Mitsubishi's long-running compact, the Lancer carries on in familiar form for 2017. While it can't match the refinement of newer competitors, the Lancer offers all-wheel drive at an economical price.

Pricing and Equipment

The Lancer starts out in ES trim for $18,630. Buyers get some nice features for the money, including:

  • Automatic climate control
  • Heated side mirrors
  • A rearview camera
  • Fog lights and LED running lights
  • A 6.1-inch infotainment touchscreen with voice controls
  • 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels

The front-drive ES comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque while returning 28 combined miles per gallon with the standard six-speed manual transmission is standard. The optional continuously variable automatic transmission, available for $1,000, boosts that number to 30 mpg.

The all-wheel-drive ES AWC ($21,130) gets the CVT as standard and a more powerful 2.4-liter engine with 168 hp, 167 lb-ft of torque, and 26 combined mpg. The $21,930 SE has all of that, plus 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, and satellite radio. The line-topping SEL throws in leather seats and a few extra conveniences for $22,930. A Sun and Sound Package for the SEL ($1,500) adds a sunroof and a Rockford Fosgate sound system.

Performance Pros

Mitsubishi Lancer
  • The 2.4-liter performs with gusto, taking the Lancer from zero to 60 mph in under 8 seconds.
  • The Lancer's relatively firm suspension produces more responsive handling than many compact sedans we've driven. We genuinely enjoyed putting the Lancer through a workout.
  • Available all-wheel drive is a boon for owners in snowier states.

Performance Cons

  • With the 2.4-liter liter engine, the Lancer is EPA-rated at 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving. That's near the bottom of this class.
  • The CVT didn't always cooperate when it's asked for more power. We sometimes had to bury the pedal just so the engine could do its thing.
  • Ride quality suffered at the expense of handling, a trade-off we wish wasn't so obvious.

Interior Pros

  • The Lancer's upright design provides impressive head room all around, and there's enough rear leg room for full-size adults.
  • The hooded gauges and thick steering wheel are pleasantly sporty.

Interior Cons

Mitsubishi Lancer
  • The Lancer's age really shows in the hard plastic that dominates the interior. Soft, textured materials are now the rule, even for compacts.
  • There's plenty of road and wind noise to disturb the peace. Throw in some engine roar during acceleration, and the cabin is easily one of the noisiest in the segment.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Despite being on market since 2008 without a major redesign, the Mitsubishi Lancer ranks above average in passenger room and overall performance.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Mitsubishi Lancer comes up woefully short in safety technology. Aside from rear parking sensors, there's not a single collision-avoidance or driver assistance feature available.

The Bottom Line

The Mitsubishi Lancer remains a viable choice for buyers who must have all-wheel drive at a low price (although the far newer, safer Subaru Impreza is likely a smarter play). For everyone else, just about any competitor will hold greater appeal.