Mitsubishi Lancer — More appealing for 2016

By David Finkelstein

Blanketed by a 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, Mitsubishi Motors is showcasing its 2016 Lancer compact sports sedan, competing with the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Mazda3, Honda Civic, V W Jetta and the Hyundai Elantra. 

The four-door automobile is quite stylish coupled with a number of key design features that help to position it as a viable contender in it's class. Exterior enhancements include a revised new front end helping to make the car's exterior tend to standout. Its also offered with all new available 18-inch alloy wheel designs, with 16-inch tires and wheels as standard.

The marketing heads at Mitsubishi looked closely at building this car as a value for consumers by reworking their product mix and fine tuning the overall line-up in general. This includes a reconfigured entry level Lancer ES model as well as an all new SEL trim package. It's designed to reach a broader customer base. Both models are available with a 168-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine as well as the brand's exceptional and available All-Wheel-Control/All-Wheel-Drive system. It seamlessly provides enhanced performance and traction as needed, when road and weather conditions dictate.

Standard is a 2.0-liter “fuel sipping” four cylinder engine. It's rated at 148-horsepower. Of course, worth noting is the fact that their ES version now includes a list of some of the most comprehensive standard equipment Mitsubishi has ever offered on Lancer. When you experience the latest generation continuously-variable automatic transmission, Mitsubishi engineering assures me that this CVT tranny is designed to help improve the cars performance and overall fuel economy. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard as well.

To briefly run down a list of some of the welcomed and included equipment on the '16 Mitsubishi Lancer, you'll discover a newly designed front center console and upgraded interior seating fabric, Mitsubishi's hands-free convenience Link System with Bluetooth technology plus a USB port. It's all linked electronically with the car's standard AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with 140-watt speakers, color LCD multi-information display screen plus an attractive soft-touch instrument panel and matching door trim pieces.

Additionally, the car's interior comes with a 6-way adjustable driver's seat as standard plus an automatically controlled air conditioning and climate control system as well as steering wheel mounted audio, cruise control and Bluetooth switches. Power operated windows (with driver's automatic express up/down feature) coupled with power controlled door locks with remote keyless entry and “panic” button feature are also standard.

The ES model also has a 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt-adjustable steering column plus remote trunk and fuel lid release lever as well as a high-contrast gauge meter cluster.

As we turn the spotlight towards Lancer's exterior, the car has a new front fascia/chrome grille assembly, automatic on/off headlights with built-in fog lamps, heated side view door mirrors with hidden built-in turn lamp indicators, color-keyed outer door handles plus brightly lit LED daytime running lights and side mounted attractive air dams.

The optional navigation system has been redesigned to make it easer to interpret. This also includes a new reconfigured display screen. The list of colors offered include Diamond White Pearl, Alloy Silver, Tarmac Black, Octane Blue, Rally Red and Mercury Gray. The Octane Blue really tends to turn heads.

The entry-level Lancer ES is now available with a new Sun & Sound package that includes a power operated glass sunroof, rearview camera system, 6.1 in. display audio system with Digital HD Radio, SIRIUS XM satellite radio with a 3-month subscription and a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium sound system. It has 9 speakers plus a 10-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer with Punch Control, DTS Neural Surround, PremiDIA-WIDE surround, and Dolby Volume. The Sun & Sound option runs $1,750.

As we dive into Lancer's safety enhancements, there are seven advanced air bags as standard. This includes a driver's side knee air bag, dual-stage front air bags with occupant seat position sensors, front seat mounted side-impact air bags and front and rear curtain side air bags. An anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake-force Distribution is also included on all models as well as their active Stability Control system with Traction Control Logic plus a welcomed electronic tire pressure monitoring system. An engine immobilizer anti-theft security alarm system is also included across the product mix.

This is coupled with the company's patented Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution body construction, for raising the bar when it comes to overall occupant safety. Lancer has also been an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) "Top Safety Pick" for seven straight model years.

The sedan is imported from Japan and is offered in four trim levels: ES, SE, SEL and the GT high end model. Pricing starts at $17,595 with the top end GT version carrying an MSRP of $23,495, excluding shipping charges of $810. Fuel mileage figures range from 22 mpg city/31 highway to 27 mpg city/36 highway, depending on the engine, transmission, options, and chassis setup.