This week we’re looking at the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS 4-door sedan. The pictures are of the 2009 but I could see no significant visual differences at a glance. This is a real coin toss, because I can’t really see any standouts that would convince me it is anything but a very generic class. Compact all purpose sedans by their nature are just that – generic.
As I write this I’m reminded that it is December 7th. I guess it is fitting that I’m writing about a company’s product that built the war machines for the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th. Time has not made us forget but it has dulled the senses and reminds me that to err is human but to forgive is divine.
I was surprised that the Mitsubishi does as poorly in fuel economy numbers compared to the others listed here in class.
Handling & Performance:
Most of the others in class do better in the fuel consumption area. That is of growing importance. But it is fun to drive in part because of the front wheel drive. AWD would be cool but that is only in the Evolution.
It is not like the compact segment of the market is unexciting or uninteresting because it is but mostly this class are just simply nice looking automobiles.
As you may know the Lancer was introduced in the US market in 2003 with its ‘shark nosed’ front end look and shares the Outlander platform. It is intended to be a fun to drive sporty economical compact sedan. It accomplishes its goal in my opinion.
Fit and Finish:
Mitsubishi has been consistently well put together and not unlike those noted below that are closest in price. It is typical Japanese work ethic applied to the automotive market. One caveat that must be noted however is that selected automotive products coming from Japan are sometimes assembled in other countries including the US and Mexico for example. But from my experience Japanese oversight management is excellent and the products are very good no matter what country they are assembled in.
Competitive among a host of equally good competitors. Nothing so special as to set it far apart from others in class.
Conveniences and comfort:
Generally the Lancer falls behind in roominess. Nearly all other players in this segment noted below have more cargo space and inside space dimensions as well. All have similar electronics and gadgets available but standard stuff is good.
Lancer models include the DE, ES, ES Sport GTS and Ralliart with prices ranging from $15,000 to $27,000. One of those listed that is at the top of the list, in my opinion, is the VW Jetta TDI. Look closely at the TDI (Turbo Diesel) which is perhaps my favorite in this group if I had to choose. With over 40 miles per gallon it has my attention.
Consider the philosophy of VW management (in an LA Auto Show Keynote addres VW’s Chairman Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder) that Diesel is the way to go and fully 50 % of all cars sold in Europe are diesel and for good reason – gas / diesel is about $8.00 a gallon in Europe. When (and it is not IF, but rather when) fuel prices in the US float to world levels people will embrace the diesel performers. Don’t wait for the rush but rather plan ahead. Seriously – Look at the TDI.
Mitsubisi Lancer $15-27,000, Audi S4 $57-58,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-25,000, Dodge Avenger $20-22,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Ford Focus $16-18,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $24-27,000, Hyundai Elantra $14-18,000, Kia Forte $14-17,000, Kia Spectra $14-16,000, Mazda 3 $15-22,000, Nissan Sentra $15-20,000, Pontiac G5 $17-20,000, Saturn Astra $17-20,000, Scion tC $17-18,000, Subaru Impreza $17-35,000, Suzuki SX4 Sport $13-18,000, Toyota Corolla $15-20,000 and Volkswagen Jetta $18-23,000.
Sporty, a fun to drive performer with all wheel drive and Lancer has a better warranty and crash test record generally than its competitors.
Lancer does more poorly than its competition in fuel economy and generally less cargo and interior space.
2.4 liter 168 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, sport tuned suspension, ABS brakes, front, side and side curtain airbags and driver knee bag, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer and anti theft alarm system, stability control, traction control, climate control air conditioning, leather wrapped steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls, CD/MP3 audio head unit with 6 speakers, tilt steering wheel, manual adjust driver seat, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, power windows and locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth hands free system, auto off halogen headlights, fog lights, rear spoiler, 18” allow wheels.
$2.81/ Gal avg. December 7, ‘09
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20 City and 28 Highway MPG
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