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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer

Overview
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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 5.8

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer sedans and Sportback wagon are perhaps the sportiest cars in the profoundly competitive compact-car segment. While there are plenty of more-fuel-efficient choices in the category, few can match the vibrant driving experience and diverse model range provided by the Lancer. From the basic ES sedan to the versatile 5-door Sportback to the high-performance Evolution variant, the Mitsubishi Lancer is an enticing carrot for compact-car shoppers searching for something practical that also looks and handles like a sports car.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are looking for a sleek, sharp-handling compact car with a comprehensive warranty, you'll find the Mitsubishi Lancer worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Lancer's sub-$16,000 starting price may appear attractive at first glance, value-driven buyers may favor the equally priced Hyundai Elantra and Kia Rio for their additional standard features and superior fuel economy.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, Mitsubishi introduces a new SE trim with standard all-wheel drive (AWD), heated seats and outside mirrors, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and the GT model's more powerful 2.4-liter engine. Additionally, the Lancer Sportback no longer offers a manual transmission and drops the performance-based Ralliart edition from the lineup.

Driving the Lancer

Driving Impressions In order to make a small car ride as well as it handles, engineers must sometimes manhandle the laws of physics. Judging by our test drive in the Lancer GT...

model, it would appear the engineers have won the battle. On twisting mountain roads, we were impressed by the GT's composure, as well as its tenacious ability to cling to the pavement. When not tearing through unpopulated mountain passes, we found the smooth and less noisy ES trim to be far more compatible with daily driving needs. Although the ES' cabin is less raucous than in the GT, it still let's in a fair amount of wind and engine noise.
Favorite Features

Voice-Activated HDD Navigation
The Lancer's hard drive-based navigation system responds more quickly than traditional DVD-based units. It also features Mitsubishi's new FUSE voice-recognition software for simple multimedia commands.

Keyless Entry and Start
The available FAST-Key system lets you lock, unlock and start the Lancer without ever removing the key fob from your pocket or bag.

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Details
Interior

Despite its aggressive and modern styling, the Lancer's sleek exterior design, unfortunately, does not carry into the cabin. The interior's stale design and its abundance of hard, cheap plastics are the Achilles' heel of the Lancer. Taller drivers will find the seating position uncomfortable due to the Lancer's lack of a telescoping steering wheel and the minimal thigh support provided by the short seat bottom. The GT and Ralliart trims feature the most appealing interior, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, deeply bolstered front seats, chrome interior door handles, and high-contrast gauge faces. Rear-seat legroom is surprisingly generous, and the Sportback's flexible configuration delivers an impressive 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space - comparable to many small SUVs.

Exterior

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer separates itself from the mundane designs of traditional compact cars with its bold stance, aggressive snout and rally car inspired styling. Mitsubishi says the massive front grille was inspired by the air intakes found on high-tech fighter jets - the same source of inspiration behind the Lamborghini Reventon. The base DE model rolls on 16-inch steel wheels while the ES/SE and GT/Ralliart models wear 16-inch and 18-inch alloys, respectively. Chrome accents, color-keyed body pieces and exterior features vary by trim level, successively growing nicer as the dollar signs move upward.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Since the base DE trim lacks the essential creature comforts one would expect from a $16,000 vehicle, we'd recommend taking a step up to the ES, as it adds air conditioning, power door locks, steering-wheel-mounted controls, an auxiliary audio input jack for portable music players and remote keyless entry. Designed for the Snowbelt states, the SE model adds all-wheel drive, a more powerful 2.4-liter engine and heated seats to the mix. GT models gain 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic climate control, FUSE voice-recognition software with Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, a USB port for MP3 players, and sport seats. The Ralliart boasts a 237-horsepower turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive and a 6-speed twin-clutch Sportronic Shift automatic transmission. The high-performance Lancer Evolution features a 291-horsepower turbocharged engine with all-wheel drive, large Brembo brakes and Recaro racing-style front seats.

Optional Equipment

Some of the Lancer's most desirable options are a hard-drive navigation system and the Deluxe Package which includes FAST Key keyless entry and start, a 710-Watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system with a USB port, FUSE voice-recognition and a sunroof. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) serves as the automatic transmission option for the workaday Lancers, while a twin-clutch Sportronic Shift automatic is available for the Evolution.

Under the Hood

For 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer DE and ES trims, the only powertrain decision facing a buyer is whether to stick with the 5-speed manual or go for the CVT. The SE and GT trims, however, get a more robust 168-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, which shows noticeable improvements over the outdated 2.0-liter in the areas of vibration and low-end torque. The CVT-equipped GTS model includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The Ralliart trim gains a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 237 horsepower, while the Evolution model whips out 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

2.0-liter inline-4
148 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
146 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm (Sportback: 145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic), 24/32 mpg (Sportback)

2.4-liter inline-4
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic), 22/29 mpg (Sportback)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
237 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
291 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg (manual), 17/22 mpg (automatic)

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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 301 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

car drives very well

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,250

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "nice car, drives great"

Cons: "don't like the black interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"this is my second lancer, I enjoy the drive and ride, but I don't like the black interior it picks up everything...would have chosen a different interior color,over all very nice car. My first lancer I had for 10 years, not one bit of problem with it.....hope this one will do as well."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

car drives very well

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,250

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "nice car, drives great"

Cons: "don't like the black interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"this is my second lancer, I enjoy the drive and ride, but I don't like the black interior it picks up everything...would have chosen a different interior color,over all very nice car. My first lancer I had for 10 years, not one bit of problem with it.....hope this one will do as well."

car drives very well

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,250

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "nice car, drives great"

Cons: "don't like the black interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"this is my second lancer, I enjoy the drive and ride, but I don't like the black interior it picks up everything...would have chosen a different interior color,over all very nice car. My first lancer I had for 10 years, not one bit of problem with it.....hope this one will do as well."

Amazing car packed with performance!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "BANG FOR THE BUCK!!"

Cons: "Cheap interior cues (minus the Reacro seats)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is one of the best handling cars on the road. It has great design cues and the drive and feel are amazing. Where it lacks are the econo plastic interior cues hidden by the amazing Recaro Bucket seat. It goes great in all types of weather if properly equipped tires are used. Its reliability is right on par with most import cars. The service on the car is costly as the fluids are not cheap! Overall I would say you would be hard pressed to find a car in this range that has the performance and all around capabilities of the EVO X. This is not a car for your everyday commuter, it is without a doubt a drivers car with performance in mind. so if you are looking for a plush ride and great MPG, just keep looking..."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car for the price!

By on Saturday, January 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good price, lots of features, aggressive styling"

Cons: "no telescoping steering wheel, lots of plastic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

the eyes!

"I absolutely love this car. Paired with a 5 speed manual transmission, the car is responsive and fun to drive. the fuse system is very convenient, and the stock stereo comes with all the features you want in a head unit."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

the eyes!

Best vehicle I ever owned

By on Saturday, January 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 161,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun and easy to drive. Very good on snow."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very dependable. Only replaced a tie rod since purchased new. Finally did a brake job. Due to carelessness tire changing, had 2 tire monitor sensors replaced. Overall a very dependable vehicle used to drive 100 miles a day back and forth to work."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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