Mitsubishi Lancer GT 2016 – review

In Focus

Mitsubishi Lancer GT 2016 – review

Oct 1, 2015

The trouble with that old trope about “breaking through the noise” is that it rarely acknowledges context. For example, it’s at least possible to raise your voice loud enough to drown out others—if you’re in the same room. Mitsubishi is trying to do just that in the compact-car segment with some updates for its Lancer sedan, but in spite of a rather reasoned argument built on generous standard features and affordable pricing, will it be heard? After all, having sold just 16,495 Lancers last year—compared to 325,981 Honda Civics moved during the same period—is Mitsubishi even in the same room as its myriad compact-sedan competitors?



Mitsubishi’s sales jumped to 77,643 last year from 62,227 the year before, largely thanks to its crossovers and the Mirage, bringing the company a step or two back from the brink here in the U.S. Even so, Lancer sales were down from the year before. Enter the 2016 Lancer, which inherits a redesigned front fascia with ever-fashionable LED running lights, as well as enhanced standard equipment. The basic ES model comes with Bluetooth, automatic climate control, fog lights, and aluminum wheels for $17,595 (not including destination charges, which Mitsubishi hasn’t shared yet), and it is now available with all-wheel drive for $2400. The uplevel SE carries over its standard all-wheel drive, heated seats, and backup camera. Mitsubishi has added a new SEL trim level this year; it has all-wheel drive and adds leather upholstery, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Buyers looking for something a bit sportier can still step into a Lancer GT, which benefits from larger brakes, a sportier suspension tune, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and a sunroof. The turbocharged Ralliart model is gone. Every model receives a new center console, and the ES and SE have updated seat fabrics. While a five-speed manual transmission is standard on front-wheel-drive models, every Lancer is available with a CVT automatic. Said to be new, the CVT is promised to reduce noise while offering better drivability than last year’s unit, and it is required if you want four driven wheels.

The ES still is powered by a 148-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder, while the all-wheel-drive version uses the more powerful, 168-hp 2.4-liter engine from the SE, SEL, and GT. These engines remain somewhat efficient, with the front-drive ES mustering 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with a stick, the city figure inexplicably 1-mpg lower than last year; the CVT improves the 2.0-liter’s economy by 1 and 2 mpg city/highway, to 27/36 mpg. The front-drive 2.4-liter GT sees its EPA estimates both rise by 1 mpg, to 24/31 mpg, while the all-wheel-drive versions improve by 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway, to 23 and 31 mpg.


Again, it bears repeating that these are all welcome improvements, but they’re subtle enough to make it clear that Mitsubishi’s volume knob is twirled by the number of crossovers it sells.



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