2002 Mitsubishi Lancer 4-door Sedan LS (381)


This week we’re looking at the 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer 4-door Sedan LS, and I have to tell you this is a sweet little car. It’s considered a compact but a bigger feel even though only 4 inches longer than the Mirage, which it will likely replace.

Since I drive so many cars I go mostly from overall first impression feel just as you would do when you test-drive a car. As you can imagine most cars today have all the same high technology knowledge and components are relatively inexpensive. Therefore, when you buy a car, demand it has all the bells and whistles because manufacturers are smarter to give them all and not have options. This is getting more common but still not the absolute norm.

General Info:

Parts – 97% Japan

Assembly – Kurashiki, Japan

Class: Compact

Mitsubishi Cars: Diamante, Eclipse, Galant, Lancer, Mirage, Montero and Montero Sport.


Handling & Performance:

I slipped right into this car and hit the road running. All controls are smooth albeit the steering is a little light. You’re not going to enter any road races, but you can drive to any of them comfortably and economically. If you like the car and want more power, Mitsubishi is considering a special version in 2003 with a 230 horsepower 4-cylinder engine built for World Rally Championship competition. Let me know and I’ll get a message to the company.


Cookie cutter, not so exciting, won’t turn heads, but who cares? This is a nice small sedan for us real people. The interior is stand out in design in this price range car.

Fit and Finish:

Usual and expected. No rattles, feels tight. I hate when there are little squeaks.


Very good for the dough. Mirrors fold for those tight parking spaces.


Good for all the standard features. Donald Trump will want to know about this economical car to drive to his private jet.

Consumer Recommendation:

Test drive and demand all the bells and whistles for what you’d expect to pay for a stripped down model. Why, because we’re the consumer and we have the power to change what we’re offered by all consumer product makers.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

1. Put knobs back on the radios and make them large enough for anyone to see. 2. Thanks to Mitsubishi for including all the features for an affordable price. 3. Generally, keep high tech to a reasonable level. Example: if you have to press buttons in five sequential steps just to find out what time it is, put a $5.00 clock in the dash, dah!

The Competition:

Chevrolet Prizm $14-16,000, Dodge Neon $12-16,000, Ford Focus $12-18,000, Honda Civic $13-17,000, Hyundai Elantra $12-14,000, Kia Sephia $11-12,000, Mazda Protégé $13-16,000, Nissan Sentra $12-17,000, Saturn SL $11-13,000, Subaru Impreza $19-24,000, Suzuki Esteem $13-14,000, Toyota Corolla $13,000, VW Golf $15-18,000.

Good News:

Comfortable and quiet, good gas stats, Japanese quality.

Bad News:

Cookie cutter plain wrap styling. Standard equipment doesn’t include anti-lock braking or side air bags and they are not even optional on other models, I know Japan didn’t put a man on the moon, but you’d think they could figure out how to have the rear windows roll down all the way.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder 120 horsepower engine, 4-speed auto trans, power front disc rear drum brakes, dual front airbags, child safety locks and latch system, power steering, 4-wheel independent suspension, air conditioning, stereo with CD player, power windows, door locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, tilt steering, 8-way adjustable driver seat.

Gas Stats:

24 City and 30 Highway MPG.


MSRP $15,897.

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