The Mitsubishi Lancer is now eight years old, which doesn’t put it quite in Land Rover Defender territory, though it is long in the tooth for a popular model.
Today we’ve got the current base model, the ES Sport. As a manual it’s available from just $18,990, while this CVT with metallic paint costs about $21,500, making it one of the cheapest small autos from a mainstream brand.
The look is much the same as it was pre-GFC, though these black alloys are a nice touch for the price.
There’s 400 litres of boot space, which is a little disappointing, given it’s 50 litres smaller than that of the Mirage sedan.
Fortunately, the rear seats fold down 60:40 if you need to lug around big things or just more stuff.
In their upright position the back seats pretty comfortable things. There are no air vents back here, but the centre armrest makes it pretty cosy for two.
The Lancer is pretty basic up front and plenty at the CarAdvice office have taken a stab at it. I actually don’t mind it though. Yes it’s simple, but it’s very user-friendly.
That is, after you’ve paired your phone via the voice-controlled Bluetooth system, which is one of the most convoluted on the market. The pain is temporary though, because after the first time it cleverly remembers you and hooks straight up automatically.
It is showing its age, however. There’s no reverse-view camera or rear sensors, no touchscreen, and no reach adjustment on the steering wheel.
There’s great visibility in here though thanks to the big windows and small.
The 2.0-litre engine is coarse and grainy, but it pulls really confidently, there’s plenty of punch down low and even on the highway it responds effortlessly when you pull out to overtake
The CVT is a pretty smooth and capable thing, though it can take a second to react to firm presses of the accelerator pedal, and occasionally shunts after you hit the throttle.
The ride lacks the sophistication of its more modern rivals. It falls heavily and loudly into holes and road joins and jitters over ripply surfaces.
Mitsubishi sweetens the deal with a five-year/100,000km warranty, and cheap servicing that will cost you just over $1000 for the first four years or 60,000km. You also get five years of roadside assistance if you service it at a Mitsubishi dealership.