gear or a taller fifth gear would have been fantastic. Revving the engine at over 3000 RPM on a highway doing 110km/h is a waste of fuel, specially here in Australia where it's solely flat roads. On the other hand, driving uphill is a breeze due to the short gearing and high torque engine.
The experience is let down by the tasteless steering. I cannot address the suspension issues, as these need replacing and I would see this more as a routine replacement than a fault of the car.
What annoys me the most is the lack of detail by Mitsubishi. This Lancer has the same problems that my previous Lancer, which was over 15 years old, had. First is the speedometer, which is out by 10%. At highway speeds, this translates to an error of 10km/h or more. The fuel gauge is also inaccurate, as seen with my previous Lancer, and also on my dad’s Triton. Of course not to mention, road noise.
All in all, it’s another Mitsubishi that is built tough, but not refined over the years. If not addressed, these problems will eventually see Mitsubishi out of the passenger car segment, especially now that the Koreans are building cars better than they used to. A good comparison is my partner's new Holden Cruze CDX. It's full of gadgets and drives great.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 5th January, 2013