KBB Editors’ Overview
By KBB.com Editors – Updated Date: 7/31/2013
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer lineup of compact cars isn’t the freshest in the industry, but it’s certainly one of the most diverse. With a sporty sedan, versatile hatchback and race-worthy Evolution rally car – not to mention turbochargers, all-wheel-drive capability and innovative transmissions – there’s a Lancer flavor to suit a variety of tastes. Competitors such as the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze boast better fuel economy and larger dealer networks, but few compact cars can match the sporty nature and something-for-everyone personality offered by the Lancer.
You’ll Like This Car If…
If you’re looking for a sporty, sharp-handling compact car that stands out from the crowd and comes with a comprehensive warranty, the Mitsubishi Lancer deserves a look. If you want your morning commute to feel like a World Rally Championship special stage, the Evo is your ride.
You May Not Like This Car If…
You won’t find a bevy of creature comforts like ventilated front seats or watchful safety features such as blind-spot monitoring in the aging Lancer lineup. For the latest in tech, safety and comfort features, look to models like the Kia Forte, Mazda3, or Chevrolet Cruze – all of which offer better fuel efficiency, too.
What’s New for 2014
Mitsubishi has dropped the base DE Lancer sedan from the menu, with the slightly costlier but better-equipped ES now the entry model. New audio and navigation systems arrive across the board, along with minor interior changes on select trims.
Driving ItDriving Impressions
With power output that ranges from 148 horsepower to a turbocharged 291, engine choice has a profound impact on the Lancer driving experience. That said, the whole lineup favors responsiveness, balance and driver involvement. All-wheel-drive models, including the well-priced Lancer SE, are especially adept at clinging to pavement when thrown into corners. Even front-wheel-drive models such as the mid-range GT model we tested are impressively composed and grippy. The slightly smoother and quieter ES is well-suited to around-town driving duties, though it still talked to us about the road surface and what the tires were doing. The pinnacle performer is the Evo, which has screaming acceleration and black hole-like adhesion. The Evo feels rally-ready, but be warned: Its utterly stiff ride will jar your back and your brain. A happier medium is the all-wheel-drive Lancer Ralliart, which offers turbocharged thrills and a more compliant ride.
ROCKFORD-FOSGATE SOUND SYSTEM Mitsubishi’s premium sound system of choice is loud, proud and clean in sound. This available audio system packs nine speakers and 710 watts of rocking pleasure.
6-SPEED AUTO-SHIFTING TRANSMISSION In Mitsubishi’s parlance, it’s a TC-SST, that alphabet soup standing for Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission. To us it’s just an excellent automatic (with manual-shift mode) that rifles through gears faster than we ever could.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer’s sharp and modern exterior styling does not extend into its cabin. Here, the Lancer is showing its age, and bland, cheap plastic doesn’t help. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel on all models makes it harder to find a perfect fit. Evo editions have well-bolstered, low-sitting Recaro seats up front, but without height adjustment, shorter drivers will struggle to see over the dash. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob make GT and Ralliart trims more appealing. The most versatile Lancer of the bunch is the Sportback, which delivers 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.
The Lancer stands out from other compact sedans with its angular, sporty design, and aggressive snout and forward stance. A rear spoiler and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels add to the athletic character of GT and Ralliart models. Lancer Evolution models take the aggressiveness to another level with flared and vented fenders, two big exhaust outlets, and a massive rear spoiler on GSR trims. The Evo is slightly lower and shorter, but with an extended wheelbase and width for better handling. Perhaps the most stylish Lancer is also the most functional: the Sportback wagon with its sloping rear hatch.
Notable Standard Equipment
Even the least-expensive Lancer offers decent features for its price of just under $18,000. Included are keyless entry and auto-off headlights. The SE costs a few thousand more but includes an automatic transmission, a stronger engine, all-wheel drive, 6.1-inch touch-screen audio, and heated front seats. Ralliart models feature an excellent turbocharged engine and a more sophisticated version of Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive system, while Evo models are performance-minded with 291 horsepower, Brembo brakes and customizable all-wheel-drive. Lancers come with a 5-year/60,000-mile transferable warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, except for Ralliart and Evo editions, which trim those to 3-year/36,000 miles and 5-year/60,000 miles.
Notable Optional Equipment
Many of the extras available for the Lancer are wrapped into packages that vary by trim. Base models can be spruced up with a hands-free communication system, 6-speaker audio system, and rear disc brakes in favor of the older drum type. Higher trims can be outfitted with a power sunroof, Rockford-Fosgate premium sound with a 10-inch trunk-mounted subwoofer, navigation, HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights, and leather seating.
Under the Hood
A bevy of 4-cylinder engines and transmission choices are available across the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer lineup. ES models are the least potent, with a 2.0-liter engine that makes 148 horsepower, still adequate for most duties. SE and GT models are endowed with a larger engine and 168 horsepower. Ralliart models boast a turbocharged engine that makes 237 horsepower, enough to make this car very quick, while shrieking-fast Evos are tuned to churn out 291 horsepower. The twin-clutch automatic transmission of those latter two models feels superb, but the continuously-variable automatic transmission available in other models is surprisingly refined. If you opt for the performance-oriented Ralliart or Evo models, be ready to pay extra at the pump for premium gasoline to satisfy their thirsty turbo engines.
2.0-liter inline-4 148 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm 145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic), 24/32 mpg (Sportback)
2.4-liter inline-4 168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm 167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic), 22/29 mpg (Sportback and SE sedan)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 237 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm 253 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,750 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 291 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm 300 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg (manual), 17/22 mpg (automatic)
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Review
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $17,990 for an ES model with a 5-speed manual transmission. GT and SE models are a few thousand more but offer many extras for the money. Stepping up to the Ralliart turbocharged model requires just over $29,000, while the Evolution will set you back nearly $36,000 and can reach over $40,000 with options. At these prices, the Lancer competes with everything from the less expensive Kia Forte on the low end to an Audi A4 luxury sedan on the Evolution end of the spectrum. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Resale value is expected to be in line with compact sedan rivals like the Nissan Sentra and Kia Forte, but below that of segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza.