Mitsubishi Lancer Review: 2007 Model | Lancer | Car Buyers Guide

2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Review

The new Evo is on the way and it will knock the socks off anything that has gone before. That’s the word from Mitsubishi and from what we’ve heard it’s no idle boast. Mention of the next generation Evo was dropped into every second sentence at the introduction of the new Lancer. That’s understandable; it’s the three-letter word that keeps us awake at the press conference for the 1.5-litre saloon version. If the last Lancer epitomised the troubled state of Mitsubishi at the turn of the century, then this latest version is symbolic of its brighter future. The outgoing Lancer typified the state of the company four years ago: a model built for Japanese tastes halfway through its lacklustre lifecycle and rushed onto European markets to improve cash flow and satisfy the accountants. Sometime later the firm’s financial partner DaimlerChrysler pulled out. The future for the brand looked bleak. Thankfully, Japanese backers within the Mitsubishi conglomerate – that includes banks, steel works and electrical appliance firms– came to the rescue. It was good news for the company and in particular for the designers who were already well on the way to revamping the brand. The new Lancer’s arrival here has been delayed, but that’s only because of the car’s popularity in the US, where demand exceeded expectations, affecting European production. So the Lancer is set to arrive in October, first in five-door format and later as a three-door hatchback. Both formats have more styling in their front grille than the outgoing model had in its entire metalwork. First up for Irish buyers will be the saloon, which we had the chance to test drive on some German country roads. Three engines are on offer: a 1.5-litre petrol developing 108hp; a 1.8-litre 144hp petrol; and a 2-litre 138hp diesel. It’s the first time since the late 1980s that the model has been offered with a diesel option, another sign that someone at Mitsubishi has actually read a European car magazine and noticed that diesel is no longer the preserve of Massey Fergusons. The Lancer is based on an architecture developed during the days of DaimlerChrysler ownership, part of a platform development that is set to herald several models for both Mitsubishi and Chrysler.


In terms of exterior styling, the new model has far more presence than its predecessor, with features such as the larger front grille and more defined lighting clusters, giving the car a racier character, closing the gap between the entry models and the glorious Evo performance version. In practical terms, the new Lancer offers a proper rear seat bench with adult legroom. Boot space is impressive and for the driver, the deep-set binnacles, taken from the new Outlander, suggest a little pilfering from the Alfa Romeo stylebook.

That’s not surprising, because Mitsubishi wanted to create far more “emotion” with the new Lancer and its benchmark was the recently replaced Alfa Romeo 156. When you know this, things start to make more sense. For example, the side profile with its lower nose and high-set tail have certain Alfa qualities, as do the cockpit features. Sadly, however, Mitsubishi lost the chapter on interiors from the Alfa guide book. It’s the single biggest disappointment in an otherwise impressive car. The plastics are sturdy but dull and lack the premium feel that regular saloon owners would expect. It’s a match for any family hatchback Nissan or Toyota, but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement. In terms of performance, we tested the 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel, both amply powered for the Lancer’s frame, if a little large for current Irish market conditions. Our main concern would be that a 1.5-litre engine will struggle to pull this metal along at a decent lick. On steep German hills the diesel was able to combat the climb in third gear with little problem, though the petrol version needed second gear and a firm foot on the throttle to get us up and over. On the road the Lancer is comfortable, if a little skittish on undulating country roads, but the car still corners well and the steering is not as docile and anaesthetised as we have come to expect from some of its Japanese rivals. With prices likely to start around €20,000, Irish buyers will be won over by the design and spaciousness of the saloon version. There may be room for the Lancer to even manage a few conquest sales from higher-placed rivals. That’s the fundamentals out of the way; now to the Evo. Word is that it is virtually identical to the concept car doing the rounds of car shows at the moment. While it will remain a rocket on the road, the look has been toned down, with the airplane wing that used to be attached to the boot lid scrapped in favour of more discrete styling cues. Mitsubishi is also rumoured to be preparing to launch a mid-range “Evo-lite” version, for those who dream of motoring fury but can’t persuade the bank manager or insurance firm. After years of creating cars that made their dealers weep in despair, Mitsubishi is finally putting together a model line-up that customers will actually want to buy and dealers will be happy to sell.


Mitsubishi Lancer

Engine 1.5-litre 108hp; 1.8-litre 144hp;

2.0-litre TD 138hp

Transmission 5/6-speed manual, 6-speed DSG

Acceleration 0-100 km/h (info not available)

Top speed 191/200/207 km/h 

Economy 6.4/7.7/5.9 litres/100km

CO2 Emissions 153/183/157 g/km   

Weight (info not available) 

Boot Capacity (info not available)

Base Price €20,000


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