Mitsubishi Lancer used review | 2007-2013

8 May 2015
 by 
, CarsGuide

It seems the Lancer has been around forever, much like the Toyota Corolla, but unlike the small Toyota it has never commanded a lot of attention from buyers.

Those who know recognise it as a solid, well-built, reliable small car that makes sense, but it's a car that has blended into the background rather than stand out from the crowd.

NEW

The CJ model that arrived in 2007 was a big step forward for the Lancer with a longer wheelbase and wider track, more room inside and more equipment.

Ignoring the hero sports model, the Evo, the models that were aimed at the mainstream were the ES entry level, the VR mid-ranger, and the sporty VR-X. Fresh styling was clean and attractive, although the cabin was still a touch bland.

There was enough room inside to accommodate five adults in comfort, the seating was comfortable, and the layout was neat and easy to navigate. Initially the only body style available was a sedan, but a hatch was added a year later.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine was the main power source, and it put out 113 kW and 198 Nm and made it a solid performer in the class. The transmission options available with the 2.0-litre were a five-speed manual and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) as the automatic choice.

A six-speed sports mode had the CVT feeling more like a manual, which made it crisper and less soggy as CVTs can be.

A larger, 2.4-litre four was added to the range in 2008, and was the engine that powered the VR-X. At its peak it produced 125 kW and 226 Nm to give the sporty Lancer the performance it needed.

On the road the larger footprint from the longer wheelbase and wider track gave the Lancer a reassuring stability and balance. Compared to the outgoing model the CJ was quieter, more comfortable, and smoother.

On the safety front, the CJ boasted electronic stability control in its five-star safety package.

NOW

The Lancer follows a well-proven formula, there's nothing that should be cause for alarm by anyone contemplating buying one as a used car.

Owners report it is as well built and reliable

Almost all owners sing its praise. All report it as well built and reliable. The only complaints that crop up are about tyre noise, which some rate as high, and the cheap and cheerful interior.

Without major concerns focus instead on the general wear and tear items that come with age no matter the make or model. Inspect for oil or coolant leaks around the engine, listen for noises that seem out of place, and check for the all-important service record.

Mitsubishi recommends intervals of one-year or 15,000 km between services, and while that makes it easier on the hip pocket, some would say it's too long between oil changes.

Sludge is the enemy of all engines, but modern engines more so with their tight tolerances and tiny oil galleries. Old time mechanics would say it would better to change oil at around 10,000 km intervals.

When driving a Lancer equipped with the CVT transmission observe for any shuddering or hesitation on take-of that might suggest an issue. If in doubt have an experienced mechanic drive the car for you.

Verdict 

SMITHY SAYS

A solid and reliable all-rounder that makes sensible used car buying.

OWNERS SAY

Robert Jackson: I have had my CJ ES Lancer for six years and it has done 95,000 km and not missed a beat in all that time. My only complaint is that it is a little bland inside, but I can live with that.

Alan White: I've owned a 2011 VR-X for four years and it's fantastic. It's smooth, reliable, efficient, and the handling is fantastic. My only criticism is that the interior is quite plasticky.

Terry Roberts: We bought a 2010 Lancer hatch CVT new and we're very pleased with it. In my opinion the Lancer is right up Corolla in reliability terms.

Tyler Easton: I bought a 2008 Lancer ES for its 5-star safety, reliability, solid drivetrain, 15,000 km service intervals, and its generous warranty. I accept that it does not steer as well as some other cars, and the interior is very plain and basic, but it has now done 100,000 trouble free km. The only thing I would knock is the road noise.

OTHERS TO CONSIDER

  • Honda Civic – 2007-2013 Well regarded for its design integrity and build quality, the Civic sits high on the list of best small cars. Pay $6500-$24,500.
     
  • Mazda3 – 2007-2013 Built on good build quality, fuel-efficient engines, and great road manners, the Mazda3's market performance has been stunning. Pay $6500-$32,500.
     
  • Hyundai Elantra – 2007-2013 No longer the cars for the poverty stricken, the new generation Hyundais are worth their place of your shopping list. Pay $5500-$23,000.
     

COMING UP

Do you own a Toyota Prado? If so tell us what you think of it by sending your comments to Graham Smith at grah.smith@bigpond.com or Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW, 2010.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2007-2013
Price new: $20,990 to $28,990
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 113 kW/198 Nm; 2.4-litre 4-cyl, 125 kW/226 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed man, 6-speed CVT, FWD
Economy: 8.1 L/100 km (2.0), 8.5 L/100 km (2.4)
Body: 4-door sedan, 5-door hatch
Variants: ES, VR, VR-X
Safety: 5-star ANCAP

Expect to pay:
$5500 to $15,500 for the ES sedan
$8000 to $17,000 for the VR sedan
$8500 to $23,000 for the VR-X sedan

Mitsubishi Lancer ES 2007.

Mitsubishi Lancer used review | 2007-2013

What we like

  • Solid and reliable all-rounder

What we don't

  • Bland interior

Key Features

  • Family Friendly
  • Value

Rivals

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