The latest version of the Mitsubishi Lancer has recently arrived in South Africa, and while many are eagerly awaiting its big brother, the Evo X, the Lancer shows that it won’t have its limelight taken away that easily.The Lancer will be available with a choice of two d-o-h-c 16-valve engines – the 1,5-litre GLX and the 2,0-litre GLS. The 1,5-litre unit delivers an output of 80 kW at 6 000 r/min and 143 N.m at 4 000r/min, while the top-of-the-range 2,0-litre offers 114 kW at 6000 r/min and 199 N.m at 4 250 r/min. The more modest 1,5-litre accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 11,8 seconds and on to a top-speed of 194 km/h. It takes the 2,0-litre 9,4 seconds to go from standstill to 100 km/h on the way to a top speed of 200 km/h. Both versions feature Mitsubishi’s MIVEC variable valve timing system, and both powerplants are mated with a five-speed manual gearbox.
The suspension set up in the new Lancer is a revised version of that featured on the outgoing model, with MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link set up at the rear. Being the sportier of the two variants, the 2,0-litre is assisted by anti-roll bars in the front and rear, and hydraulically assisted rack and pinion steering. The 1,5-litre model features electrical power steering assistance. The tank capacity of both models has grown from the previous car’s 50 litres to a more useable 59-litre capacity.
With a less aggressive stance than the upcoming EvoX, the Lancer aims to be more conservative, taking a tilt for the market currently ruled by the likes of the Ford Focus and VW Golf. Thankfully, the Lancer’s edgy styling means will not vanish in the crowd too easily. It has a prominent grille and what Mitsubishi calls “shark nose and deep-set eyes”. The clear-lens headlights sit underneath the bonnet, while the black diamond mesh covering the low-slung air intake gives the Lancer a sporty look. The side mirrors and door handles are colour coded, and 16-inch five-spoke alloys, shod with 205/60/16 tyres, occupy the flared wheel arches.
According to Mitsubishi, the entry-level 1,5-litre version has been designed to suit the pocket of the “price-sensitive” buyer. The standard equipment on the 1,5-litre model includes air conditioning, power windows at the front and rear, electrically assisted rack and pinion steering, and an MP3 compatible CD player. The main instruments feature matte chrome bezels and are ergonomically situated. The flagship 2,0-litre GLS adds luxuries of full climate control, audio controls on the steering wheel, a 60/40 split rear seat and inner door handles finished in chrome. The boot capacity for both versions stands at 400 dm³.
Safety features include an alarm/ immobiliser system, dual-stage airbags, three point seatbelts, and high-powered all-disc braking systems.
The 1,5-litre GLX wears a R159 900 price tag, while the 2,0-litre GLS will set you back R 175 000. These prices include a 5-yr/100 000 km service plan.