By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 5.7
The extensive line of 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer sedans, Evolution rally cars and Sportback hatch/wagons is collectively the sportiest in the profoundly competitive compact-car segment. There are turbochargers, all-wheel drive (AWD), innovative transmissions and stiff suspensions up and down the line. While there are plenty of more-fuel-efficient choices in the category, and others that offer more features at a lower price, few can match the vibrant driving experience and something-for-everyone model range provided by the Lancer. From the basic DE sedan to the versatile 5-door Sportback and the high-performance Evolution variants, the Mitsubishi Lancer is an enticing proposition for compact-car shoppers searching for something practical that also looks and moves and feels like a sports car.
If you're looking for a sleek, sharp-handling compact car with personality and a comprehensive warranty, you'll find the many Mitsubishi Lancers worth a look. If you want your morning commute to feel like an Acropolis Rally special stage, the Evo is your ride.
The only changes to the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer line are a few additions to the all-wheel-drive SE model, including Thule plug-in roof-carrier accommodation, new-design 16-inch alloy wheels and an available Premium Package with sunroof, Rockford Fosgate audio system and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever.
Driving Impressions With horsepower ratings that range from 148 to 291, engine choice obviously has a huge impact on the Lancer driving experience. Still, the whole line shows an appreciation for response,...balance and involving the driver. A mid-range GT model we tested impressed us with its composure on twisting mountain roads, and with its tenacious grip on the pavement. And a slightly smoother and quieter ES seemed very well suited to daily around-town driving chores, though it still talked to us about the road surface and what the tires were doing. These are all sporting automobiles. Some extremely so. In Evolution guise, the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer is as stiff, loud, raucous and fast as some real race cars. It's loads of fun but not everyone's idea of everyday transportation. Be sure you know what you're getting into.
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.
6-SPEED AUTO-SHIFTING TRANSMISSION
In Mitsubishi's parlance, it's a TC-SST, that alphabet soup standing for Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission. To us it's just an excellent automatic (with manual-shift mode) that rifles through gears faster than we ever could.
The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer's aggressive and modern exterior styling, sadly, does not extend into the cabin. The interior design looks a little stale and there's too much hard, cheap plastic. The steering wheel does not telescope and most of the seats have no height adjustability, so many drivers will have to adjust to the Lancer driving position rather than vice versa. The GT and Ralliart trims feature the most appealing interior, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and deeply bolstered front seats. The Sportback's flexible configuration delivers an impressive 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space.Exterior
The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer separates itself from the mundane designs of traditional compact cars with its bold stance, aggressive snout and general attitude inspired by rally cars. Mitsubishi says the massive front grille suggests the air intakes found on high-tech fighter jets. The base DE model rolls on 16-inch steel wheels while the rest get alloys, 16-inch on ES and SE, 18-inch on GT, Ralliart and Evo. The Evo models have a gaping, black-mesh front grille, heat-extractor vents on the side, twin tailpipes in back and either a subtle rear spoiler (MR) or outrageous wing (GSR).
The base DE trim is pretty short on creature comforts so we'd start looking at the ES, which adds air conditioning, power door locks, steering-wheel-mounted controls, an auxiliary audio input jack and remote keyless entry. The SE model adds all-wheel drive, a more powerful 2.4-liter engine and heated seats. GT models have 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic climate control, FUSE voice-recognition software with Bluetooth and sport seats. The Ralliart boasts a 237-horsepower turbocharged engine, AWD and a 6-speed twin-clutch Sportronic automatic transmission. The high-performance Evolution features a 291-horsepower turbocharged engine with AWD and large Brembo brakes.
Some of the Lancer's most desirable options are a 40GB hard-drive navigation system and the Deluxe Package that includes FAST Key keyless entry and start, Sirius/XM satellite radio (with three months of service), FUSE voice-recognition and a sunroof. An audio upgrade is available, an awesome 710-watt Rockford Fosgate system with a 10-inch trunk-mounted subwoofer and USB port. A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) serves as the automatic transmission option for the workaday Lancers (with paddle shifters in the GT), while the Ralliart and Evolution offer an excellent 6-speed twin-clutch Sportronic Shift automatic (TC-SST).
Much variety here: The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan in base DE trim gets a 148-horsepower 2.0 and 5-speed manual gearbox. At the ES level the same engine is paired with either the manual or an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Move up to GT and it's a 168-horsepower 2.4, with manual or CVT. The SE trim uses the 2.4 and offers only the CVT, but with AWD. The Ralliart gets a 237-horsepower 2.0 turbo-4 with a 6-speed twin-clutch Sportronic automated manual transmission and AWD. The racy Evo models have 291 turbocharged horses and either the 5-speed manual (GSR) or 6-speed Sportronic Shift (MR), both with AWD. The Sportback comes in ES trim (with the 2.0) or GT (2.4), with the CVT and front-drive only.
148 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
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)
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 (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
291 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg (manual), 17/22 mpg (automatic)
By KRE on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By John on Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
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."
16 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By E on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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
By Z-man on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, good mileage, good handling, Sporty"
Cons: "Cheap feeling interior, Noisy trim"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2012 Lancer GT brand new from the dealer. I had test driven a few different Lancers in the 2 years previous to purchasing. Of course the exterior initially drew me in, the styling is fantastic. My specific car has a 5 speed manual with a 2.4L Mivec engine. For a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder the car has a lot of get up and go. Handling on the twisty mountain roads (which we have a lot of) is excellent. I'm a "spirited" driver and it does not let me down in the corners. It's 47000 miles later and I have not had one single problem with the car! The mechanicals are in great shape and the exterior has held up very well to some nasty PA winters. The interior is pretty plain but functional. The only complaint I have is the trim inside buzzes a bit when I have the music cranked. I almost forgot to mention....I average about 30 miles per gallon!! Overall an excellent car."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By blackcomet on Monday, April 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty look, Sporty drive"
Cons: "NOT the best MPG, Interiors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought my Lancer GTS with 63 miles, its been 3 years now and I never had any problems with it, the car is not the best car out there but its definitely okay for the price and definitely more fun to drive than some others like Ford, KIA, Hyundai or Toyota, a course not as powerful as the Evo but it can get you up to speed in a good time, the downside is the quality of the interiors which is not the best and besides Bluetooth and NAV it doesn't have any more luxuries."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By amartinez on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable, fun, ease of access, super reliable."
Cons: "Interior noise from outside, easy-scratch interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The 2012 Lancer GT is comfortable, stylish, fast enough for normal driving, VERY reliable, and overall an exhilarating machine to operate! The only downside of the car is the noise on the inside. You can hear the road and the wind fairly loud. Also, the interior plastic scratches super easy (but then again what car doesn't now-a-days?) Other than that I have no complaints at all!"
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful