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 Mo's Car on Friday, September 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,144overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
By dano on Sunday, September 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
14 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Ralliart2012 on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JHunt on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
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."
24 people out of 47 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."
20 people out of 39 found this review helpful