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Mitsubishi gives Lancer a late-life refresh

Minor update: The base model Lancer ES features a new seat trim and now has keyless entry as standard.

Mitsubishi adds standard gear to Lancer to stave off newer competitors


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27 Aug 2013

MITSUBISHI has sharpened up the value in its Lancer small-car range to keep the ageing platform competitive with a rash of new and updated competitors.

Pricing remains the same for the range, kicking off at $19,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level ES hatch or sedan mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, but buyers will get open access to features once reserved for the options list.

The $19,990 kick-off price keeps the Lancer in line with newer competition, including the recently reborn Nissan Pulsar and Kia Cerato sedan, but it can't undercut the Holden Cruze which at $19,490 for the Equipe sedan, is $500 cheaper.

The refreshed Lancer adds new seat fabrics and keyless entry as standard on ES, while other models benefit from updated alloy wheels and a reversing camera as standard.

Mid-spec LX models add a 6.1-inch colour touchscreen and now feature a reversing camera as standard, while VRX and Ralliart models now get a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and 3D mapping.

There are no mechanical changes to what Mitsubishi is describing as the 2014 Lancer, so ES and LX models continue to be powered by a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, matched with either a five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, while the sportier VRX remains at 125kW/226Nm.

More powerful Ralliart models are powered by a turbocharged version of the 2.0-litre engine mated to a twin-clutch sport shift transmission with steering-wheel paddles, and a power output of 177kW/343Nm.

Standard gear on the base ES in sedan and Sportback guise includes leather door inserts, power windows, new seat trim and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The more upmarket LX starts from $23,990 plus on roads for the manual and $26,240 for the CVT and comes with reversing sensors, chrome styling touches, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front sports seats with leather trim, heated front seats and climate control air conditioning as standard.

Warmed-up VRX models kick off from $29,990 for the manual and $32,240 with a CVT and feature 18-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights carried over from the previous model.

The hotter Ralliart variant is only available as a sedan from $39,990 with an auto transmission and gets the new seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav that was previously only available as a part of a $3895 options pack.

Other goodies carried over in the Ralliart include automatic climate control, LCD multi-function display, while the body maintains the colour-coded bumpers, black air vents on the bonnet and a dual chrome exhaust.

Standard across the Lancer range is Mitsubishi's Link audio system that offers hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and steering wheel controls.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri said improved value can be found across all variants in the Lancer range.

“The Lancer range offers a model to suit every lifestyle and budget giving customers an attractive and affordable vehicle with high quality safety and a long list of features that suit their needs,” he said.

The current-generation Lancer arrived six years ago in October 2007, featuring aggressive styling that eventually wound up on a number of the Japanese car-maker's models, including the Outlander and ASX SUVs.

As Mitsubishi is yet to announce any concept vehicle that would point to a future small car design, the next generation Lancer looks unlikely to appear anytime soon, meaning the current vehicle may have to push on until 2015.

Last year, the Lancer was averaging over 1000 sales per month, a strong result for an older model, especially in the face of increased competition from the likes of the new Toyota Corolla.

This year however, the Lancer is averaging less than 1000 sales per month and at the end of July, has sold 6997 units, a 26 per cent drop over the same period last year.

While the Lancer was once a regular feature in the top ten selling cars in the country, it sold 866 units last month and was outsold by the resurgent Honda Civic (954 units) and Subaru Impreza (977) and only just managed to edge out the Hyundai Elantra (820).

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer pricing*
ES Sedan and Sportback$19,990
ES Sedan and Sportback (a)$22,240
LX Sedan and Sportback$23,990
LX Sedan and Sportback (a)$26,240
VRX Sedan and Sportback$29,990
VRX Sedan and Sportback (a)$32,240
Ralliart Sedan (a)$39,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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