2017 Mitsubishi Lancer

2017 Mitsubishi Lancer

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.



EPA Fuel Economy Est – Hwy : MPG 33
Cruising Range – City : mi 372.00
EPA Fuel Economy Est – City : MPG 24
Fuel Economy Est-Combined : MPG 28
Cruising Range – Hwy : mi 511.50
EPA MPG Equivalent – City : N/A
EPA MPG Equivalent – Hwy : N/A
EPA MPG Equivalent – Combined : N/A
Battery Range : mi N/A

Fuel Tank

Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx : gal 15.5
Aux Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx : gal N/A

Cargo Area Dimensions

Trunk Volume : ft³ 12.3


Brake Type : N/A
Brake ABS System : 4-Wheel
Brake ABS System (Second Line) : N/A
Disc – Front (Yes or ) : Yes
Disc – Rear (Yes or ) : Yes
Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness : in 10.9
Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness : in 10.3
Drum – Rear (Yes or ) :
Rear Drum Diam x Width : in


Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year : 6.3
EPA Greenhouse Gas Score : N/A


Drivetrain : Front Wheel Drive
Trans Order Code :
Trans Type : 5
Trans Description Cont. : Manual w/OD
Trans Description Cont. Again :
First Gear Ratio (:1) : 3.83
Second Gear Ratio (:1) : 1.91
Third Gear Ratio (:1) : 1.33
Fourth Gear Ratio (:1) : 0.97
Fifth Gear Ratio (:1) : 0.78
Reverse Ratio (:1) : 3.58
Clutch Size : in N/A
Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1) : 3.94


EPA Classification : Compact Cars

Interior Dimensions

Passenger Capacity : 5
Passenger Volume : ft³ 93.5
Front Head Room : in 39.6
Front Leg Room : in 42.3
Front Shoulder Room : in 54.7
Front Hip Room : in 53.3
Second Head Room : in 36.9
Second Leg Room : in 36.1
Second Shoulder Room : in 54.3
Second Hip Room : in 54.1

Weight Information

Base Curb Weight : lbs 2888


Dead Weight Hitch – Max Trailer Wt. : lbs N/A
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Tongue Wt. : lbs N/A
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Trailer Wt. : lbs N/A
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Tongue Wt. : lbs N/A


Engine Order Code :
Engine Type : Regular Unleaded I-4
Displacement : 2.0 L/122
Fuel System : Sequential MPI
SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM : 148 @ 6000
SAE Net Torque @ RPM : 145 @ 4200


Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F (Primary) : 620
Maximum Alternator Capacity (amps) : 130

Cooling System

Total Cooling System Capacity : qts N/A


Suspension Type – Front : Strut
Suspension Type – Rear : Multi-Link
Suspension Type – Front (Cont.) : Strut
Suspension Type – Rear (Cont.) : Multi-Link
Shock Absorber Diameter – Front : mm N/A
Shock Absorber Diameter – Rear : mm N/A
Stabilizer Bar Diameter – Front : in N/A
Stabilizer Bar Diameter – Rear : in N/A


Front Tire Order Code :
Rear Tire Order Code :
Spare Tire Order Code :
Front Tire Size : P205/60HR16
Rear Tire Size : P205/60HR16
Spare Tire Size : Compact


Front Wheel Size : in 16 X 6.5
Rear Wheel Size : in 16 X 6.5
Spare Wheel Size : in Compact
Front Wheel Material : Aluminum
Rear Wheel Material : Aluminum
Spare Wheel Material : Steel


Steering Type : Rack-Pinion
Steering Ratio (:1), Overall : N/A
Lock to Lock Turns (Steering) : N/A
Turning Diameter – Curb to Curb : ft 32.8
Turning Diameter – Wall to Wall : ft N/A

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase : in 103.7
Length, Overall : in 182.1
Width, Max w/o mirrors : in 69.4
Height, Overall : in 58.3
Track Width, Front : in 60.2
Track Width, Rear : in 60.2
Min Ground Clearance : in 5.5
Liftover Height : in N/A



Engine: 2.0L MIVEC DOHC I-4
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
3.94 Axle Ratio
75-Amp/Hr 620CCA Maintenance-Free Battery w/Run Down Protection
130 Amp Alternator
3969# Gvwr
Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
Front Anti-Roll Bar
Electric Power-Assist Steering
15.5 Gal. Fuel Tank
Single Stainless Steel Exhaust
Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs and Brake Assist


Wheels: 16″ Two-Tone Alloy
Tires: P205/60R16 All Season
Steel Spare Wheel
Compact Spare Tire Mounted Inside Under Cargo
Clearcoat Paint
Body-Colored Front Bumper
Body-Colored Rear Bumper
Rocker Panel Extensions
Black Side Windows Trim and Black Front Windshield Trim
Body-Colored Door Handles
Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding and Turn Signal Indicator
Fixed Rear Window w/Defroster
Light Tinted Glass
Speed Sensitive Variable Intermittent Wipers
Fully Galvanized Steel Panels
Black Grille w/Chrome Surround
Trunk Rear Cargo Access
Auto Off Aero-Composite Halogen Daytime Running Headlamps
Front Fog Lamps


Radio: 140W AM/FM/CD/MP3 w/Display Audio -inc: 6.1″ touch panel, digital HD Radio, 4-speakers, steering wheel mounted audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth hands-free system controls
Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control and Radio Data System
Automatic Equalizer
Digital Signal Processor
Integrated Roof Antenna
2 LCD Monitors In The Front


Front Bucket Seats -inc: 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
60-40 Folding Bench Front Facing Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
Manual Tilt Steering Column
Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
Power Rear Windows
Front Cupholder
Rear Cupholder
Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
Remote Releases -Inc: Mechanical Cargo Access and Mechanical Fuel
Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
Automatic Air Conditioning
HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts
Glove Box
Driver Foot Rest
Interior Trim -inc: Piano Black Instrument Panel Insert, Piano Black Door Panel Insert, Chrome And Metal-Look Interior Accents
Full Cloth Headliner
Vinyl Door Trim Insert
Urethane Gear Shift Knob
Fabric Seating Surfaces
Day-Night Rearview Mirror
Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors
Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
Front Map Lights
Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor Mats
Carpet Floor Trim and Carpet Trunk Lid/Rear Cargo Door Trim
Cargo Space Lights
FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate
Smart Device Integration
Instrument Panel Covered Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
Power 1st Row Windows w/Driver 1-Touch Up/Down
Delayed Accessory Power
Power Door Locks
Systems Monitor
Trip Computer
Outside Temp Gauge
Digital/Analog Display
Seats w/Cloth Back Material
Manual Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
Front Center Armrest and Rear Center Armrest
1 Seatback Storage Pocket
Perimeter Alarm
Engine Immobilizer
2 12V DC Power Outlets
Air Filtration


Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
ABS And Driveline Traction Control
Side Impact Beams
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Low Tire Pressure Warning
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
Airbag Occupancy Sensor
Driver Knee Airbag
Rear Child Safety Locks
Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
Back-Up Camera

Mitsubishi Grand Lancer 2017 Interior

With an inexpensive interior and less-than-thrilling driving chops, the Lancer leaves much to be desired. The standard 148-hp four-cylinder pairs with front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual or optional CVT. A 168-hp four with all-wheel drive is optional. The base ES is bare bones but wallet-friendly. The SE offers heated seats; the SEL adds leather and rain-sensing wipers. All models get a standard rear view camera. Despite recent tweaks, the Lancer still trails its more modern competition.

Back to top