SPEAK NO EVO
2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Aug 25, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Reed Berry When it comes to the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE, I can honestly say that of all the cars I’ve ever driven, this is certainly one of them. As an automotive journalist, I frequently get to road test some really sweet rides – colorful, sporty, powerful cars that provide much driving enjoyment and, in many cases, turn quite a few heads. Every now and then, however, it seems like a less exciting car is slipped in just to cleanse the palate – an automotive version of lemon sorbet, if you will – between really cool cars. That’s the way I feel about this particular Lancer. Aside from a chiseled, relatively handsome front end, the car is not really a grabber. Overall, the body styling is a bit blah. I think the Mitsubishi design team could learn a thing or two from some of the other new vehicles on the market that feature smooth flowing lines and have been meticulously designed for maximum eye appeal. The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are examples that quickly come to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Mitsubishi hater. Who wouldn’t have wanted to trade places with Paul Walker in “2 Fast 2 Furious” as he tore up the streets in a sporty, exceptionally fast Lancer Evolution? The “Evo” is a high-performance turbocharged sports car version of the Lancer. Bold styling gives the car a great look, a powerful engine provides impressive speed and being featured in major films and popular television series seems to have created quite a demand for the Evo.
As I make my way inside this Lancer, however, things don’t appear to be improving. The interior is dark and rather bland, and there is more plastic inside this car than in a roomful of Beverly Hills housewives. Sadly, it makes me feel almost as though I am reviewing a rental car. On the brighter side, the interior is quite spacious offering ample leg and headroom for front and rear seat occupants. Lancer is a four-door sedan, so all passengers enjoy easy access to the vehicle. The seating is fairly comfortable and the front seats are heated to keep you nice and warm during periods of cold weather. Rear seat passengers don’t have that luxury but, in fairness, there are rear heater floor ducts to keep them comfortable, as well. The center console and armrest unit is functional and intelligently sized so as not to crowd the driver or front seat passenger. I have found one feature I like simply by looking up. My test vehicle is equipped with a power sunroof which I plan on taking advantage of right away. A sunroof (or moonroof, depending on the vehicle) is a nice addition to any car, but particularly in a car with a dark interior because it gives one the opportunity to bring more natural light into the vehicle. I find the added light invigorating during a lengthy drive or when stuck in traffic.
The sunroof is not standard on this model, however. It is part of a $1,500 “premium package” that also includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, as well as a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate Punch premium sound system with nine speakers and a subwoofer. I certainly don’t mean to rain on the parade, but based on the fairly conservative vehicle that this car appears to be, I would suggest that this is probably a little more sound than the type of person that would drive this car would actually need. Unless the driver is a serious audiophile, the standard four-speaker sound system would probably suffice. Lancer does have plenty of enthusiasm. It’s not the powerful Evo, but doesn’t really have to be. From a performance standpoint, Lancer does have some impressive characteristics. A 2.4-liter four cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission really gets the job done. 168 horses under the hood certainly doesn’t make this the fastest car on the road, but acceleration is quick and confident and there is ample power to pass slower moving vehicles with ease. Another check in the plus column is that this is an all-wheel drive vehicle. Granted, most of us don’t need all-wheel drive for everyday driving situations, but all-wheel drive will provide excellent traction in just about any driving scenario including snowy weather. Lancer has a drive mode selector that allows you to switch from two-wheel to four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive vehicles tend to be a little heavier, but the benefits outweigh (no pun intended) the small sacrifice in fuel economy.
The ride is smooth without being too soft, and handling is crisp. Standard on each Lancer model are stability and traction control as well as four-wheel antilock brakes. This model has a front stabilizer bar and a solid suspension system consisting of MacPherson struts up front and multi-link rear suspension. Cornering is confident and Lancer seems quite comfortable on a variety of road surfaces. Combine all this with the afore-mentioned all-wheel drive and it results in a very enjoyable drive. Lancer is quite practical as a family vehicle. Not only is the interior quite spacious, but as I pop the trunk to load up for a weekend trip, I am pleasantly surprised to find an impressive amount of cargo space. The standard cargo volume is 12.3 cubic feet. You lose a little with the subwoofer for the audio system but still net a generous 11.8 cubic feet. Plenty of room for suitcases, groceries, doomsday survival gear or just about anything that seems to suit your lifestyle. Overall, the 2013 Lancer SE is not a bad vehicle. As mentioned previously, compared to other vehicles I’ve driven recently it isn’t at the top of my list for appearance or excitement, but it does have a lot going for it. There’s something to be said for a spacious, practical daily driver with a long list of standard features priced in the low 20’s. 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Lancer model, which speaks volumes about its popularity and success. Lancer is available in three trim levels (DE, ES and GT) with front-wheel drive and two trim levels (SE and Ralliart) with all-wheel drive. For more information on Mitsubishi vehicles: www.mitsubishicars.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE 2.4L AWC Price: $20,295 (base) $21,845 (as tested) EPA fuel economy estimates (miles per gallon): 22 city/29 highway Engine type: 2.4-liter MIVEC four-cylinder engine, 16-valve, DOHC Horsepower: 168 @ 6,000 rpm Torque: 167 @ 4,100 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed continuously variable automatic transmission Drivetrain: All-wheel drive Steering: Rack-and-pinion power steering Suspension: Front: MacPherson struts Rear: Multi-link suspension Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock brakes Wheels: 16-inch alloy wheels Dimensions Overall length: 180.0 inches Overall width: 69.4 inches Overall height: 58.3 inches Curb weight: 3,120 pounds