If you think this looks a lot like a 2007 Lancer you're right. The pity is it's a 2014 model and despite new models from its key rivals, Mitsubishi has no small-car replacement in sight. Reflecting the move with the perennial Pajero - which is ostensibly unchanged since 1999 - the Lancer may not be replaced until 2015.
The next Lancer will be based, loosely, on the Concept CA-MiEV four-door hatch shown at this year's Shanghai motor show. Once one of Australia's most popular small cars, the Lancer now holds a 4.8 per cent market share in the year to date, down from 6.8 per cent for the same period in 2012. By comparison, the Mazda3 has an 18.1 per cent market share.
Mitsubishi this week announced no specification changes - other than alloy wheels for the base model and a bigger touch screen in others - to Lancer models for 2014 but at least has kept the lid on price rises. The Lancer continues with its three-level specification - ES, LX and VRX - in sedan and Sportback styles with entry-level versions starting at $19,990.
Drivetrains are unchanged, with a 110kW/197Nm 2-litre petrol four in the ES and LX and a 125kW/226Nm 2.4-litre petrol four in the VRX. No diesels or hybrids are available though the Concept CA-MiEV is a plug-in hybrid using the same drivetrain as the Outlander PHEV, indicating a Lancer petrol-electric is on the horizon.
The Lancer Ralliart remains on the list with a detuned version of the Evolution turbo-petrol engine, now rated at 177kW/343Nm, mated to a dual-clutch automatic. The only change from 2013 to 2014 is the addition of a 7-inch touch screen in the VRX and Ralliart, up from the previous year's 6.1-inch screen.
But though Mitsubishi appears to be treading water with its familiar product range - only the Mirage and Outlander can be termed all new - the company is lifting market share. Sales are up 36.9 per cent in the year to July 30 compared to the same period in 2012, buoyed by a simplified model line-up and reduced prices on selected vehicles such as Triton and Outlander. Triton 4WD ute sales, for example, are up 66 per cent on 2012.
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