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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 325 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

Overall Great Vehicle

By on Monday, June 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "very stylish, great on gas"

Cons: "engine may not be a reliable as one would hope"

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

"I bought this vehicle slightly used. Within a Year the motor blew thank god I had a warranty on it. I got it fixed no problem and never had another issue with it. I always loved the car, its very stylish and worked great for me until I needed more room. If your looking to buy one id really check out the engine or make sure you have a good warranty, I have a close friend who also had the same issue. Otherwise its a great car and protected my child and I when we into a pretty bad accident."

37 people out of 63 found this review helpful

Great overall drivers car

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great value, Amazing handling, AWD drving dynamics"

Cons: "Basic interior, expensive NAVI option"

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

Snow Day!

"Super All Wheel Control! (SAWC) The active yaw control (AYC) introduced (in the US) for the EVO X sets it above and beyond. With AWD cars there will be the slight bias towards understeer. The AYC applies torque to the outside rear wheel while breaking the inside front wheel that really allows the car to rotate. Other competitors (cough 2015 STI) now have their, form however it is break vectoring by only only engaging the front inside break. The drive dynamics and feedback are unmatched. Imagine a GTR at 1/3 of the cost, and really that cost is for power, the aftermarket sector fixes that quick. If you want a car that handles amazingly and care about performance and function, rather than 'burning rubber' AKA you are a serious car and driving enthusiast, the EVO is for you! You prefer carving a nice curvy road, hitting the apex perfectly, and can push what you thought was the limit more and more and more, yes, the EVO is for you. Granted I have done some maneuvers that would leave my sideways in a ditch or true (god forbid) if I was in a RWD coupe. So the AWD gives you power you can use. There is no point totting (or bragging about) 455hp/tq if you can only use 25% of while driving or turning. Oh yeah, rain/snow, I get excited! So much fun in the snow, I wake up early before they plow to have a great time. The rain is free drift practice days (on a closed course). You can adjust the SAWC for dry(70/30), wet(50/50), and snowy(30/70) road conditions and it does make a difference. It will take you about a year or two to fully understand and drive in rain/snow conditions. The AWD is in 50/50 (rear/front power bias) by default and changes based on the SAWC setting when the tires start to slip. :) If you want an every changing driving dynamic car, again sir, the EVO is for you. I have the MR (SST), which is the dual clutch. This is not an automatic with a sloppy torque converter, this is truely a two clutch automated manual gearbox. If you are coming from a manual you will understand the feeling(I did). It does typically jerk in 1st when its cold, but all manuals (sport cars) do that. I drive the SST in manual mode 90% of the time, other times is in heavy, heavy traffic, or eating. The SST is great and shifts very fast (and sharp depending on settings). If you are absolutely serious about power and plan on building the motor for larger turbo setup, the SST upgrades are goings to cost you. Note, that bolt-ons are fine. However if you were going to do these upgrades with the 5spd MT you would still have to replace the stock clutch (however slightly less expensive). Some people bash the SST because stock it cannot handle 400tq+, but neither can the 5spd MT. So lets get to the bad. The car is not sexy, it looks ok/good, but there are competitors that 'look' better. Again, this car is not for looks, its for traction, performance, function, driving, and handling. The base interior is not great, barely good, just OK. The Recaro seats are fantasic (not in the USDM 2015 model). The heater leather Recaros are even better! Otherwise a non-car person passenger will get in the car and wonder why you spent so much on an average sedan. The Navigation unit helps classy it up a bit, but for $2500+ extra, not really worth it, when a $200 smart phones does the same thing (you can install stock navi for ~$1000). The car really wasn't made for looking at a navi, it was built very tight and solid. With that being said, if you get an exhaust you can feel its vibration and maybe rattling, but then again that was expected. Overall I am not trying to impress or wow anyone with my interior, and the EVO will not win any awards for it. I do have the leather heated Recaros and I am perfectly happy knowing my money did not go into gadgets and apps for the passenger to gaze at."

11 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Snow Day!

It is easy and fun to drive. Good visibility.

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

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

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
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, appearance. long warranty"

Cons: "Plain interior. Some road noise"

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

"The Lancer is fun to drive and with the package including the moon roof and alloy wheels it looks expensive. Since I have an older Mitsubishi with almost 200,000 miles and still drive I believe the new Lancer should be very reliable."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Drives super like no other cars i've driven.Amazin

By on Sunday, April 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Evo amaze all around"

Cons: "Stock audio system."

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

"X MR is Amaze commuter for dd.Can upgrade for potent hp and performance.Will dust most of fast cars on the streets and tracks.Recaro makes balance for comfort and high speed drive."

14 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Very good vehicle

By on Sunday, March 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lots of pep and easy to park. Nice car."

Cons: "Could use improvement with road noise, blind spots"

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

"Really nice car overall. Only complaints are the road noise and blind spots. Cup holders are too small."

11 people out of 20 found this review helpful

this is one of my favorite cars I have owned.

By on Saturday, February 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

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

Pros: "fun to drive, sporty, auto/6sp shifter"

Cons: "for me? its not an SUV"

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

"Automatic with 6-speed steering wheel paddle shifter option. keyless entry and keyless start. no need to dig out your remote to get in and out of your locked car, this car detects your remote and unlocks with the touch of your hand. Rockford Fosgate stereo system with multiple cd disc changer. sunroof. This car is a bright blue with black interrior. I have the factory floor mats. and the interrior is in great condition. This car is fun to drive and gets plenty of compliments and attention. it gets great gas mileage. The only reason I want a different car is that I want an SUV. I bought it used it had only one owner before me."

10 people out of 21 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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