Category Archives: Mitsubishi

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS 4-door Sedan

Overview:

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.

General Info:

Parts – Japan 91%

Assembly – Mizushima, Japan

Class:  –  Compact

Cars: – Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Lancer Evolution, Lancer Sportback, Outlander and Raider.

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.

Styling:

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.

Cost:

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.

Consumer Recommendation:

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.

Recognized Competition:

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.

Good News:

Sporty, a fun to drive performer with all wheel drive and Lancer has a better warranty and crash test record generally than its competitors.

Bad News:

Lancer does more poorly than its competition in fuel economy and generally less cargo and interior space.

Standard Equipment:

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.

Gas Stats:

$2.81/ Gal avg. December 7, ‘09

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $18,990.

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution SE 4-door Sedan

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution SE 4-door Sedan.

The Lancer Evolution is Mitsubishi’s rally-inspired high-performance all-wheel-drive sedan based on the Lancer compact sedan. Redesigned for 2008, Evolution is the tenth generation of the rally car for the street but only the second version offered in the U.S. market. The first Lancer Evolution to be sold in the U.S was the Evo IX, first imported as a 2003 model. The redesigned Evo brings to market nearly identical styling and much of the technology first shown on the Mitsubishi Concept X at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show.

Opinion:

Most drivers don’t start out driving their car with the intent to break speed laws. So I remind you again the greatest tool to avoid speeding citations is “Speed/Cruise Control. This handy feature will pay for itself quickly by eliminating drifting concentration that can lead to an expensive ticket. You simply set it and forget it for the most part. Yes you still need to stay awake but you’ll maintain consistent speed which will keep you from Yo-yo’ing down the highway – slow then fast then slow again. Additionally you will minimize the conditions that lead to accidents. If the model you are buying offers “Smart Cruise” go for it if you want the best of the best.

Ok, there are always those who consider themselves more important than others and they will tailgate and cut in front of you with little more than a parking space distance between you and the car in front of you. But ain’t it great when you cruise by them as their mind wanders and they lose their edge. So do yourself a favor and demand Cruise Control with your next car.

And if you have it, use it. The love of my life (rephrase – one of the loves of my life) has Cruise Control but refuses to use it. She is great on city streets but is a scardi-cat on the freeways. You know, one of those who drives with a death grip on the steering wheel. Don’t worry, she doesn’t read my column… I hope.

Handling & Performance:

You’ll get a rush from a non-drug-induced high you get from driving this kind of high performance car. In fact you will think it looks like a kid’s car until you drive it. Then parents will NOT want to buy one for their kid. Performance starts with P and that rhymes with T and that stands for trouble … that’s with a capital T.

You do not need a manual transmission for shifting control, because it doesn’t get any better than this Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission. And for those who must busy themselves with shifting it comes with paddle shifters.

If you’re a parent and that doesn’t dissuade you from buying Junior one of these, one last shot. The speedometer goes up to 180 MPH. I didn’t get it even close to that but you can bet a teenager will.

Styling:

Cool for today’s young single. Not my idea for a family car.

Fit and Finish:

On the upper end of the scale of more than half of today’s cars.

Cost:

Some would say this EVO is too pricey for a little pee popper. The price is a little stiff … so deal! The mitigating fact however is that the Evolution is far more capable than Cobalt or Cruze for example. AWD makes it safer, it will handle better and the Turbocharger makes it a rocket with a touch of the accelerator. It will compete better with Audi and BMW that cost more.

Conversely it will cost much more in gas than the Chevrolet products.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the goodies and gadgets most people will demand are provided as standard equipment. I found the seating very comfortable.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Lancer  $34-41,000, 2011 Audi S4 $47-48,000, 2011 BMW 3 Series $33-58,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-25,000, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze $16-22,000, MazdaSpeed 3 $23,340, Nissan Z $30-41,000, 2011 Subaru Impreza $17-20,000, Subaru Impreza WRX $25-35,000, Volkswagen GTI $23-24,000, Volkswagen New Beetle $17-27,000.

Good News:

Great performer that is fun to drive, comfortable and AWD handling.

Bad News:

Not so good fuel economy and a little pricey to some.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter DOHC inline turbocharged engine, Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission, Paddle shifters, Bilstein shocks, heated front seats, rear lid spoiler, front, side and side curtain airbags, drivers knee airbag, LATCH child seats, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, Engine immobilizer, stability control, traction control, all-wheel drive, twin-scroll turbocharger, Brembo ventilated ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution, active yaw control, rear limited slip differential, front and rear stabilizer bars, auto A/C with micron filter, remote keyless entry, leather wrapped steering wheel w/ cruise and audio controls, color LCD multi information display, Recardo front sport seats, Bluetooth, 140 watt CD/MP3 audio with 6-speakers, mirror visors, map lights and center console w/ storage, fog lights, flared fenders, aluminum roof panel, front fenders and hood and 18” alloy wheels.

Gas Stats:

$2.79/ Gal avg. October 1, 2010

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

17 City and 22 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $35,790.

2009 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart 4 Dr. Sedan

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart 4-Door Sedan. After writing about the stylishly exciting Dodge Challenger everything else seems a bit boring. But at about 15 average miles per gallon using the Challenger as a commuter is not practical for most of us. This Galant IS practical and realistic for general driving needs.

The Ralliart model is the top of the Galant line at over $27,000 and sports a 258 hp V6, and a lot less fuel performance than the other trims. The ES and Sport Edition with a more fuel efficient Inline 4-cylinder 160 hp engine knock down between 20 and 30 mpg. The Sport V6 and Ralliart both have the 3.8 liter V6 engine that gets 230 and 258 hp respectively.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 51%, Japan 30%

Assembly – Normal, IL, USA

Class:  – Mid-size

Cars: – Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Lancer Evolution, Outlander and Raider.

Handling & Performance:

I tested the Ralliart model so the 258 hp is plenty powerful enough. I don’t want to be able to burn the tires off the rims but I do expect good performance over the mountains and be able to accelerate quickly enough to be safe on Los Angeles highways. It’s a jungle out there and people can be brutal so you want to be able to get out of your own way in those situations. This Galant won’t let you down.

Styling:

Cookie cutter styling that is uninteresting and common in today’s world. But the lines are clean and this is a decently comfortable commuter and family car. Not all cars can be different from the pack. Cars like the PT Cruiser, Plymouth Prowler, Corvette Z06, Chrysler 300 and of course the Dodge Challenger are several of the cars that stand out and come to mind.

Fit and Finish:

Good

Cost:

Competitive in class. The other two trims (ES and Sport Edition) are just over $20,000.

Features and Conveniences:

Many new cars have Bluetooth connectivity for your cell phone. But if you don’t have that built in you can buy a battery operated portable version under $100. I’m sure prices will come down further as they become more popular with the demand of law. And you can also have them tied into your radio system for a few more bucks. The technology is common on high end pricey brands, so the portable versions will take off with the mandatory hands free cell usage in cars beginning July 1, 2008.

Consumer Recommendation:

Resource – www.safercar.gov

If you are contemplating a change in your family’s cars the Galant can fill the need for economy. Then you can pamper your passion for your Hummer (soon to be history) or other SUV (now a very cheap purchase option). You can have the gas guzzler and simply drive it less frequently.

In fact my suggestion is that you look more closely at adding a third family car to include a Smart Car for about $11,000 that gets about 50 mpg of regular gas. Those are all the rage in Europe and experiencing a supply backlog for orders in the US. Remember if you want to cut the cost of fuel, doubling miles per gallon is like paying $2.00 a gallon of gas in your present gas burner getting 25 or even fewer miles per gallon.

You may recall my test drive of the Smart Car last year for its launch in the US. If you missed it and want to see that review it was published in the November 10, 2007 issue of the Country Journal. Or, simply email me or call the Journal and we’ll see you get a copy.

Recognized Competition:

2009s Mitsubishi Galant $21-27,000, Toyota Camry $19-28,000, Hyundai Sonata $18-26,000, Buick LaCrosse $n/a, Chevrolet Malibu $n/a,

2008s – Pontiac Grand Prix $22-29,000, Saturn Aura $20-26,000, Honda Accord $20-31,000, Dodge Avenger $19-26,000, Chevrolet Impala $22-29,000, Ford Fusion $18-25,000, Nissan Altima $19-29,000, Kia Optima $16-21,000, Chrysler Sebring $19-32,000, Mazda 6 $19-28,000.

Good News:

Well equipped and well priced mid-size ‘all around’ family sedan.

Bad News:

Uninteresting styling and only fair fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 258 hp V6 engine, 5-speed automatic trans, front and side airbags with side curtain airbags, child safety locks and LATCH system, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitor system, engine immobilizer, 18” allow wheels, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, power rack & pinion steering, traction control, stabilizer bars, power glass sunroof, auto air conditioning, cruise control, audio system with 8 speakers 6-disc CD/MP3 player, SIRIUS satellite radio incl. 6 month service, sport wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power windows and door locks, leather seating surfaces, center console, 8-way power driver seat, rear armrest with cup holders and trunk pass through, heated front seats, power heated mirrors, illuminated vanity mirrors, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system, fog lights, and auto off headlights.

Options: Navigation Package $1,500

Gas Stats:

$4.53/ Gal avg. June 25 ‘08

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

16 City and 25 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov or  888-327-4236

Pricing:

MSRP $27,299, with options $28,799.

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4-door sedan

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4-door sedan. The overall feeling is that for the money it is a well rounded sedan.

Models available included a DE at $14K, ES at $16k and the GTS at under $18K all with 2 liter 152 hp engines. It is an advanced technology engine that includes variable valve timing found on more expensive engines and it and the transmission is warranted for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

General Info:

Parts – Japan 100%

Assembly – Mizushima, Japan

Class:  – SubCompact

Cars: – Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Outlander and Raider.

Observation:

What’s this thing about car owners putting black out on their cars windows? Is it legal? I don’t like being behind a tall truck or SUV when I’m not in a large vehicle. Likewise I don’t like being behind a coupe or sedan with blacked out rear windows for the same reason… it limits my view through the car to traffic in front of it. I really don’t care who is in the car but I am put at greater risk of rear end collision when I can’t see traffic ahead. So I have to change lanes or go around that vehicle.

Handling & Performance:

Better than average handling and feel on the Crest test mountain course. The engine is responsive with 0-60 mph at 8.66 seconds. More importantly it negotiated the curves like a pro and I felt in control and safe. Drivers will appreciate the manual transmission but if you prefer an automatic is available as an option on all models.

Styling:

Aggressive.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Very good for a 4-door roomy sedan and a decent array of standard features.

Conveniences and comfort:

The armrest is a bit low and more flimsy than I’d expect even at this price car. If you don’t like high trunk openings this will be a negative for you.

Consumer Recommendation:

A decent family sedan that is roomy and is a 5 passenger vehicle. The trunk is fairly large and styling is nice for any destination. And you won’t break the bank. It is among a good crowd of competitors so the good news is there are many choices; the bad news is you need to look at a lot of them because there are several good ones. Don’t leave the made in America Saturn and Chevrolet. Both real solid contenders.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Lancer $14-18,000, Saturn Ion $12-20,000, Suzuki Aerio $14-17,000, Subaru Impreza $18-33,000, Nissan Sentra $15-20,000, Volkswagen Jetta $17-23,000, Scion tC $17,000, Mazda 3 $14-20,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $14-19,000, Toyota Corolla $14-16,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Hyundai Elantra $14-16,000.

Good News:

Nice styling, nice ride, roomy, good size trunk and only 87 octane fuel required.

Bad News:

High trunk opening, general resale is not as good as more popular Japanese names like Toyota and Nissan.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter Inline 4-cylinder 152 hp engine, 5-speed manual transmission, front and side air bags and side curtain airbags and driver knee airbag, front crumple zones, child safety locks, and latch system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer with anti-theft alarm system, power steering, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes with EBD – electronic brake distribution, front and rear stabilizer bars, air conditioning, steering wheel mounted cruise control and audio switches, height adjustable steering column,  6-way driver adjustable seat, 60/40split fold down rear seatback with center armrest, power windows, locks and mirrors, variable wipers, remote keyless entry, auto halogen headlights and 16” alloy wheels.

Options: Sun and sound package includes 650 watt Rockford-Fosgate punch sound system with 9 speakers, SIRIUS satellite radio with 6-months included and power glass sunroof ($1,500).

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. Sept 25, ‘07

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $15,990.

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR (947)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR. Before we get started, can you believe it is 2013 already?

In my opinion this EVO as it is referred to is a car for the young man, however a couple of young guys who stopped me in a parking lot said they thought age didn’t make a difference. But how you look in a car is important to you and it is kinda like someone over 30 riding a skate board. It somehow just doesn’t fit.

I did have fun driving the Evo because I appreciate performance and like to see obstacles in the dust through the rear view mirror. But when I look back through that rear window and the dust my vision is obstructed by a spoiler wing splitting the rear view. That was annoying.

Overall this is a nice ride that is fun to drive no matter what your age. There is no doubt the Evo was intended for the youthful consumer who is financially able.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 0%, Japan 99%. It is assembled in Kurashiki, Japan, Classification is Compact. Cars from Mitsubishi: Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, i, Lancer, Lancer Evolution, Lancer Sportback, Outlander, Outlander Sport.

Handling & Performance:

Performance, of course, is a mix between how well it accelerates and takes the curves, versus how stingy it is with gasoline – especially in today’s world of $5.00 a gallon at the pump. It will only take you about 20 miles and that is expensive fun.

But then I remember those days when most muscle cars so popular among young drivers only got about 7 mpg. But gas was $.31 a gallon. Now it is nearly 16 times as costly for the gas while cars would be hard pressed to get 112 mpg to be equal to the cost then (based on the economic value of money in 1960).

Styling:

Designer’s have managed to catch the eye of people who appreciate the automobile and Evo’s reputation seem to have preceded my week testing this car. But those I talked with also knew about how ‘fast and furious’ a ride it can be. In other words looks alone would not sell this car if its performance didn’t set it apart from the crowd. Everyone loves speed and acceleration. . . ok, except the little old lady from Pasadena… but the look is also as bold as its performance. I like the prominent grill that quickly grows on you. Design has achieved its goal because I think the look is “confident”.

On the other hand I have to comment on one of the identifying features of style –  the rear stabilizer wing. It is “Smack Dab” in the center of your rear view. It was a real negative for me as it splits the view behind right in half.  You are reminded every time you check out the traffic around you and that begins with what is right behind you. I found that obstruction distracting and it didn’t go away all week.

Fit and Finish:

Very good in and out.

Cost:

A little pricey for this car for me, and it can only be justified for its performance attributes.

Conveniences and comfort:

It is very comfortable in class and has all the bells and whistles you expect these days.

Consumer Recommendation:

This is NOT a cheap car and the competition is stiff. To me the closest competitor is the Impreza WRX. The Nissan Z is a favorite of mine but isn’t really comparable since the Z only seats 2.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution $34,000, Audi S4 $48,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, BMW 3 Series $35,000, Mazda 3 $15,000, Mazda RX-8 $27,000, Nissan Z $32,000, Subaru Impreza WRX $26,000, Suzuki SX4 Sport $17,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Volkswagen Beetle $19,000, Volkswagen GTI $24,000.

Good News:

Stylish, fast, fun to drive.

Bad News:

Rear stabilizer wing annoyingly in the middle of your rear view, poor fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 291 horsepower engine, 5-speed manual transmission, AWD, turbocharger with front mounted intercooler, Brembo vented disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, front struts, front and rear stabilizers, front, side and side curtain airbags, drivers knee airbag, LATCH system for child seats, Tire pressure monitor, engine immobilizer, stability control and traction control, climate control, usb port, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls, audio with 6 speakers, power windows and locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, auto headlights, fog lights, large rear wing spoiler, 18” alloy wheels.

Gas Stats:

$3.75 / Gal avg. November 13, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

17 City and 23 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,695.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander LS 4WD

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander LS 4-Wheel Drive Sport Utility 4-door. Overall I liked this new crossover even though I haven’t been a big fan of Mitsubishi, this new model gave me pause to re-think my initial biased expectations.

However, one little complaint I must report is the unexpected noticeable wind noise that reminds me of the little squeaks of cars of a generation ago that were so common. So I try to overlook the little things in view of the fact that today’s cars are far and away better than those classic cars of the 50s and 60s.

General Info:

Parts – Japan 100%

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Special Purpose. SUV

Cars: – Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Outlander and Raider.

Handling & Performance:

The first thing you’ll notice is a rather stiff ride, but that configuration allows for greater handling which is especially noticeable driving the winding mountain roads. It is really impressive for a high profile SUV. In addition I tested it without a load which of course softens the ride when carrying passengers and / or cargo. So this is not a negative since the overall handling is excellent. The 220 hp V6 is very responsive and still delivers 26 highway MPG. I can’t think of a better argument for moving away from more expensive brands, badges and logos.

The 4-wheel drive facility is unneeded, in my opinion, but if 4-WD is your thing you can easily switch on the fly from 2-WD to 4-WD and Lock positions.

Styling:

I like the crossover design that brings the two very popular SUV and the Mini Van together for a great result. They have designed a neat and innovative fold down rear bumper for easy loading of cargo. Nice touch.

On the other hand the design folks need to revisit the instrumentation and consider more conventional gauges. The orange lighting is ok at night but I found it difficult to read in daylight. The fuel gauge is a bar and although I don’t dislike that all that much I found it to be inaccurate. Heading out one morning over the mountain range between the desert and Los Angeles the gauge indicated distance to empty as 70 miles. Then after about 2 miles it adjusted to 60 then 50 then 40 within 10 miles. Then after concern if I would have enough gas to get over the 30 miles ahead of me, the DTE indicator display was magically back to 70 miles to empty. If they want to include that feature it really needs to be more accurate.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

I really like the new satellite radio systems like XM Radio and Sirius but the nod goes to XM. I find the Sirius to be unstable and reception cuts in and out very often which is annoying.

Of course the big draw for these kinds of vehicles which have evolved over the years is the roominess for 5 passengers and generally the many features that seek to make the driving experience one of comfort with comfortable seating, handy storage, lots of cup holders, great sound systems with CD players and seating that is flexible.

Consumer Recommendation:

If the crossover SUV is of interest for your need, look seriously at the Chrysler Town and Country for 2008. It stretches the limits for family vehicles with seating options of Stow and Go (where seats fold easily down into the floor), or a Swivel and Go configuration (that uses the third row seats and second row to face each other around a table) that may better suit your family needs than an SUV.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Outlander $21-25,000, Mazda Tribute $19-26,000, Saturn Vue $21-29,000, Kia Sportage $16-23,000, Mercury Mariner $21-26,000, Ford Escape $19-26,000, Subaru Forester $21-28,000, Nissan Xterra $20-28,000, Jeep Liberty $20-26,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-25,000, Chevrolet Equinox $22-29,000, Honda CRV $21-28,000, Toyota RAV4 $21-27,000.

Good News:

Nice performing V6 and better than expected handling, roomy.

Bad News:

More wind noise than expected, difficult to read digital gauges in daylight, irritating interruptions of Sirius satellite radio,

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter 220 hp V6 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, front and side air bags and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, child latch seat system, day time running lights, security alarm and immobilizer system, electronic 4-WD system with driver selector 2/4 and lock, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, stereo with CD / MP3, power door and tailgate locks, power windows and mirrors, cruise control with steering wheel controls for cruise and audio, keyless entry, flap folding tailgate, intermittent wipers, 8-way power driver seat, 60/40 split fold / tumble rear seats, prewired for Bluetooth, 16” allow wheels, auto off headlights, and roof rails.

Options: LS sun and sound package including added speaker, Punch sound system upgrade, SIRIUS satellite radio with 6 months included, 6-CD in dash changer, power glass sunroof $1740; Entertainment package including DVD rear seat 9” monitor, remote control, wireless head set $1150.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. October 9, ‘07

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

19 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $23,770 / $27,285 with options.

2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Convertible

Overview:

This week I drove the 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT Convertible. I drove the first year model out of the chute in June of 2000 and since it continues to catch my eye I thought it was worth a second look. I continue to be impressed with the sleek and eye appealing styling. Yes I have always had a love affair with cars and get high on speed and “G” force.

In High School I owned a Corvette powered Ford Sedan that defined who I thought I was and an expression of who I wanted to be. If you grew up in the 1950’s and ‘60’s you even helped to define what cars would be like today. Stock cars were unexciting and young men of the day tried to change that. Detroit and other carmakers stood up and took notice. For young men of past generations cars truly did define their manhood.

Today you seldom see radical modifications made to stockcars because carmakers are more in tune with what people want. This GT proves that you can be stylin affordably. It is also apparent that present day men “and” women have re-popularized Sport Cars and particularly convertibles. Trucks and SUV’s have made a big mark on our highways. I believe that is because of the freedom of mobility and independence that come as “Standard Equipment” in today’s world. Ferrari epitomizes our love of speed and beauty and Trucks and SUV’s gives us the impression we can get out of harms way if need be.

Soon you’ll see a flood of  “Hummer” wanna be’s, including Mercedes that will exploit man’s desire to out gun the bad guys, should they come knocking at our door.

Handling & Performance:

Low center of gravity cars are exciting to drive. They hug the corners like you should hug your mate.

And when you hug with a 200 horsepower V6 the thrill is even better. Manual transmissions help you become an integral part of the car and performance is enhanced by your touch and timing.

Styling:

I immediately liked the look of this sport car but it has grown even more pleasing to my eye over the year plus since I first drove it. If for no other reason than it is great looking it is worth a second look.

It is awkward for big people and women in dresses to get in and out of, but for the youthful driver (age not considered) it is worth the effort. In any case, there is no extra charge for the added exercise you’ll get.

The trunk spoiler is an annoyance because it blocks your rear view. No problem with the top down.

Fit and Finish:

Japanese standards. The Cadillac of quality carmakers.

Conveniences:

Most everything you ever wanted is included with a few notable exceptions. They should have included ABS and a power seat as standard equipment.

Cost:

Fair, but still on the high side. However, consumers will determine value by voting with their dollars.

Consumer Recommendation:

This is my pick of the bunch all things considered, although that opinion doesn’t include the Acura RSX or the Mercury Cougar, which I haven’t tested.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Options are too expensive. ABS should be standard.

The Competition:

Acura RSX $20-23,000, Audi TT $31-40,000, BMW Z3 $31-38,000, Chevrolet Camaro $18-30,000, Ford Mustang $17-29,000, Honda Prelude $24-26,000, Mazda MX-5 Miata $21-26,000, Mercury Cougar $16-20,000, Toyota Celica $17-22,000.

Good News:

Fast V6, state of art soft top, great ride and solid feel, distinctive styling

Bad News:

Small trunk and opening, small rear seat.

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter 200 horsepower V6 engine, 5-speed manual trans, dual airbags, anti theft engine immobilizer, power rack and pinion steering, 4-wheel sport tuned independent suspension, 4-wheel power front ventilated disc brakes, power soft top, air conditioning, power windows, locks and side mirrors, Infinity stereo with CD player, 10-way adjustable driver seat, adjusting steering column, keyless entry, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, power antenna.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 29 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,597.

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 2WD (907)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 2WD. It’s a new compact 5-passenger crossover that joins the lineup from 2011. It is based on the same platform as the Outlander and the Outlander Sport is more than a foot shorter than the Outlander which has grown enough to offer 7-passenger seating. The ‘Sport’ model features a new exterior design that includes Mitsubishi’s jet fighter front fascia from the Lancer Evolution.

If you’ve seen the movie “Outlander”, this is better than the movie… in fact, Outlander Sport gets thumbs up from US News & World Report, Road and Track, Auto Trader.com, Uptown Magazine, Autoblog and Motor Trend. That doesn’t always impress me but since their take is similar to mine I guess they got this one right.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 4%, Japan 94%. It is assembled in Okazaki, Japan;  Classification is Special Purpose Vehicle. Cars from Mitsubishi Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Lancer Evolution, Lancer Sportback, Outlander, Outlander Sport.

Opinion:

In the past I have expressed my opinion on how unions are hurting the American Auto industry. Well, I’ve had mail from folks who agree and others (I assume are union members) were angry to hear my views. Now the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) has been further emboldened by the present White House and Union Organizing has been raising their ugly head yet again in thanks for government support. In turn you gotta know the money will flow into the Democrat re-election coffers.

My family heritage is Sicilian as far back as I know and it is historically clear both the Mafia and Unions (founded by the same thugs) have and continue to constitute organized crime in America. Sicilian society has to accept the Mafia as a way of life there on that island but American’s don’t have to accept Union Organizer thugs.

Unions have had a strangle hold on American auto makers for decades and have burdened them with drastic differences in labor cost that is nearly double non-union competitors. US workers cost $78 per hour versus $45 per hour for cars built by Japan and Korea even if the car is physically assembled in the US.

More recently unions have done great harm by NLRB interference in Boeing’s attempt to move some of their operations to the right to work state of South Carolina. The NLRB won, and America lost. History tells us unions have outlived their usefulness, if indeed they ever were useful. I have spoken with South Carolina officials who are actively inviting companies in California and I expect other states to move their companies there.

Currently American Airlines’ failure is surely in part caused by unions. Not so long ago Daimler (maker of Mercedes Benz) in fact moved its Freightliner truck manufacturing division operations  from Portland Oregon to South Carolina and the physical manufacturing was moved to Mexico. That was in response to union presence in Oregon. This is first hand knowledge and not just my opinion. In fact Freightliner’s move was before Obama empowered the NLRB to do even more to force the union on more US companies. Shameful Mr. President.

Unions are ruining America and it is time to put a stop to the cancer and get government and strong arm regulations out of US business. It is time to send the Mafia and the Unions back to Sicily. Sorry cousins but that’s the truth.

It is now American voters who will have to throw the union out with our politician’s and their expensive Roman Baths.

And yes, I’d be interested in other opinions and views… except for B and A’s since I already know their union position.

Handling & Performance:

Nice handling and good fuel economy and fair power all things considered.

Styling:

There is a very difference in the styling from the Japanese and Korean models versus the US made Chevy, Ford and Jeep offerings. I lean to the American made designs so this is a personal thing. All the foreign models look very much alike.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Cost:

Well priced considering the wide array of standard features.

Conveniences and comfort:

Many consider paddle shifters worth the price but to me it’s a total waste of time and money. Another feature I find unreliable is the tire pressure monitor and if it’s free I would still consider including it. 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and stability control are worthwhile features.

Consumer Recommendation:

This is a tough field of competitors and if this is your price range you get a lot for the money for a great family SUV dominated by the Japanese. I surely would include the American made offerings. At the same price I was impressed with the Ford Escape. I would definitely include the three American models along with some of the others in your test drives.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport $21,000, Chevrolet Equinox $24,000, Dodge Caliber $17,000, Ford Escape $21,000, Honda CR-V $22,000, Hyundai Tucson $18,000, Jeep Patriot $16,000, Kia Sportage $18,000, Mazda CX-7 $22,000, Mazda Tribute $20,000, Nissan Rogue $22,000, Subaru Forester $21,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $17,000, Toyota RAV4 $22,000.

Good News:

Good fuel economy, wide array of standard features including high tech safety features.

Bad News:

Only fair and some would consider marginal power.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 148 horsepower engine, continuous variable automatic transmission, one-touch start / stop switch, ‘fast key entry’, 18” allow wheels, paddle shifters, color multi information display, economy indicator, front, side and side curtain airbags and driver knee airbag, stability control, tire pressure monitor, Latch system for child seats, anti-theft  alarm system, engine immobilizer, hill start assist, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution, power steering, climate control with micron filter, heated mirrors, AM/FM CD MP3 head unit with 6 speakers, power door & tail gate locks, power windows & mirrors, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, steering wheel cruise and audio controls, telescopic steering column, leather wrapped wheel and shift knb, keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split fold down rear seats, 12V outlets, side turn indicators and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

$3.67/ Gal avg. February 4, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

25 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $21,000.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

2011 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4-door sedan (851)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 4-door sedan.

Remember when Studebaker was on the scene and people complained that you couldn’t tell whether it was coming or going because the front looked just like the rear end. I remember it mostly because my grandmother, born in Sicily before the turn of the 20th Century, visited us in California and thought we had weird cars here. In those days cars were distinctive for sure, but more important there were fewer brands so you weren’t confused by several hundred models. They were either Ford, GM or Chrysler cars. Today the computer kicks out pretty generic ho-hum similar looking cars. In the case of this Lancer, the grill is nearly the same as the Audi A4 turned upside down. Who did the design first I don’t know, but they are frightfully the same.
Opinion:

More observations about posted speed limits. While driving up State Highway 99 through the central valley of California I was reminded posted speeds are 70 mph in most areas. I have made that trip a lot since I have family and business in Southern Oregon. What I have observed is that traffic moves along at about 75-80 mph. Not much different from average commuter speeds in Southern California where the posted speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph.
There is a comfort zone in speed that drivers feel in control and the vast majority move along in packs at 75-80 irrespective of the posted limit. The bad guys can choose their prey at will because we’re all exceeding posted speed limits. Do you think there is a method to the madness of the law makers who set those limits?
In response to my belief that limits should be raised encouraged Bill says (summarized):
“I think current speed limits are just fine… (more importantly) Our highways are in great need of repair, and cause much wear on vehicles that drivers are not aware of, steel belts of tires broken from pot holes, wheels out of round, suspension damage, wheel alignment, shock and strut damage…

What about our growing population from south of the border and around the world, what kind of driving skills do they bring? Yes modern vehicles have many safety features… I argue that if the speed limit was 75 mph, drivers would drive 85/90 mph and while I’m not a Al Gore fan, after 80/85 mph fuel consumption goes sky high… As my wife say’s “If you are in that big of a hurry, leave sooner”. At the end of your article it says, “buckle up and drive safely”. How can driving faster be safer?
My whole point was that the limits are artificially low and serve only to raise money. Moving the limits up to what people persist on driving respects the will of the people, in spite of the obscene fines.
Handling & Performance:
Lancer provides just adequate power at 148 hp mostly because of the manual shifting. The low center of gravity provides excellent cornering.

Styling:

In my opinion Mitsubishi cars are mostly designed for the younger driver which means they just don’t fit the over 40+ group. I wanted to see if was just me or is it a fact. The study noted below seems to support my feeling.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Well priced compact sedan.

Conveniences and comfort:

Nothing special, but the important features like traction and stability control are included.

Consumer Recommendation:

A new study recently completed by TrueCar.com, showed that Mitsubishi, Mazda and Volkswagen have the highest concentration of younger buyers. The study was completed in May 2010 and looked at the last full year of available data.

The brands with the highest percentage of buyers 18 to 34, is topped by Mitsubishi (18.3%), with its young skewing list of models that includes the Lancer and the Eclipse. Mazda (18%), with the popular Mazda3 and Mazda6, and Volkswagen (17.6%), which features the list topping GTI and Jetta, were next with Nissan (15.6%) and Mini (15%) rounding out the top 5.

Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Lancer $15-27,000, Audi S4 $47-49,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-25,000, Ford Focus $17-20,000, Honda Civic $16-25,000, Hyundai Elantra $15-20,000, Kia Forte $15-19,000, Mazda3 $16-23,000, Nissan Sentra $16-20,000, Subaru Impreza $17-20,000, Toyota Corolla $16-18,000, Volkswagen Golf $18-24,000, Volkswagen GTI $24-30,000.

Good News:

Well price, fun to drive, good safety features and very good fuel economy numbers.

Bad News:

A little under powered. You’d need to move to Ralliart for 237 hp with a price of about $27,000.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 148 horsepower inline 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, front Macpherson strut, rear multilink suspension, 4-wheel ABS front disc and rear drum brakes with electronic brake force distribution, front stabilizer bar, front and side curtain airbags with drivers knee airbag, LATCH child seat system, tire pressure monitor, engine immobilizer with anti-theft system, stability and traction control, air conditioning, height adjustable column, power steering with wheel mounted cruise and audio controls, multi information display, audio with CD/MP3 w/ 4-speakers, 6-way adjustable driver seat, 60/40 split fold down rear seatback, power windows, locks and mirrors, 2 12 volt outlets, remote keyless entry and auto headlights.

Gas Stats:

$3.33/ Gal avg. Jan 29, 2011
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

24 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $16,395.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

 

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution SE 4-door Sedan (831)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution SE 4-door Sedan.
The Lancer Evolution is Mitsubishi’s rally-inspired high-performance all-wheel-drive sedan based on the Lancer compact sedan. Redesigned for 2008, Evolution is the tenth generation of the rally car for the street but only the second version offered in the U.S. market. The first Lancer Evolution to be sold in the U.S was the Evo IX, first imported as a 2003 model. The redesigned Evo brings to market nearly identical styling and much of the technology first shown on the Mitsubishi Concept X at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show.

Opinion:

Most drivers don’t start out driving their car with the intent to break speed laws. So I remind you again the greatest tool to avoid speeding citations is “Speed/Cruise Control. This handy feature will pay for itself quickly by eliminating drifting concentration that can lead to an expensive ticket. You simply set it and forget it for the most part. Yes you still need to stay awake but you’ll maintain consistent speed which will keep you from Yo-yo’ing down the highway – slow then fast then slow again. Additionally you will minimize the conditions that lead to accidents. If the model you are buying offers “Smart Cruise” go for it if you want the best of the best.

Ok, there are always those who consider themselves more important than others and they will tailgate and cut in front of you with little more than a parking space distance between you and the car in front of you. But ain’t it great when you cruise by them as their mind wanders and they lose their edge. So do yourself a favor and demand Cruise Control with your next car.

And if you have it, use it. The love of my life (rephrase – one of the loves of my life) has Cruise Control but refuses to use it. She is great on city streets but is a scardi-cat on the freeways. You know, one of those who drives with a death grip on the steering wheel. Don’t worry, she doesn’t read my column… I hope.

Handling & Performance:

You’ll get a rush from a non-drug-induced high you get from driving this kind of high performance car. In fact you will think it looks like a kid’s car until you drive it. Then parents will NOT want to buy one for their kid. Performance starts with P and that rhymes with T and that stands for trouble … that’s with a capital T.

You do not need a manual transmission for shifting control, because it doesn’t get any better than this Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission. And for those who must busy themselves with shifting it comes with paddle shifters.

If you’re a parent and that doesn’t dissuade you from buying Junior one of these, one last shot. The speedometer goes up to 180 MPH. I didn’t get it even close to that but you can bet a teenager will.

Styling:

Cool for today’s young single. Not my idea for a family car.

Fit and Finish:

On the upper end of the scale of more than half of today’s cars.

Cost:

Some would say this EVO is too pricey for a little pee popper. The price is a little stiff … so deal! The mitigating fact however is that the Evolution is far more capable than Cobalt or Cruze for example. AWD makes it safer, it will handle better and the Turbocharger makes it a rocket with a touch of the accelerator. It will compete better with Audi and BMW that cost more.

Conversely it will cost much more in gas than the Chevrolet products.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the goodies and gadgets most people will demand are provided as standard equipment. I found the seating very comfortable.
Recognized Competition:

Mitsubishi Lancer $34-41,000, 2011 Audi S4 $47-48,000, 2011 BMW 3 Series $33-58,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-25,000, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze $16-22,000, MazdaSpeed 3 $23,340, Nissan Z $30-41,000, 2011 Subaru Impreza $17-20,000, Subaru Impreza WRX $25-35,000, Volkswagen GTI $23-24,000, Volkswagen New Beetle $17-27,000.

Good News:

Great performer that is fun to drive, comfortable and AWD handling.

Bad News:

Not so good fuel economy and a little pricey to some.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter DOHC inline turbocharged engine, Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission, Paddle shifters, Bilstein shocks, heated front seats, rear lid spoiler, front, side and side curtain airbags, drivers knee airbag, LATCH child seats, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, Engine immobilizer, stability control, traction control, all-wheel drive, twin-scroll turbocharger, Brembo ventilated ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution, active yaw control, rear limited slip differential, front and rear stabilizer bars, auto A/C with micron filter, remote keyless entry, leather wrapped steering wheel w/ cruise and audio controls, color LCD multi information display, Recardo front sport seats, Bluetooth, 140 watt CD/MP3 audio with 6-speakers, mirror visors, map lights and center console w/ storage, fog lights, flared fenders, aluminum roof panel, front fenders and hood and 18” alloy wheels.
Gas Stats:

$2.79/ Gal avg. October 1, 2010
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

17 City and 22 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $35,790.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2010 – An Automotive Love Affair