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2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC (All Wheel Control) Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC (All Wheel Control*)
ENGINE: 2.4-liter DOHC I-4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 168 ho @ 6,000 rpm/167 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
WHEELBASE: 103.7 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.1 x 69.4 x 58.3 in.
TIRES: P205/60R16
CARGO: 12.3 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 23 mph city/31 mpg highway/21.6 mpg test
CURB WEIGHT: 3,142 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Mazda3, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Sonic
STICKER: $22,805 (includes $805 delivery)
BOTTOM LINE: Despite its unceasing noisiness, the Mitsubishi Lancer is a good compact car. It has all the basics of a compact with the requisite modest sticker.

“What did you say?” was the standard question my wife and I kept asking each other as we were driving in the Mitsubishi Lancer. Granted, we’re aging a bit and our hearing’s going, but the big problem was the Lancer. It’s one of the noisiest compact cars I have driven. Granted, the Lancer is at a good price point, but how much would it add to the cost of the vehicle if they put in some more sound insulation?

Other than the noise, the restyled Lancer puts a fresh face on the road and offers a generally decent riding and driving experience. The fresh face comes via a restyled front end exterior design as well as a restyled front center console. For my tastes, the new front end, which incorporates the new Mitsubishi corporate face, looks better than the gaping radiator air intake of the previous design.

Inside, besides the new console that contains a USB port, there is a new display audio system with a 6.1-inch screen.

Under the hood is a 2.4-liter inline four that develops a healthy 168 horsepower and 167 lb.-ft. of torque. It drives the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Our tester was equipped with Mitsubishi’s AWC all-wheel drive system that modulated power distribution between the front and rear wheels. Unusual for a small car, the Lancer all-wheel drive system has a switch to allow moving among 2WD, 4WD and 4WD LOCK. (See what Mitsubishi has to say about AWC* below)

The Lancer has a remote keyless entry and a keyless “ignition switch” start/stop system. It gives the driver the same feel as with using a key, but there is no key.

Audio is good, with a 140-watt system and six speakers. Who needs more than that? It is very intuitive to make adjustments using the touch screen.

The HVAC system did its job efficiently as well. It’s a simple three-knob system for adjusting the temperature, fan speed, and direction of air flow. Some vehicles have such complicated procedures for accomplishing these simple tasks that you can almost freeze to death before you figure it out.

There is a basic instrument panel with tachometer, information panel and speedometer. Water temperature and fuel level gauges are part of the information panel, which can also be configured to include fuel economy, outside temperature and odometer readings and gear. Interior surfaces are hard, with a “basketball” pebbling finish.

Front seats are comfortable with good support around the kidneys and on the seat cushion. They heated very quickly. Even in the coldest weather we had to turn them off. The seats are manually adjustable, which is fine when there’s only one driver and one primary passenger. You set ‘em once and forget it.

Rear seats have decent leg and knee room, a bonus for the car’s size. There is a high center hump that makes it uncomfortable for larger passengers there. The center rear head restraint is lower than the outboard ones, which gives the driver a better rearward view.There’s a pull-down arm rest with a pair of cupholders. The rear seat backs also fold flat to increase cargo capacity, using a button located on the seat backs.

Overall, the Mitsubishi Lancer has a lot to offer for a compact car. I was disappointed by the overall noise lever, however.


Mitsubishi's revolutionary electronically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) system3 continually monitors the road and intelligently transfers power and braking to the wheels with the most traction to improve handing and performance—without compromising on efficiency. So whether you're driving on snow or ice, or simply demand topline performance on tight corners, you can rely on All-Wheel-Control to help keep you on track.

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