Mitsubishi Lancer vs. Honda Civic

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - August 31, 2016

In the world of cars, the lines sometimes become blurred between segments as a large compact car can actually compete with a small midsize. This is the case when considering the Mitsubishi Lancer and the10th-generation Honda Civic.

The Lancer falls into the upper half of the EPA’s compact segment, while the new Civic’s larger cabin and trunk push it just past the EPA’s threshold for the midsize class.

Like many Mitsubishis, the Lancer has issues with materials and workmanship, but it is inexpensive and sporty. The Civic, on the other hand, is going through a revival that has buyers champing at the bit to get their hands on one.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Lancer & Civic >>

The debate at hand is whether the more value-oriented and sporty Lancer can edge out the surging Civic, or not.

What the Lancer Gets Right

The Lancer distinguishes itself with angular styling and an abundance of body creases. The overall look is sharper and more upright than most cars of this size. Buyers looking for a little excitement will appreciate the Lancer's responsive steering and curve-loving suspension.

Mitsubishi has cut all of the true performance engines from the Lancer lineup, but it still has the optional 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a respectable 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, the optional all-wheel drive gives the Lancer a leg up in places where things get slippery in the winter.

Though it is more wallet friendly, the Lancer actually piles some premium features in its base ES trim. These include things like 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, keyless entry, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and a rearview camera.

See more sedan comparisons here »

What the Civic Gets Right

The recently redesigned Civic gets a new twist in 2017 in the form of a new hatchback body. This joins the sedan and coupe to make the Civic one of the most versatile vehicles in its class. With the redesign comes a more grown-up look that mature buyers will find more attractive than its competitors.

Also pushing the Civic to new heights are its two new engines. The base 2-liter turns in a decent 158 horsepower while the optional 1.5-liter turbo churns out up to 180 ponies in the Sport Touring version of the five-door hatchback (all others have 174 horsepower). In addition to being peppier, the Civic’s powertrain options are also far more fuel efficient than the Lancer at up to 42 mpg highway.

The Civic is also larger than ever, leading to more roominess in the cabin. This results in an extra 1.3 inches of rear-seat legroom and 3 cubic feet of cargo room (sedan vs. sedan) when compared to the Lancer.

Finally, the Civic is one of the safest cars in its class and received the Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.

The Lancer Has Lost its Edge

At one time, this was a much closer battle thanks to the Evolution and Ralliart versions of the Lancer. Sadly, those performance models are gone, leaving an aging sedan to compete with the new Civic. Unfortunately, the Lancer just cannot match the Civic in any important measurable.

Our Verdict: Honda Civic

The 10th-gen Civic is too much for nearly any of its competitors to handle. Its more potent powertrains and stunning new looks put it almost in a class of its own. It’s not surprising that the aging Lancer just cannot keep up

Take a closer look at the Mitsubishi Lancer >>

Take a closer look at the Honda Civic >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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