The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer compact sedan may not be the most cutting-edge car in its class, but it does offer a number of attractive features that deserve the attention of anyone shopping for a Honda Civic, Ford Focus or Subaru Impreza. From its aggressive nose to its rally-inspired, turbocharged engine options, the Mitsubishi Lancer offers one of the most varied model ranges in the business. The affordable and efficient ES trim stands up well to models like the Nissan Sentra, while the turbocharged Ralliart can give the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus a run for their money. And Subaru's performance-bred WRX doesn't fear many other cars except when an all-wheel-drive (AWD) Lancer Evolution pops up in its rearview mirror.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're seeking out a compact car that looks good, offers a good performance-to-dollar ratio, and doesn't look like it was designed in a jelly bean factory, the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer deserves your attention. An impressive warranty and good safety ratings also make this little economy car an attractive prospect.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Without options such as ventilated seats, blind-spot monitoring or the ability to parallel park itself, the Mitsubishi Lancer struggles to compete with compact sedans like the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra or Mazda Mazda3, all of which get better fuel economy as well.
For 2015, the Lancer Sportback is no more, but the good news is the rest of the line receives a number of new standard features. All 2015 Lancer sedans now come with heated side mirrors, while the SE model gains hands-free phone connectivity, fog lights and new 16-inch wheels. The Lancer Ralliart gains HID headlights, Rockford-Fosgate audio and rain-sensing wipers.
Driving the Lancer
With such a wide range of engine and drivetrain options, a Mitsubishi Lancer sedan can be described as anything from demure daily driver to demon on four wheels. The Lancer...
... ES model's 148-horsepower engine isn't big on power, but it is efficient. Short of the 291-horsepower Evolution model, we like the power and performance offered in the turbocharged Ralliart. Even without all-wheel drive, the GT model displays impressive grip in the corners, strong braking and agile handling. Interior sound levels are higher than in most compact sedans, but not annoyingly so. If you're looking for luxury car quiet, the Ford Focus is the current gold standard. On the performance end, it's hard to argue with what the turbocharged Lancer Evolution is dishing out. Power, handling and an insanely quick 0-to-60-mph run are almost enough to make you forget the uncomfortably harsh ride and booming exhaust note – almost.
ROCKFORD-FOSGATE SOUND SYSTEM Those looking for the best in-car audio in a compact sedan will definitely be impressed by the 2015 Lancer's 9-speaker, 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system.
6-SPEED AUTO-SHIFTING TRANSMISSION Mitsubishis' Twin-Clutch Sportronic automatic transmission (dubbed TC-SST in confusing Mitsu-speak) is an excellent driving companion, able to change gears in manual mode quicker than any of our drivers could do with a standard 5-speed manual gearbox.
2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Details
The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer's sharp and modern exterior styling does not extend into its cabin. Here, the Lancer is showing its age, and bland, cheap plastic doesn't help. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel on all models makes it harder to find a perfect fit. Evo editions have well-bolstered, low-sitting Recaro seats up front, but without height adjustment, shorter drivers will struggle to see over the dash. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob make GT and Ralliart trims more appealing.
A 2015 Lancer stands out from other compact sedans with its angular, sporty design, and aggressive snout and forward stance. A rear spoiler and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels add to the athletic character of GT and Ralliart models. Lancer Evolution models take the aggressiveness to another level with flared and vented fenders, two big exhaust outlets, and a massive rear spoiler on GSR trims. The Evo is slightly lower and shorter, but with an extended wheelbase and width for better handling.
Even the least-expensive Mitsubishi Lancer offers decent features for its roughly $18,000 asking price. Included are keyless entry and auto-off headlights. The SE costs a few thousand more but includes an automatic transmission, a stronger engine, all-wheel drive, 6.1-inch touch-screen audio, and heated front seats. Ralliart models feature an excellent turbocharged engine and a more sophisticated version of Mitsubishi's all-wheel-drive system, while Evo models are performance-minded with 291 horsepower, Brembo brakes and customizable all-wheel-drive. Lancers come with a 5-year/60,000-mile transferable warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, except for Ralliart and Evo editions, which trim those to 3-year/36,000-mile and 5-year/60,000-mile limits.
Many of the extras available for the Lancer are wrapped into packages that vary by trim. Base models can be spruced up with a hands-free communication system, 6-speaker audio system, and rear disc brakes in favor of the older drum type. Higher trims can be outfitted with a power sunroof, Rockford-Fosgate premium sound with a 10-inch trunk-mounted subwoofer, navigation, HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and leather seating.
Under the Hood
For 2015, a bevy of 4-cylinder engines and transmission choices are available across the Mitsubishi Lancer lineup. ES models are the least potent, with a 2.0-liter engine that makes 148 horsepower, still adequate for most duties. SE and GT models are endowed with a larger engine and 168 horsepower. Ralliart models boast a turbocharged engine that makes 237 horsepower, enough to make this car very quick, while shrieking-fast Evos are tuned to churn out 291 horsepower. The twin-clutch automatic transmission of those latter two models feels superb, but the continuously-variable automatic transmission available in other models is surprisingly refined. If you opt for the performance-oriented Ralliart or Evo models, be ready to pay extra at the pump for premium gasoline to satisfy their thirsty turbo engines.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just over $18,000 for an ES model with a 5-speed manual transmission. GT and SE models are a few thousand more but offer many extras for the money. Stepping up to the Ralliart turbocharged model requires just over $30,000, while the Evolution will set you back around $36,000 and can reach over $40,000 with options. At these prices, the Lancer competes with everything from the less expensive Kia Forte on the low end to an Audi A4 luxury sedan on the Evolution end of the spectrum. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Resale value is expected to be in line with compact sedan rivals like the Nissan Sentra and Kia Forte, but below that of segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza.
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."
"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."
"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."