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Mitsubishi Lancer LX vs Ford Focus Ambiente

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Mitsubishi Lancer LX and Ford Focus Ambiente go head to head in this comparative review.

3 stars

VALUE from $19,990

3 stars

VALUE from $23,990

Ambiente models have airconditioning, reach and rake adjustable steering, power windows, manual seat adjustment, cloth trim, 16-inch steel wheels, trip computer, steering wheel controls for the phone and sound system.

 

The LX offsets its age with an upgraded features list over the ES on which it is based, with climate control, Bluetooth (phone and audio link), a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, touchscreen sound system, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloys, heated front seats and leather trim.

3.5 starsTECHNOLOGY 3.5 starsTECHNOLOGY

The Focus's 1.6-litre engine claims 92kW/159Nm with five-speed manual or six-speed double-clutcher. The base model includes SYNC infotainment connectivity, USB and auxiliary inputs, digital music player support, Bluetooth mobile phone integration with voice.
 

The 2.0-litre alloy powerplant in the Lancer has the company's long-running MIVEC variable-timing and lift system for the intake side, producing 110kW/197Nm with five-speed manual or CVT auto. Other gizmo highlights include the touchscreen control for the audio and phone.

3.5 stars

DESIGN

4 starsDESIGN
One of the better-looking small cars in the segment, the Focus has a sharper, more modern flowing design theme. Ford says it has listened to customers about things like shifting the indicator stalk to the right-hand side -- well done, Ford -- but the dash switchgear layout feels fussy.
 
Squared-off and squinting, the Lancer has carried the look for more than a few years and to some it's still a decent-looking vehicle. Inside it's an Essendon fan's paradise -- black and red dominate the comfortable cabin, which easily fits two adults and two children.
4 starsSAFETY 4 starsSAFETY

ANCAP awarded five stars on the Focus, given its six airbags (dual front, front-side and full-length curtain), anti-lock brakes (with brakeforce distribution, emergency stop flash and brake assist) and stability control. There's also a hill start assist.

Lancer was one of the first small cars to rate five stars with ANCAP -- it now has seven airbags, front, front-side, curtain and one for the driver's knee -- as well as stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and emergency brake assist.

3.5 starsDRIVING 3.5 starsDRIVING

The little Ford lacks sports badging but sits nicely on the road, punting through bends on open roads better than the segment average, with a quiet and refined drivetrain as well. The 1.6 is no firecracker but it is more flexible than first impressions suggest.

Time in the little manual Lancer was far from the anticipated bland drive. The engine's lively, if not quite as refined or smooth as competitors. The five-speed manual is a reasonable gearbox. Ride quality in this kid-carter is reasonable, as is handling.
OVERALL STAR RATING FINAL POINTS
4 stars image
OVERALL STAR RATING FINAL POINTS
4 stars image  
 

Verdict

The Mitsubishi Lancer, waiting for a successor, slugs it out while the Focus shows its refinement and chassis dynamics. The twin-clutch automated manual in the Ford clinches the deal over the Lancer's CVT.

 

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