Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback 2008 - 2011

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback 2008 - 2011

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • A great car to drive
  • A well-optimised diesel version
  • Easy to find a low-mileage example

Cons:

  • Not very comfortable
  • No decent petrol engines to choose from
  • The interior design lacks imagination

Overview

Mitsubishi Lancer is a medium size family car that tends to be popular with people who dont like flashy cars, but instead prefer an unpretentious sporty style. The generations of the Lancer are quite difficult to understand. The Lancers story started in 1973 and there have been nine standard generations manufactured since this date with a further 10 generations of sports variant (the EVO rally modification). Although the two cars look similar, the Evo is a completely different car which is why we have reviewed it separately. The Lancer was discontinued from the UK market in 2011 although it still remains for sale in the US and across the Asia region. Lancers have never sold well in Britain. For that youd expect it to be a real bargain. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A used Mitsubishi Lancer is an expensive car to buy and it will cost you as much as a used Audi A4. The only saving grace is that the used Lancers usually come with a very low mileage something that you cannot say about the used Audis. If youre after a car in immaculate condition and you dont mind the slightly questionable image, a Lancer could be good value for the money.

Exterior and Interior

The latest Lancer is quite an accomplished car. It is typically Japanese and if its your type of design, youre bound to love it. Its hardly a beautiful car and its interior is rather simplistic, however, it still has the road presence and ticks all the right boxes. The latest Lancer car started out in 2005 as a concept X. In 2007 the family version went on sale to be followed by the Evo X a year later. For the first couple of years the Lancer was supplied with a sedan body type. In 2009 it was replaced by a hatchback version dubbed the Sportback by the designers. The interior is dominated by black fabric and silvery plastic. The shapes are uncomplicated while the materials are top quality. The car lacks comfort compared to similar German vehicles.

Performance and Economy

Its quite an easy choice. The 2.0-litre diesel is the best option. The small 1.5-litre engine is way too weak for a large family car. With the 1.8-litre modification, you have to decide whether 9 extra horses that come with it are worth the significant dip in fuel economy. Its a pity the proper 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre MiVEC petrol engines are not available in the UK. Nevertheless, the old 2.0-litre diesel is much better as you would expect from a VW diesel engine. Its power and torque chart is so well optimised that youll soon forget youre driving a diesel. In terms of fuel economy yo should be able to achieve 44mpg, although you might expect more from a car with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The tiny petrol engines in such a big car sound miserable. They sound even more miserable when paired with a CVT (continuous variable transmission). Although it doesnt increase the fuel consumption by a great margin, the engine clearly struggles with the CVT.

Like to Drive

The Lancer offers excellent grip, its ride is slightly firm and bouncy. It may look slightly boring but the powerful diesel with the sporty 6-speed gearbox actually makes for an enjoyable experience. Its not a patch on the Lancer Evo though, as the car feels a little heavy and clumsy.

Faults and Repairs

The standard Lancers are often chosen by unpretentious drivers which is why the majority of these cars end up on the used car market in a good state. Expect some small niggles with the cheap silvery plastic interior parts, but overall its a reliable car. The 2.0-litre Volkswagen diesel is a legend an you would have to really misuse it to make it break.