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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT 2.4L Review By Steve Purdy

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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer GT

By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

When Suzuki left the U.S. market last year some of us were concerned that Mitsubishi might follow. The product line remains limited, barely keeping up with modernity, and total sales aren’t substantial enough to inspire confidence. But, here we are, still reviewing (and liking) Mitsu products – this week the Lancer GT compact, front-wheel drive sedan.

Our Lancer GT tester is the middle trim level of the five Lancer models. With a base price of $19,995 it comes quite well equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, the larger of two 4-cylinder engines, stability and traction control, sport suspension tuning, automatic climate control, steering wheel controls for audio and cruise, tilt leather steering wheel, leather shift knob, automatic halogen headlamps, fog lamps, roar spoiler, exhaust finisher (chrome tip), and plenty of airbags. For the price we find the Lancer GT to be reasonably well equipped.

I like the exterior styling and design of the Lancer GT with its bold, aggressive stance, gaping grille, large rear wing and 18-inch aluminum wheels. The lack of the now-trendy low, sloped roofline means it’s easier to get into and out of because the roof is higher. At least in my view, that more traditional sedan profile (as opposed to the trend of simulating a coupe that is popular now) is pleasing and attractive. One substantial drawback at least in perceived quality is the remarkably tinny sound of the doors opening and closing.

The cockpit inspires no awe but does its job fairly well. Materials, fit and finish are good, and the design is simple. Perhaps too many hard surfaces and a plain-Jane design give it an uninteresting feel. Our test car has black fabric on the seats that appears durable and of good quality. Seats are comfortable and big enough for this oversized reviewer.

Our test car, we were pleased to see, came with a 5-speed manual transmission rather than the more common CVT (continuously variable transmission). The feel of the clutch and shifter are not particularly sporty or quick but competent. This is not a performance car, after all, and it does not feel like one, though it does look like one. It feels like an economy car, though when pushed it personality flourishes a bit. As an enthusiast I much prefer any manual to a CVT.

Rear seat room is very good and the backs fold 60/40, though the resulting opening into the small trunk is remarkably restricted. Mitsu gets a big demerit for hiding the rear seatback release buttons on the inboard side of each headrest obscured under the shoulder belt strap. I had to go to the manual to figure that one out. They get another demerit for the heavy and awkward trunk lid.

Lancer can be equipped with a choice of two four-cylinder engines – a 2.0-liter and this 2.4-liter. The Lancer Ralliart gets a turbo version of the 2.0 engine. (Look for our review of the quick and fun Ralliart from a couple years ago.) The 2.4 in our test car makes a modest, but adequate, 167 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque and is rated by the EPA at 26-mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. Most Lancers will be delivered with the CVT. The fuel tank holds 15.5 gallons making for a decent cruising range. We managed an average of 26.5-mpg this week with a mix of highway and city driving and an admittedly spirited style.

Suspension is well-balanced and features more agility than some competitors. The lack of a modern level of sound deadening in the chassis and body results in more road noise than most small cars. We didn’t notice it with smooth pavement but it’s spring here in Michigan and the roads are breaking up so we traversed plenty of rough surfaces.

Mitsubishi’s warranty covers the Lancer for 5 years or 60,000 miles and the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

So many of Lancer’s direct competitors – Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Jetta, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, Honda Civic and many others – are newly redesigned and more up-to-date technologically. COMPARE Nearly every mainstream manufacturer has fresh product in the compact sedan category. In spite of that, I found the Lancer fun and gratifying to spend time with. I especially like the exterior styling finding it dramatic and aggressive. That view, of course, is rather subjective.

Let’s see what you think.

©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved