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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.

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 310 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

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

excellant car to own or drive anywhere in the us.

By on Sunday, September 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Car is fast and responsive in country or city. Fast excelleration to get off the the stop signs to main lanes quickly."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Good Vehicle, be ready for empty gas tanks!

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "listed above"

Cons: "listed above"

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

"Car is exactly what you would expect from a small turbo compact. It has reallly low end torque, but at about 5th gear it begins to dog alittle. Sportronic shift is nice especially the multi-transmission mode. I don't use it much though. Eats up gas, disappointing especially in comparison to fuel milege on diesel turbo's out there. Don't be discouraged if insurance companies try to jack up your rates, there are insurance groups that will rate your car on your driving record alone, not just the stereotype of this car. Disappointed with the functional air scoops in the hood. Don't stand out like a WRX and are very restricted even though it looks open from the outside. 2 odd issues I have had, 1.) don't put your car keys in your pocket with Samsung S5 and expect to unlock the car with the keyless entry. The signal gets cancelled out. 2.) I lost all shift control of the odd gears after the car slid on an icy bridge and the antilock brakes went crazy. Had to restart the car to get 1,3,5 gears back. Overall great car, but if you are not used to driving a turbocharged engine, it takes some getting used to."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Mean and lean machine

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,600

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Drives great"

Cons: "Tinfoil doors, PDR guy becomes your best friend"

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

"This car is the best handling one in its class, do not even compare to those bland commuter mobiles with electric power steering. Advanced drivers appreciate the sharpness of steering, braking, and throttle response (no turbo lag). Manual transmission version (50 state emissions) of the GT has plenty of midrange power. No need to rev the engine. Being fast is more than just the 0-60 acceleration figure, its the cars ability to maintain the current velocity, braking for curves is many times optional with this car."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great car for the price!

By on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Great price and very reliable!"

Cons: "Tire pressure sensors no good."

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

"The tire pressure sensors are no good in winter. Any time it is 20 degrees or less outside, they tell you your tires are low whether they are or not. You'll have to look at that warning on the screen until the weather warms up. Aside from that: great little car! Terrific mileage, and it has never not started for me no matter how cold it gets."

24 people out of 47 found this review helpful

Good, reliable engine with low quality interior

By on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Affordable, fun to drive, reliable, sporty"

Cons: "Poor interior, poor speaker quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I bought this car used with 22k miles, and the car now has 68k miles. I have not had to take the car to the shop for any reason other than maintenance. The engine is very reliable so far. I really enjoy the continuous transmission - the car never shifts and it feels really smooth. The road noise on this car is terrible. It is really, really loud on the highway on all the tires I have tried, unfortunately. I think that the molding on the car is just cheaply made, so a lot of sound gets through. That being said, unfortunately the interior is very poor quality. So many things have already broken. The fabric seats are very cheap and stain easily. If you as much as sit on it after swimming in a pool, the water stains will haunt you forever. Three out of the four vent adjustment knobs have broken, so we can't adjust which direction the air blows anymore. Also, the CD player broke as the car reached about 40k miles (radio works fine, though). Called the dealer and they said the warranty on it expired at 36k miles, though the warranty on the rest of the car doesn't expire until 60k. Bummer. Other than that, the car looks very nice and sporty on the outside. For the price, it is a great value. I would recommend that you spend a little more and get something much better, though."

19 people out of 38 found this review helpful

Car gets good gas mileage and looks really sporty

By on Friday, May 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, good mileage, sporty look"

Cons: "issues with tire sensor"

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

"This is my first car and I love it. I love the mileage I get, I enjoy how cool it looks and the fact that I have a 5 speed manual that really picks up if I wanted to. It has a 6 cd changer which is cool and the Rockford Fosgate speakers that it came with makes it sound incredible. The only issue I have experienced is that my air stem for the tire broke and I had to buy a sensor for it. It fixed the problem although my car won't register that the sensor is fixed because the tpms service keeps coming up on my dashboard."

1 person out of 3 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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