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In the car business, just as in life, respect is given when it’s earned. Consider the current Honda Civic: Ostensibly designed as an appliance to provide inexpensive and efficient transportation, it also delivers an engaging driving experience and holistic design that together transcend its humble mission statement. We respect that. The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer compact sedan, however, is a more conflicted proposition.

Updated for the 2016 model year with a revised front fascia, LED running lights, and an uptick in standard infotainment and connectivity options, the 2017 Lancer comes in four levels of trim, starting with the price-leading 2.0 ES (front-drive only with a standard five-speed manual; a CVT automatic adds $1000) and moving through the 2.4 ES AWC and the 2.4 SE AWC to the top-tier 2.4 SEL AWC. Powertrain specifics are pretty much called out in Mitsubishi’s naming scheme, but we’ll decipher anyway: All three of the latter trims employ a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT coupled with Mitsu’s AWC (All Wheel Control) four-wheel-drive system. For this test, Mitsubishi provided us with a top-tier Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC.

One benefit of starting with such a vehicle is that it doesn’t require much time messing with the order sheet. With a base MSRP of $22,930, our test car included automatic headlamps, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel, leather seating surfaces, automatic climate control, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, and a proximity key. The sole option was the $1500 Sun & Sound package, which adds a power glass sunroof and swaps out the stock six-speaker stereo for a 710-watt, nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Despite the glaring omission of a navigation system (that’ll set you back an additional $1800), the tested Lancer SEL packed a respectable amount of content for its $24,430 price.

Plastic Not So Fantastic

It’s when you climb behind the wheel of the Lancer that demerits begin to accrue. The steering column tilts but does not telescope. The touchscreen icons and a smattering of physical controls are so tiny that using them requires diverting too much attention from the road. Also, the short bottom cushions and generic sculpting of the seats make them pale in comparison to the comfortable thrones in a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3. The tiny trunklid opens to reveal a small space of only 12 cubic feet (also, the premium audio system and its trunk-mounted subwoofer crowd cargo volume by 0.5 cubic foot), which is less than the 15 cubes found in the Civic sedan or the 13 in the Toyota Corolla. The quality of the interior materials is also woefully below that of its competitors, as if Mitsubishi is sourcing its plastics from a couple of decades ago.

The 2.4-liter inline-four and CVT that motivated our test car’s 3237 pounds certainly had a tall task. Producing 168 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 167 lb-ft of torque at a reasonably lofty 4100 rpm, it feels coarse and dated in comparison with, say, the 170-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that Volkswagen uses in its Golf and Jetta to put either 184 or 199 lb-ft of torque on the table at as little as 1500 rpm. Even the Chevrolet Cruze has gone the turbo route, its 153-hp 1.4-liter turbo four supplying 177 lb-ft at 2000 rpm. Mitsubishi’s drivetrain more closely resembles that of the joyless Corolla, which tops the segment’s sales charts despite its weak, naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine with only 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft. Unfortunately for the Lancer, this CVT hasn’t adopted the latest stepped functions that make similar transmissions in the Civic and the Corolla less objectionable than in earlier iterations. Instead, it prompts the Lancer’s engine to swing for its 6500-rpm redline, where it drones on in an adenoidal tone.

At the track, this Lancer SEL got itself to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 16.2 at 88 mph. Those numbers trail the Honda Civic by 1.1 and 0.9 seconds. A VW Jetta with the 1.8 turbo also outperforms the Lancer, needing only 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph and 15.5 to cover the quarter-mile. A Toyota Corolla we tested turned in times of 9.5 seconds and 17.4, so the Lancer isn’t the laggard of this group. On the other hand, we observed 30 mpg in the Corolla but only 25 in the Lancer.

Doubling Down

One explanation for that discrepancy is the Lancer’s ace in the hole: its all-wheel-drive system. In addition to the obvious foul-weather benefits, we had high hopes that the system would aid our Lancer in delivering some of the sporty driving dynamics and elevated grip levels that made Mitsu’s AWD Lancer Evolution models of yore such a hoot to drive. Leaving it in the automatic setting (drivers can toggle among two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive automatic, and four-wheel-drive lock settings) elicited no driveline binding or complaints from the 215/45-18 Dunlop SP Sport 5000m high-performance all-season tires, but we can’t really say it introduced eye-opening levels of agility, either. We can see where the lock setting, along with a set of proper winter tires, would make this compact nearly unstoppable for those who want to get to the slopes while the snow is still flying. Unfortunately, the all-wheel-drive setup did little to imbue the Lancer’s aging chassis with competitive levels of grip. Registering 0.81 g on our 300-foot skidpad, it trailed the Golf (0.85 g), Mazda 3 (0.84 g), Civic (0.83 g), and Corolla (0.82 g). The steering also disappoints by being merely average, dashing hopes that its hydraulically assisted setup might feel better than the electrically assisted systems that competitors—and the front-wheel-drive Lancer—use.

Mitsubishi’s past offerings generated tons of affection, but its current lineup pales in comparison. By producing interesting and capable options like the Montero, Eclipse, and 3000GT (a.k.a. Dodge Stealth), not to mention multiple generations of the Lancer Evolution, it set expectations high. Mitsubishi once was the yin to Mazda’s yang in the realm of driver-oriented Japanese cars. Now, however, there’s no apparent effort to make the Lancer interesting anymore. If Mitsubishi hopes to regain our respect, it’s going to have to give its people the resources and the trust to resume their best work.

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  • 0L I4 DOHC, 16-valve, Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC)
  • Continuously Variable Transmission(CVT)
  • Tyres Size: P215/45R18
  • Horse Power : 168 HP @ 6000 rpm
  • Maximum Torque : 167 lb-ft @ 4100
  • Fuel tank Capacity: 14.5 gal.
  • Fuel type: Regular Unleaded




  • Auto-off Halogen Headlamps, Rear Combination tail lights
  • Fog lights with LED running lights
  • Color keyed heated power side-view mirrors with turn indicators
  • 18” two-tone Alloy Wheels
  • Heated side-view mirrors
  • Front windshield variable intermittent wipers
  • Rear window defroster with timer
  • Green laminated windshield
  • Roof carrier plug-in accommodation
  • Short pole antenna and high mounted rear stop light
  • Side air dams



  • Color LCD multi-information display
  • Front map lights
  • Centre dome light (n/a with sunroof)
  • Automatic air condition climate control
  • Micron air filtration
  • Steering Wheel audio controls, cruise control and bluetooth
  • Adjustable tilt steering wheel
  • Chrome Interior Door Handles
  • 4WD Drive Train Mode Indicator
  • Electric Windows, Front And Rear
  • Door Trim Pockets With Bottle Holder
  • Carpeted floor mats



  • Floor Centre Console Box with armrest lid
  • Rear seat centre armrest with cup holders
  • Front door storage pockets with bottle holders
  • Glove box
  • Power door locks and windows with driver’s auto up/down feature
  • FAST- key passive entry system with panic alarm feature
  • 1” Touch panel display audio system with rear view camera
  • Driver and passenger sun visors
  • Steering Wheel mounted Audio Control , Bluetooth hands-free system controls
  • Remote trunk and fuel lid release lever
  • Power Steering
  • 12v accessory outlets-2
  • Tilt & Telescopic Steering Column Adjustment



  • Wheelbase : 103.7”
  • Minimum Ground clearance : 5.8”
  • L x W x H: 182.1 x 69.4 x 58.3 inches
  • Curb weight: 3142 lbs.
  • GVW : 4190 lbs



  • Fabric Seat Trim
  • Seating Capacity: 5 Seats
  • Armrest, With Storage Box
  • Head Restraints, Height Adjustable
  • 6-way adjustable driver’s seat
  • 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • 60/40 Split Folding rear seat
  • Head Restraints, Height Adjustable
  • Recline And Tumble Fold Up Function
  • Centre Armrest With Cup Holders



  • 140-watts AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with 4 speakers
  • USB Input
  • Multi information display - includes trip computer, outside temperature, average fuel consumption, altimeter, barometer, date, timeBluetooth with music streaming




  • 4 wheel disc brakes
  • Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) with Anti-Lock Braking System and Brake Assist
  • Active Stability Control with Traction Control Logic
  • 7 standard airbags including driver’s knee airbag
  • 3 Point Seatbelts and head restraints for all seating positions
  • Child safety rear door locks
  • Anti-theft security alarm system
  • Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer
  • Trunk entrapment release handle




  • All weather Package
  • Interior package
  • LED Illumination Package
  • Navigation system package
  • Popular equipment package
  • Accy chrome door handle
  • Accy LED Fog lights
  • Accy rear wing spoiler
  • Accy roof rack crossbars
  • Accy wheel locks
  • Accy rear park assist sensor
Year: 2019
Condition: Brand New
Location: East Legon, Accra
Engine: 2.0L I4 DOHC, 16-valve
Exterior Color: modern steel
Interior Color: Agate Grey

Fuel Efficiency Rating

  • City: N/A
  • Highway: N/A

Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits and vehicle condition.

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