The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is a superb sedan that challenges the snooze cruisers of the segment. The big news for 2012 is the addition of an SE model featuring the company’s famed All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive system.
Engine and Performance
The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer (MSRP starting at $15,295) is offered in five trim levels – DE, ES, SE, GT and Ralliart – with three powertrains to satisfy diverse customer tastes. DE and ES trims come with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder that churns out 148 hp at 6,000 rpm and 145 lb/ft of torque at 4,200 rpm.
Select the SE or GT trim levels and a more powerful 2.4-liter inline-four sits under the hood with output of 168 hp at 6,000 rpm and 167 lb/ft of torque at 4,100 rpm.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the Ralliart churns out 237 hp at 6,000 rpm and 253 lb/ft of torque from a low of 2,500 rpm up to 4,750 rpm.
All three engine choices feature the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC). All trim levels except Ralliart offer either a five-speed manual transmission or a Continuously Variable Transmission (otherwise known as a CVT).
The Ralliart comes with a rapid-shifting six-speed automated manual Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission, essentially a retuned version of the Lancer Evolution’s drivetrain.
Fuel economy is strong across the lineup. The DE and ES are EPA-estimated to deliver 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission. With the CVT, ES fuel economy is 26 mpg city. The SE is rated at up to 29 mpg highway, and GT models with the CVT return an estimated 23 mpg city; when equipped with the five-speed manual, expect up to 31 mpg highway. Even the more powerful Ralliart impresses with 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Comfort and Value
All Lancers come standard with a four-speaker, 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with digital signal processor, speed-compensated volume and equalization control. Other standard equipment includes chrome trim, MicronAIR® cabin air filtration, remote keyless entry, an anti-theft engine immobilizer and auto-off halogen headlamps with daytime running lights.
The ES trim level features a chrome front grille, color-keyed side-view mirrors and door handles, air conditioning, rear-seat heater ducts, an auxiliary audio input jack and steering wheel audio and cruise controls.
The big value with the SE trim level is Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive system. The SE also includes heated front seats and side mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and premium interior fabric, plus a chrome lower grille and rear badge.
Value-priced performance is the hallmark of the GT trim level. It adds the eye-catching front fascia from the Lancer Ralliart, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels and magnesium steering wheel paddleshifters. Other standard features on the GT include the FAST-Key electronic keyless entry and starting system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shiftknob, sport front bucket seats, Fuse Handsfree Link System™ with USB port and a six-speaker audio system.
The Ralliart is focused on high-powered performance and features many of the advanced performance technologies found on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It comes with full-time All-wheel Control with Active Center Differential (with Tarmac/Gravel/Snow settings), and front helical and rear mechanical limited-slip differentials. Hill-Start Assist is also standard. Other highlights include an available Touring Package with leather seating surfaces, a power glass sunroof, rearview camera, Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system.
Lancer Safety Features
Every Lancer model includes the Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body structure for increased rigidity, Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL), advanced, dual-stage front airbags, plus a driver's knee airbag, front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side-impact head protection curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. No wonder the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded select Lancer models the "Top Safety Pick" designation since 2008.
History of Value
CarandDriver.com sums it up nicely by saying, “...the Lancer also appears to be one of the best compact sedans on the market, period.” Mitsubishi brings a long track record of delivering value packed vehicles with high levels of standard equipment to the world marketplace. Stop by for a test drive and see which model works best for you.