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2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE REview By John Heilig

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2014 Mitsubishi Lancer

By John Heilig
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

Reviewed Model: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE

Engine: 2.4-liter I4

Horsepower/Torque: 168 hp @ 6,000 rpm/167 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm

Transmission: CVT

Wheelbase: 103.7 in.

Length x Width x Height: 180.0 x 69.4 x 58.3 in.

Tires: P205/60R19

Cargo: 12.3 cu. ft.

Economy: 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23.9 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.

Curb Weight: 3,201 lbs.

Sticker: $22,940 (includes $795 destination, $1,450 options)

The Bottom Line: Lancer is a small, tinny compact with a noisy engine. While it is fun to drive on a road with sweeping turns, when it hits tighter turns it exhibits significant lean. Still, it is a four-door compact that does the job.

The EPA is such an interesting Federal agency. It has some arcane formula that classifies vehicles. For example, the Mitsubishi Lancer is considered a compact car. When in MY opinion it’s a larger subcompact. That is important, for deficiencies you might excuse in a subcompact become annoying in a compact.

Handling is one of those areas. Lancer is really fun to drive on a hill (or straight) with long, weeping turns. My wife and I went along my old commute to visit a country store and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Since my wife often complains about my driving on roads I like, this is a compliment to both me and the car.

But when I drove the Lancer on another trip on a road with tighter turns, it exhibited significant lean. Now, in a smaller car, this might be excusable, but in a bigger one, this apparent difference in handling attitude is striking.

Under the hood of Lancer is a 2.4-cylinder inline four rated at 168 horsepower. This is enough for all the tests we put the Lancer through. The biggest test was taking four adult makes, in comfort, to the local minor league baseball team’s park for some souvenirs (OK, bacon hate from the Iron Pigs). Nobody complained about rear seat legroom, and there was more than enough power to move us along with the traffic and to merge when needed.

Again though, ride quality is more like a light subcompact (even with more than 800 pounds of passengers). You can feel just about every road flaw, and Pennsylvania is loaded with road flaws.

For entertainment we had a radio. There was no USB or XM, and the FM couldn’t pull in the Philadelphia stations I like.

The front sears had little side support, although they were comfortable. They were manually adjustable for back angle and distance from the wheel. The rear seats offered decent leg room (at least the big guys didn’t complain). There is really only room for two passengers in the rear, although the Lancer is classified as a five-seater. The rear seat backs fold to increase cargo capacity from an already good 12.3 cubic feet, but the folded backs are higher than the trunk floor.

The HVAC system is a simple three-knob affair (temperature, fan speed and air direction) that worked well.

On the center console is a rocker switch that you can switch among 2WD, 4WD and Lock. Yes, the Lancer has capabilities in snow or heavy rain or simple off-road excursions.

At the base of the center stack, where the ash tray would be, is a small cubby that I used for a Bluetooth speaker. I laid the iPhone behind it, and this turned out to be a viable substitute for the audio system.

The small center console/arm rest also contained a 12-volt outlet, and there were the requisite number of cup holders located throughout the cabin.

While I complained about the Lancer at the beginning, I still feel it is a good subcompact car. It has to gain a few pounds and inches, in my opinion, to make it to being a true compact.

2014 The Auto Page