Mitsubishi is staging a comeback in the States, and is already making progress with the new Outlander, which saw an 86 percent jump in sales over last year at this time. The brand has only a small offering of vehicles, with the compact Mirage, Outlander and Outlander sport crossovers, and it’s staple sedan, the Lancer. Yes it still sells the iMiEV electric vehicle, but the sales numbers are but a blip on the chart. If it can get the Lancer moving again, that will be a help to boost year-end sales totals. Since the Mirage is relatively new and the Outlander is all new, it was the Lancer’s turn to get a makeover. While the sedan isn’t all new, there are enough significant changes to warrant a story. Once we drive it, we’ll do a full report for you, we promise.
First, the 2016 Lancer gets a new front fascia and chrome grille, new LED DRLs, and new foglamps. It’s not a radical change (see 2015 photo for comparison), but it cleans up the front end and makes it look more contemporary. Inside also sees a handful of updates, included new seat fabrics, a redesigned front center console that adds a USB port, a new display audio system with rearview camera on all but the entry level. As far as power, the Lancer continues on with either a 2.0-liter MIVEC I4 or the 2.4-liter MIVEC I4. Horsepower and torque figures remain the same at 148 /145 for the 2.0L and 168/167 for the 2.4L. What has changed is a new CVT8 available on both, which offers improved fuel economy and responsiveness.
The model lineup also changes over: 2015 offered an ES, SE 2.4L AWD, GT 2.4L, and Ralliart AWC, while 2016 is an ES 2.0L, ES 2.4L AWC, SEL 2.4L AWC, and GT 2.4L. the Ralliart is gone, as is the EVO model, which is a loss for those who liked to push the Lancer to the outer limits.
Pricing for the new lineup starts at $17,595 for the ES with the 5MT, and goes to $23,495 for the GT 4-door with the 2.4L engine and the CVT with 6-step Sportronic paddle shifters. Options include a Sun and Sound package on the ES, which adds a sunroof and 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, a nav system optional on all models, and other packages like LED illumination, chrome, and all-weather goodies.
Mitsubishi is about bringing value to the compact sedan segment, with a nice list of standard features and an impressive warranty. Earlier this year there was talk about Mitsu partnering with Renault/Nissan to cooperate on the build of both small and midsize sedans, but latest word is that’s not going to happen. We’ll keep an eye on Mitsubishi to see if it can go it alone for a while.
Photos courtesy of MMNA, Inc.