The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer earns a low Total Car Score in the Compact Sedan and Wagon category.
The Mitsubishi Lancer is lauded for its compliant ride, capable acceleration, effective CVT transmission and quick, communicative steering, especially for the performance-infused GTS and Ralliart models. Other positive feedback focused on the Lancer’s simple interior control layout and supportive front seats.
Negatives for the Lancer include unrefined engine noise and steering wheel vibrations at highway speeds. The car was also noted for its cheap interior look and feel. And the Lancer Ralliart’s ride was considered too stiff for daily commuting.
The Mitsubishi Lancer underwent a full redesign five years ago and is in its ninth generation. For 2012, it remains mostly unchanged.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is a compact sedan offered in four trims: DE, ES, GTS and Ralliart trim levels (the Lancer Evolution is covered separately).
The base DE brings standard power windows and mirrors, 16-inch wheels and a four-speaker stereo. The ES adds keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The more performance-oriented GTS is equipped with an uprated engine, 18-inch wheels, a firmer suspension tune, automatic climate control, sport seats, Bluetooth and a six-speaker stereo with USB connectivity. The track-capable Ralliart benefits from a turbocharger and all-wheel drive.
Notable options for the Lancer include xenon headlights, leather upholstery, a sunroof, a premium nine-speaker sound system, navigation and a 30-gigabyte music storage hard drive.
Standard safety equipment includes ABS, stability control and seven airbags, including one at the driver’s knee. The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer earned above-average crash test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the highest possible ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The Lancer is powered by a choice of three engines. The base unit for the DE and ES trims is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 148 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Next up is the GTS’ 2.4-liter four-cylinder generating 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. Both engines send power to the front wheels by way of either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The all-wheel-drive Ralliart utilizes a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 outputting 237 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. This engine is managed by an automated dual-clutch manual gearbox.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2012 Mitsubishi Lacner with a 2.0-liter engine is 26 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined with the automatic transmission and 25/34/28 with the manual. The 2.4-liter yields 23/30/26 with the automatic and 22/31/26 with the manual. The Ralliart gets a rating of 18/25/20 with its dual-clutch gearbox.
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