The Lancer at the time was the best looking small car on the market. Great value too, not compared to today's prices though. Sporty looks for a bloke, bigger engine option surely must be punchy, additional leather for appeal, and no-one in the price bracket could be the quality of the audio. Biggest mistake - not test driving on the highway.
For a car that once in use had great handling, very functional switch gear with a solid feel, pumping audio, and a solid feel inside, I thought I'd bought a quality Japanese car that would last my ten year ownership intention. First trip on the highway I couldn't talk to my passengers from the loud road noise. Open the boot to get the luggage, an inch of water in the bottom. Sun visors kept falling in front of your face. And worst of all, the car 'tramlined' so you were constantly and I mean CONSTANTLY correcting the position in a lane.
A trip to the dealer for first service and visors replaced, wheel alignment done, and new boot seal. All three didn't fix anything. I invested in a suspension specialists wheel alignment front and back, a bit better, still tramlining. They suggested tyres. OK so new Kuhmo Ecsta's that I've had before with no problems, issue fixed until tyres had about 5,000kms on them. And the visors were still falling, and the boot was leaking again.
Then the driver's seat started to wear through. And the engine started to feel asthmatic. A run around my favourite mountain roads labouring the engine cleared it's throat, and was free again - fuel economy also dropped a litre per hundred after that run - what?
Then I noticed the stone chips - hundreds of them on the side of the doors both sides, and the front too. How thin was this paint?
The above was all a pity, I really liked the car and it's features. To have a well functioning rain sensor that actually worked when it should, fast power windows, no rattles I mean at all, comfortable seating, cold air con that worked really well (except for the weird noise when the compressor turned on), nice feeling gearbox, solid brakes until you had them warm in the mountains, well laid out cabin and I really admired it's looks.
It was time for this to be sold, and now it's gone. I was so disappointed that day it went but a weight was gone too, what a waste of money but for the price I paid compared to today it went at the right time, I sold it for what they are new now. I've since bought a Toyota, and have had zero issues since except the issue of boredom, but that's another review.
Recommend a Lancer? No way, an average car but there are great cars around. Gutless engine with average economy, disgusting handling in the end, this is a bullet to dodge. From a failing brand that has nothing new in this segment, and there are plenty of better proven options and aftermarket audio shops. This car was the biggest monetary mistake of my life, please don't let it be yours. The cons outweigh the pro's, even in the used market.