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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer

Overview
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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Review

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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.

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 316 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

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

Very Impressed with the reliability

By on Sunday, December 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,298

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Efficient, Comfortable, Reliable"

Cons: "Cheap Interior, A bit of tire and road noise"

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

"I have owned this car for the past 6 years and I love it. It may be a bit weird looking at the outside but its really comfortable for me and my family. The only thing that have happened to the car is that one (or more - really not sure) of the ABS sensors is damaged but it stills works except for the wheels that have the sensor damaged and that the Air Compressor died at 5 years of use but you can replace it only costed 140 dollars with my personal mechanic. One of the bad things of the Lancer is the interior because its pretty much of full hard plastics and that's not great but the car has been reliable comfortable and the best part the 2.4 liter with the 5 speed is an incredible combination and its fun to drive for being a family sedan so that's great and the best part is that the car is very fuel efficient for what it is (and how I drive)"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Very well designed; kind of squeaky

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price, nimble, quick, intuitive, comfortable"

Cons: "squeaky"

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

"I love almost everything about my lancer. It's quick, handles very well, definitely the most comfortable car I've ever been in, the display in the gauge cluster is very well thought out and the touch screen radio works flawlessly and is very intuitive. The voice control also works very well. Honestly, the only complaint I have is that it has several squeaks/rattles/etc., even at such low mileage. I have been able to track down a couple and wiggle/push/lube things to make them stop but some are just incurable it seems."

14 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Great AWD for the price

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "warranty term, sporty look, awd"

Cons: "gas mileage"

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

"I purchased this 2015 Lancer SE because it was the cheapest brand new AWD vehicle. The gas mileage isn't great but the car is perfect for someone who does a lot of traveling but wants the added security of AWD. I drive about 55 miles per day and avergae around 26mpg in this vehicle. You also can't beat the 5 year bumper to bumper warranty!"

25 people out of 48 found this review helpful

Love this car for high speeds ...and just looking

By on Friday, October 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive,fast,turbo,AWD, mean looking"

Cons: "jerky transmission"

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

"I have so much that I can say about this car, but I'll keep it short. If you want a car that can pick up speed fast when you're already going 70 mph, the Lancer Ralliart is awesome! If you frequently get stuck in stop and go traffic, you will likely get annoyed. This car is a little jerky in stop and go situations as it straddles between 1st and 2nd gear. You can feel the engine wishing it could just open up and GO! The interior is a mix of sporty and luxury, but more sporty. I drive 1-1/2 every day too and from work and this car makes it so much more enjoyable. You never get tired of hearing the turbo either. I've taken this car in off road situations and it handled really well. I live in AZ and there's soft dirt that 2wd cars get stuck in and that didn't happen with the ralliart. I probably won't get rid of this car until its repair bills are more than it's worth. I haven't had to do anything to it except regular maintenance (tires, brakes, oil) If you are thinking about getting a ralliart, DO IT ALREADY! !"

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Incredible car for the price

By on Sunday, October 05, 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
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "turn circle, Recaros, headlights, reliability,"

Cons: "Exhaust note no macho"

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

"Ralliart has multiple outstanding qualities not usually mentioned in reviews: 1)Turning circle is awesomely tight;2) Recaro seats are the most supportive and comfortable ever; 3) Car has been totally reliable, literally no unscheduled work needed in 58K miles; 4) Accel is great for the price; 5) HID beam pattern is the best I've seen anywhere, both low and high beam."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great daily driver

By on Friday, September 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,144

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Looks, value, comfort."

Cons: "Power, too much hard plastic & tighter suspension"

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

"This is the 4th Mitsubishi I have owned. I purchased my kids twin lancers in 2003 and a large Montero in 1994 - while waiting for our new Mercedes to be built this 2012 Lancer SE has impressed as a daily driver. We added the rear spoiler and rear defuser and fog lamps which makes this black beauty a real looker. Only wish they did not use so much hard plastic on the surface. The motor could use more power but enough to get around town. On road trips great gas mileage."

12 people out of 23 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

Buying this car?