In the words of the maker Mitsubishi, the Lancer has been 'tweaked' for the new year to include a revised model range with price cuts, more features, door mirrors with side repeater lamps, emergency stop flashers and a new style of door trims.
The Lancer is now available from just $18,990, plus on-road costs. That's for the ES Sport manual sedan, powered by a 110kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, while the sedans are topped out by the XLS manual at $26,490. Automatic transmission adds $2000 across the range.
The sporty Lancer GSR Sportback we road tested is powered by a 125kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and is available with a CVT automatic for $23,990, reduced from $25,240. Ours had the automatic transmission.
In keeping with its sports orientation, the Lancer GSR Sportback features 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, Ralliart front grille, side skirts, rear spoiler, sports front seats and sports drilled-look pedals.
The cabin offers strong protection in the event of an accident
Other standard features are a reversing camera, voice activated Bluetooth with audio streaming, climate-control air-conditioning, privacy glass, Smart Key, rain sensing wipers, dusk sensing lamps and a 6.1-inch full colour touchscreen with iPod compatibility.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The sporty 2.4-litre engine, with the choice of five-speed manual or a CVT with steering wheel paddle shifts, delivers a power output of 125kW and 226Nm of torque, making it one of the best non-turbos around.
Housed in Mitsubishi's innovative Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body, the cabin offers strong protection in the event of an accident.
Coupled with a raft of electronic safety features including active stability control, active traction control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution with brake assist technology, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters on the front, child restraint anchorage points and two Isofix child seat anchor points in the rear, it all adds up to a top five-star ANCAP safety rating.
One of the most instantly comfortable cars of any class
Price cuts could mean forgoing comfort and convenience, but the MY15 Mitsubishi Lancer GSR Sportback turned out to be one of the most instantly comfortable cars of any class I have come across.
The sporty spruce-up is no wasted effort, for with 125kW on tap from its 2.4-litre MIVEC motor, the Sportback is one of Australia's most powerful non-turbo hatches, and skips along very nicely thank you.
The automatic transmission offers infinitely variable gear ratios that allow the engine always to operate at the best of its ability, irrespective of vehicle speed.
A competent, value-for-money vehicle
Fuel consumption isn't too bad when you take the performance of the big four-cylinder into account. Our Lancer Sportback CVT test car clocked up 6.1L/100km on the motorway, while using just north of 11.0L/100km in the urban environment.
As with many so-called manual alternatives, Sports Mode allows the driver to take control of how the car performs, although there's more 'manual' than 'sport' about it here.
A glaring error is the positioning of the touch screen which can be affected by bright light coming through the windscreen. It's becoming a common fault as screens spread through the ranks of even the most inexpensive vehicles.