Mitsubishi is pushing a new-found sportiness in its new Lancer sedan, which debuts in New Zealand later this year.
The new car should be good news for a model which has become increasingly lack-lustre and dated compared with the opposition.
The latest version of the Lancer nameplate that first appeared here in 1975, runs a lightweight 2-litre MIVEC engine coupled to six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.
The auto is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with six stages.
The INVECS III (CVT) with sport mode is available across the range.
Sport mode offers six gear ratios, which in the VR-X model can be selected using steering wheel paddle shifters.
The SX and VR-X are also available with a manual transmission.
Mitsubishi says the engine develops 115kW and can achieve economy of up to 7.7 litres/100km.
The Lancer’s engine is a completely new 2-litre MIVEC unit built on an aluminium block.
It generates 201Nm of peak torque.
The car has rally-developed Active Stability Control and ABS braking.
Seven dual-stage airbags are standard (the seventh protects the driver’s knees).
The Lancer is built on the same platform as the new four-wheel drive Evolution X (10) high-performance sedan.
Front suspension is by MacPherson struts and there is a multi-link set-up at the rear. The new Lancer is 35mm longer and 65mm wider than the current model.
It has a longer wheelbase and a wider track designed to provide better handling.
The new Lancer is 4570mm long, 1760mm wide, 1490mm high, and has a 2635mm wheelbase.
Front and rear track are 1530mm. The new Lancer weighs in at a heavyish 1850kg, and is rated to a 1000kg braked trailer.
The fuel tank holds 59 litres.
The larger body gives a roomier interior with increased leg and headroom, and a higher hip-point.
The new chassis layout allows a 10m turning circle for round-town manoeuvring.
Safety kit includes Active Stability and Traction controls. ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) enables shorter stopping distances under all load conditions.
All models feature Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body. RISE increases occupant safety by absorbing impact energy through extensive front and rear crumple zones. A highly rigid cabin frame and door pillars redirect the energy away from the occupants.
The brake pedal and steering column have been engineered to prevent intrusion into the cabin in an accident.
Three models in new range
Mitsubishi will sell the new Lancer in three versions – the SX entry model, the VR and the VR-X.
The SX’s standard equipment includes Active Stability Control with Traction control; seven dual-stage airbags (driver, front passenger, side, curtain and driver’s knee); 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/60R16 tyres; and cruise control.
The VR adds a keyless operating system; sportier exterior trim; privacy glass; and a six-disc stereo system with six speakers.
The VR-X gets a sports upgrade which includes sports suspension; 16-inch front and rear brakes; 18-inch alloy wheels with 215/45R18 tyres; steering wheel paddle shifters for the auto gearbox; automatic rain-sensing front wipers and auto light controls; auto-levelling, discharge headlights with a cornering light; Bluetooth hands-free phone system and the option of a manual or CVT transmission.
The VR gets a rear spoiler and side dams, and the VR-X picks up a full bodykit.
To keep VR-X drivers’ attention on the road, auto rain-sensing wipers activate when rain drops land on the windscreen and auto lighting controls turn the headlights on when ambient light is insufficient.