The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer comes in five flavors: DE, ES, GT, SE, and Ralliart. The Lancer isn't as refined as other cars in this segment. While the audio and interior appointments improve, this vehicle is still a noisy means of getting around. The engine, road, and wind all add to the sonic ambience, which climbs a notch or two above pleasant. The 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty may alleviate lesser concerns. The car has been tightened up, with some of the features of the more spirited Evo migrating to other Lancer models. The driving experience gets better as a result.
With a reputation for sportiness, and several years of existence, the Lancer line shows several areas of improvement over earlier models. When compared to others in the same segment, however, it has some shortcomings.
New For 2013
The all-wheel-drive Lancer SE gains new aluminum wheels and an optional premium package, which includes a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, soft-touch door trim, and an upgraded audio system.
The most striking styling cue for Lancers is that gaping hole in the front end. Some people like it, giving an aggressive appearance. Others get reminded of a fish mouth, or a shark mouth, to be more kind. It is a signature race-inspired Mitsubishi look suggesting fun and aggressive driving. On the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE the front looks more civilized, especially when the body color gets applied to the band running horizontally through the middle of the grille. The three-point Mitsubishi emblem, in chrome, is centered in the upper opening.
With a direct side view, the rear quarter calls up memories of the taillights of a late 1990s Subaru Legacy. The rest of the car looks quite modern and even attractive. Often automobile front views remind people of facial expressions. On the Lancer, with the right lighting, the rear end gives the impression of slanted, slightly frowning eyes over a wide but thin set of lips. However, the overall look of the car is appealing.
Interior & Cargo
Leather provides an option in the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer. However, that requires an extra two packages to obtain leather seats and a leather steering wheel. They don't both come in the same package. Marketing may have to explain that one. The optional 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system can serve to drown out all that harsh ride noise mentioned earlier. For a non-aftermarket system, the subwoofer is massive.
Cargo volume remains about average for the Lancer at 12.3 cubic feet. The subwoofer would subtract half a cubic foot, however. To get a split-folding rear seat requires buying an optional package. The same goes for air-conditioning. Competitors offer these features standard. The instrument cluster peeks out from under a dual-visor arrangement that looks different but proves reasonably effective at reducing glare.
The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer shows its age with the electronic navigation and entertainment display. It just isn't as clear, readable, or intuitive as current technology allows. Seating in the front and back seem reasonable for a compact car, as does the headroom. The front seats provide good bolstering and support for active road maneuvers.
The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer offers all-wheel drive as an option. That gives a safety boost for any road condition. Though this classifies as a compact car, the weight totals almost 4200 pounds, so it does not have a tin can feel, despite the interior appointments tending toward the cheap side. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control come standard on the Lancer. Tire-pressure monitoring is provided, and rear park assist sensors can be obtained through the options process.
The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer is supplied with the multiple airbags that have become ubiquitous on modern cars, including the newer bags for the driver's knees. Disc brakes sit on every axle. Three rear headrests provide whiplash protection for the rear seats. The center section has a three-point safety harness, which goes a cut above some brands.
To Mitsubishi's credit, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the Lancer its highest rating for front- and rear-impact safety. One reason may be the highly developed crumple zones for collision safety. For the iPhone users out there, Mitsubishi has a Free Roadside Assistance app. That could bring comfort on a snowy dark night.
The experience on the road can be described as harsh. What with wind, engine, and road noise calling for attention, the effect can be tiring on a longer trip. The suspension, always a compromise, holds the road well but results in less than ideal ride comfort. In addition, it proves difficult to get just the right seat adjustment to be comfortably positioned for the controls. The transmission is a continuously variable-speed automatic. The seeming lack of gear changes as the Lancer accelerates provides a new experience for some, as the engine speed remains more consistent through all road speeds.
The Evo influence has bled over into other models. Thus, the ride stays tight and inspires confident navigation. Steering and handling feel quite precise. The Lancer goes where it is pointed. The 2.4-liter engine provides enough torque and responsiveness to make the commute enjoyable. Fuel economy lags behind the competition at 22/29 mpg city/highway. The benchmark for compacts these days reaches closer to 40 mpg highway.
The engine in the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer puts out 168 horsepower at 6000 rpm, with torque peaking at 167 lb-ft at 4100 rpm. This performance satisfies most drivers.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer
- Honda Civic/Si
- Ford Focus/ST
- Subaru Impreza/WRX
- Volkswagen Golf/GTI