Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Drive: Mitsubishi Lancer GT

The current generation Mitsubishi Lancer has been out since 2007. The base Lancer ES comes with a 2.0L I4 engine that produces 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. There is also a high performing version of the Lancer, called the Lancer Evolution X, which comes with a turbocharged 2.0L I4 engine that produces 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. There is a version of the Lancer that is between the Lancer ES and Lancer Evolution, called the Lancer GT. The Lancer GT comes with a 2.4L I4 engine that produces 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. The Lancer GT comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic transmission. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 124 mph. The Lancer GT is available as a front-wheel drive, four-door sedan. Prices for the Lancer GT start at $19,995 and a fully loaded Lancer GT goes for around $27,000. The car I test drove had paddle shifters, a sunroof, navigation with a rear view camera, leather seats, and a CVT transmission. It was fully loaded and cost around $27,000.

There is a slight difference between the Lancer ES styling and Lancer GT styling. The GT comes with a taller grill with a silver outline. This gives the Lancer GT a more aggressive look. There is also a small rear spoiler available for the Lancer GT. The Lancer GT I drove had a sunroof, which decreases the head room by 1". I barely had any head room. The electric-powered leather seats add luxury to the sporty four-door sedan.

The Lancer GT as a good ride quality. The car drove smoothly along the roads and freeway. I was comfortable behind the wheel of the Lancer GT. The paddle shifters are easy to use. I felt more engaged in the driving experience with the Lancer GT than with the Lancer ES due to the paddle shifters. Steering was very responsive. I had no issues with brake and acceleration pedals. The car has some zip to it. Most of all, the Lancer GT was fun to drive.

The Lancer GT is a nice step up from the Lancer ES. Unfortunately, the Lancer Evolutions were not available for test drives. If you want to drive the Evo, you have to buy it first for around $37,000. The Lancer GT is a good four-door sedan. It has some zip to it. It also has a sporty exterior and interior. The Lancer's main competition is the Subaru Impreza. Both are good compact four-door sedans. Both also have high performance versions. Both cars have similar performance. Both cars cost around the same. I felt that there was slightly more room in the Impreza than in the Lancer. But the Lancer is more stylish. The difference between the cars is the drivetrain. The Impreza is all-wheel drive and the Lancer is front-wheel drive. Both cars were fun to drive and I have no problems recommending either the Lancer or the Impreza. With both cars, you get performance and practicality.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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