Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT

Monday October 28th, 2013 at 1:1010 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Rally Heritage Shows in Handling, Shifting
Gripes: Would Rather Own an Evo

Although eight years have passed since Mitsubishi last contested the World Rally Championship with the Lancer, this compact sedan still retains its WRC pedigree. With 11 different Lancer combinations available, picking the right one for your needs can be problematic. The range begins with the $16,000, front-wheel-drive DE sedan and tops out with the $35,000 all-wheel-drive GSR Evolution. Our $21,445 front-wheel-drive GT, with its 2.4 liter 168hp engine, represents a good compromise between the entry level 2.0 liter, 148hp DE and the line topping, turbocharged, 291hp GSR. The GT has enough urge to accelerate you out of tight passing situations while posting excellent mileage numbers (26MPG combined). Although our sample GT was loaded with $5,150 worth of options, you can certainly get by without the pricey ($3,300) Touring Package or the $1,850 Navigation System.

Although I’ve never been a fan of CVT transmissions, the constant velocity unit in the GT is staged so precisely that you’d swear it contains gear sets rather than belts. In keeping with their WRC tradition, Mitsubishi supplies the GT with racing style, cast aluminum “Sportronic” paddle shifts which are attached to the steering column rather than the wheel. These silver elephant ears facilitate up and down changes which are easily accomplished even when the steering wheel is cranked over hard. The ride quality of the GT is stiff and well snubbed thanks to its sport tuned suspension and low profile, high performance tires and wheels (215/45R18 Dunlop SP Sport 5000). Although the GT jiggles over pavement imperfections it handles corners with great precision. The suspension architecture, which combines MacPherson strut front with multi-link rear, is independent at both ends, and uses front and rear sway bars for added stability.

Although our GT’s 3 month free subscription to SIRIUSXM radio had already expired, the Rockford Fosgate 9 speaker, 710 Watt premium stereo (included in the Touring Package) could still be used for CDs or MP3 hookups by cantilevering the head unit open. Doing so reveals a single CD slot, plus a pair of SD card slots. A 10 inch subwoofer located in the trunk keeps track of the baseline. Even when supplied with the leather seating surfaces of the Touring Package, the interior of the Lancer seems bland and somewhat dated. Neither the front nor the rear seats will elicit rave comfort reviews from occupants. Although the rear seats fold flat, the sizeable partition separating trunk from cabin interferes with storage capacity. On the positive side, the Lancer’s tall greenhouse permits excellent sight lines in all directions. Thanks to this vision enhancement and the spunky 167lb.-ft. of torque from its large displacement 4 cylinder engine, the GT is easy to maneuver in tight city spots.

The Mitsubishi Lancer remains an excellent platform for the driver concerned with car control. Its quick reflexes, exceptional shifting, and torquey motor convert this innocuous looking family sedan into a rapid transit module that shows Mitsubishi hasn’t yet forgotten the art of driving hard.

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT

  • Engine: DOHC 2.4 liter inline 4
  • Horsepower: 168hp
  • Torque: 167lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 23 MPG City/30 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $27,390
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 2WD

Thursday October 10th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Based on Agile Lancer Chassis
Gripes: Saddled With CVT and Low HP

Now in its third year of production, the Outlander Sport gets a fresh face and rump for 2013, along with larger wheels and new color palette. The revised snout and upturned, spoiler-topped tail impart a hunting hound rake to this crossover SUV based on the Lancer chassis. In the SE model, more up market interior trimming than before belies the Sport’s modest $22,295 base price. After spending several hours in the manually adjustable driver’s seat, I had no complaints about lack of comfort or support. The steering wheel is also manually positionable for rake and reach. The leather trimmed wheel itself features useful audio volume and band controls on the left spoke and effective cruise controls on the right spoke.

An extra $2,050 Premium Package garnishes the Sport with an enormous glass roof which admits plenty of light to the interior but does not slide or open. But it does confer fantasy status on the interior at night thanks to a long row of orange LED bulbs that illuminate both sides of the roof opening. The package also includes black roof rails, rear view camera, and a knockout loud Rockford Fosgate 710 Watt, 9 speaker audio system with 5CD/MP3 dash-mounted head unit. Since Mitsubishi thoughtfully provides the Sport with standard SIRIUS radio, there’s no lack of choice in the infotainment department.

The Outlander Sport is one curvaceous beauty. Its interior design is so full of arcs and parabolas that you can’t lay anything on a flat surface. The exterior is equally sloping, so if you want to store your coffee cup while you fumble for your keys, your only choice is the ground. But the cabin’s severe tumble home has a positive effect on outward visibility. The side and rear windows are tall and informative, and the included rear view camera helps you check all the safety boxes when you back out of a parking place.

Given Mitsubishi’s years of success with Lancer on the World Rallye Championship, it should come as no surprise that the Sport’s handling is precise and informative. The new 8-spoke, 18 inch alloys plant 225/55R18 Toyo A24 tires at each corner. These all weather radials never lose their footing, even when the softly sprung Sport achieves some rather dramatic lean angles in tight corners. However, neither the refined chassis, the athletic suspension, nor the sticky tires will determine how effectively you cover ground in this Outlander. That final measure of performance is determined by the engine/transmission combo, and here the Sport is sorely lacking. The engine is an inline 4, making just 148hp and 145 lb.-ft. of torque. Given that the Sport weighs in at 3,032 pounds, the power-to-weight requires each horse to move 20.4 pounds. Further complicating the equation is the SE’s lethargic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which is particularly hard put to find the right gear ratio when you most need passing power. Although Mitsubishi optimistically equips the Sport with large paddle shifts next to the steering wheel rim, these tools are rendered virtually useless by the engine’s lack of power and the vague speed ranges of the CVT’s stepped “gears.”

If you like the Sport for all its admirable qualities – looks, finish, utility – then forego the SE trim level and opt for the base model, $19,170 ES, which comes standard with a real 5-speed manual transmission. This transmission is not available on ES versions. In the long run, you’ll still get great mileage (25 MPG City/31 MPG Highway) without paying the performance surcharge that the CVT extracts.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 2WD

  • Engine: 2.0 Liter Inline4, DOHC, 16 Valves
  • Horsepower: 148hp
  • Torque: 145 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 24 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $27,170
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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Tested: 2013 Mitsubishi i-MIEV

Tuesday August 27th, 2013 at 8:88 AM
Posted by: Francois

What is it

The Miev is an electric car suitable for short trips in the city. It is small and tall and is zippy around town with its high torque electric motor. It is roomy enough with 5 doors and a high roof line.

But get it on the open road and it is not happy. It’s small wheels and high wind profile make it jittery on the freeway. And the range is no joke as 60 miles is really just a best case guideline. Get on throttle or tackle some hills and this can easily drop below 50 miles. So charging stations are your friend and like the Nissan Leaf, you will get to know them and your fellow electric car drivers well.

YouTube Preview Image Video: The Charging Point Test Drive

The Japanese domestic market (JDM) version of the i has been on sale in Japan as the i-MiEV since July 2009. Mitsubishi put the popular i on a bodybuilder program to beef it up for the U.S. market and to meet North American crash regulations and make it more suitable for freeway driving. Adding 4.3 inches through the longitudinal center of the i pushes the width to 62.4 inches. It’s still about two inches narrower than a Fiat 500, but the gains in width translate into much more elbow room than the Japanese version has. Additional front and rear crash structure adds about nine inches of overall length but no additional interior room. The North American i weighs in at a feathery 2500 pounds despite carrying 88 steel-encased lithium-ion batteries under the floor.

Strengths

The North American Miev enjoys a larger beam that makes the already-tall interior genuinely comfortable for four. Stretching an interior is tough and expensive, but Mitsubishi engineers devised a clever cost-saving move that frames the dash from the skinnier left-hand drive version sold in Europe with another layer of dashboard that makes the extra width appear like it was planned from the car’s outset, which it wasn’t. Look for the telltale gap filler at the base of the A-pillars.

Weaknesses

Understeer and squealing front tires greet drivers who push the i hard into corners. The car’s staggered tires (145/65R15 front, 175/65R15 rear) and softly sprung chassis exacerbate the plowing, a trait that sucks the driving fun from the i’s otherwise cheery countenance.
And the 60 mile range really makes it difficult on US roads. Cities may be ok, but the sprawling peninsulas often require more range and buffer than 60 miles.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Making of i-MIEV

Tech Details

If you’ve ever driven an electric golf car, you probably remember the jumpy throttle response, a characteristic of electric motors producing maximum torque at zero rpm. The Miev’s Smooth Start Control electronically regulates torque from a stop to eliminate jolting starts, making the car feel more polished than some EVs.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Kelley Blue Book Review

Driving Character

While the Miev’s electric propulsion may seem advanced, driving it is simple as a golf cart. Turning the conventional column-mounted key activates the circuitry. Putting the car in drive engages the motor. Flooring the amp pedal moves the car out smoothly with linear thrust. The lack of gear changes or a traditional powertrain noise adds refinement. The electrically assisted power steering feels light, as do the vacuum-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes. (Since there is no intake manifold vacuum to power the brakes as on the JDM gasoline-powered i, Mitsubishi uses an electric vacuum pump for boosting duties on the EVs.) The seamless transition between regenerative and mechanical braking also deserves kudos. Unfortunately, the lack of excitement is palpable, with 0-60 mph clocking in at about 15 seconds. We saw 81 mph as the governed top speed.

Other Cars to Consider

Nissan Leaf

The Bottom Line

With a price that undercuts the Nissan Leaf by more than $5000 and superior efficiency, Mitsubishi’s North American version of the Miev electric vehicle may attract a broader audience than simply urban-dwelling environmentalists who view personal transportation as a necessary evil. The EPA estimates that drivers will spend just $495 dollars to drive the i 15,000 miles—though putting 15,000 miles on this car is a formidable task, as the i’s practical range is just 62 miles. And that distance must vary quite a bit depending how you use the i: Just 15 minutes of hard driving at Mitsubishi’s Nagoya proving grounds erased four of the 16 energy bars in the i’s “fuel” gauge. Still, Mitsubishi’s management is fixated on helping the world become a greener place, and the practical changes they’ve made to the i will make the $27,990 car more palatable for American drivers and driving environs.

But in the end, this car can use a few hundred pounds more of battery weight and range. The car is a bit fidgety on the freeway and the 80 mph top speed can barely get you out of some tricky merging situations.

The range is the most difficult pill to swallow of all. 60 mile round trip commutes are out of the question without a lunch time charge. And on weekend jaunts, the 60 mile range can drop to 40 miles when going through some hills and mountains. Just like a petrol car, mileage drops significantly when climbing a hill. But if you don’t make it back to the descent because of the range, then you won’t get that lost mileage back to descend the hill.

Specifications

  • Price: $27,990 – $33,230
  • Powertrain: 49 kw (66 hp) AC synchronous electric motor; 16 kwh lithium-ion battery pack; RWD
  • EPA Fuel Economy/Range: 112 mpge; 62 miles

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

Thursday August 1st, 2013 at 10:88 AM
Posted by: Francois

 

Pros:

  • The “sport” aspect of this crossover stands out with a nice, tight suspension
  • The panoramic roof spans an impressive length of the roof, providing sunlight to both the front and back seats.
  • The Outlander Sport boasts a nice stance, looking like it’s prepared for virtually any conditions with aesthetic cues from the iconic Evolution line of rally bred street cars

Cons:

  • Underwhelming power – rated at 143hp, but not until 6000rpm.
  • The Outlander Sport seems to be plagued by hard plastics and bland designs giving it a cheap interior feel
  • Raked rear window and tiny cargo space limits usable volume

One day. Two Crossovers. Five Guinness World Records.
I admit to being fully intrigued the first time I saw the commercial for the new Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Clearly Mitsubishi was having fun with this marketing campaign, but the underlying message that I heard was that this is going to be an exciting, sporty, compact SUV that packs enough performance to make the driving experience stimulating.

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Video Review: 2011 Nissan Rogue vs. 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Monday December 13th, 2010 at 3:1212 PM
Posted by: Derek

Mitsubishi redesigned the Outlander Sport for 2011, but can it go toe-to-toe against the more established sport ute – the Nissan Rogue? Watch the video as Ryan and Aaron take these city crossovers deep into the forest on a holiday challenge and drive over some real terrain more challenging than a urban street riddled with potholes.

YouTube Preview Image

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2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart Review – Godzilla got back

Friday June 18th, 2010 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: berrichondanny

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart
By Danny Chang

Pros

  • Punchy twin-clutch electronic sport transmission
  • Gravel-mode AWD
  • Super tight steering
  • Five-door convenience

Cons

  • Tight luggage room when rear seat in use
  • Slower-than hoped for off-the-line acceleration
  • Less-than-ideal 17-25 MPG

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First Impressions: 2012 Ford Focus EV

Tuesday May 18th, 2010 at 9:55 PM
Posted by: Derek

2012 Ford Focus EV

The availability of mainstream electric vehicles (EV) is a lot closer than you realize. The Tesla Roadster (with its six-figure pricetag) and Mitsubishi i-MiEV are already being sold to the general public*. The Nissan Leaf is scheduled for a December 2010 launch and the Coda Sedan isn’t very far behind. Ford wants to be a player in the EV space and the Focus (along with the Transit Connect) are platforms being developed as pure electric vehicles.

The Ford Focus EV is based on the next-generation Ford Focus, a capable if not head-turning car. By choosing an existing platform, Ford will save the expense associated with developing a unique design. Ever since the second-generation Prius, with its iconic design, became a hit, automakers have adopted the idea that a hybrid car with an innovative high-tech drivetrain needs to scream out for attention. That’s the direction that Nissan is taking with the Nissan Leaf, due out in limited markets in late 2010. The Chevy Volt extended-range EV, the new Honda Insight, and the Lexus HS 250h are also original purpose-built designs.

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Geek Squad Shows off Mitsubishi i-MiEV at 2010 Consumer Electronics Show

Wednesday January 13th, 2010 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

Geek Squad i-MiEV
The Geeks go Electric

Geek Squad, a company known for its rather iconic fleet of VW Beetles ditched the bugs and brought four fully electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV’s to the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The tech repair company said last week they are currently leasing the cars and plan on using them at retail locations.

The compact i-MiEV is a svelte 2381 pounds and is powered by a mid-engine, 63-hp electric motor. To power the motor, Mitsubishi employed a lithium-ion battery pack that consists of 22 separate modules that are mounted underneath the cabin floor. Even with the motor in the back there is still room for the Geeks to store equipment.

When a quick-charging system is employed, the i-MiEV can be recharged to 80% in just 30 minutes. A standard 220V outlet can charge the battery pack in 7 hours. The standard two-prong 110v outlet will charge the battery pack in 14 hours. The estimated range for the i-MiEV is 80-100 miles.

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Plug-In Hybrid Lancer Evolution From Mitsubishi?

Monday October 19th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Mitsubishi, a niche car company long popular with the import tuner crowd, is rumored to be finally jumping into the hybrid game. And, supposedly, they will be doing what Toyota and Honda have not been able to do. Namely, build and sell a plug-in hybrid from the get go.

The more the merrier, I say. Of course, it would be even better if some car manufacturer were to make a performance hybrid of some sort. And Mitsubishi, starting with a clean sheet and given their performance background, could be a good company to do it.

Mitsu is will be rolling out a plug-in hybrid concept Outlander-based SUV at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show. In addition to the hybrid Outlander, there are persistent rumors that Mitsubishi could be planning to use the green tech from the upcoming hybrid SUV in the next-generation of its top performance car.

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Mitsubishi Bringing Electric i-MiEV To Market (video)

Tuesday June 9th, 2009 at 9:66 AM
Posted by: tonyb

It looks like Mitsubishi is getting very serious about it’s i-MiEV EV that caused such a splash at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The diminutive, all electric city-car is headed not only for production, but will be for sale to any Joe Schmoe off the street with the money and the desire to buy one of the little guys. As long as they live in Japan (for now).

Mitsubishi is starting off small, and being nice and logical and methodical about the first sales of its i-MiEV. The initial sales targets are aiming to move only 1400 of the little guys in fiscal year 2009, but that seems like a good way to go about it.

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