2017 Mitsubishi Lancer

Starting MSRP: $17,795 - $23,595

Estimated MPG: 24 city / 33 hwy

2017 Mitsubishi Lancer Review

All-wheel drive is incredibly useful if your commute frequently takes you through rain or snow. The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer offers this feature, and it's one of just a handful of compact sedans providing this amenity. The Lancer also impresses with quick acceleration and attractive sheet metal, but relative to certain rivals, it suffers from an overall lack of refinement.

By Warren Clarke
Last Updated 04/18/2017

The Mitsubishi Lancer is a compact sedan that seats five. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. Buyers have a choice of three trims: base ES, midlevel SE and top-of-the-line SEL.

For 2017, the Lancer has retired last year's GT trim level and folded many of its features into the SE trim. A rearview camera has been added as standard equipment, and the 6.1-inch touch screen that was optional on last year's model is now standard across all trims. Finally, SE and SEL models add a new optional Sun and Sound package that includes a sunroof and an upgraded audio system.

Exterior

Exterior
8

The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer has sheet metal that looks crisp, modern and sporty. A chrome upper and lower grille occupy a central position on the front fascia, bordered by standard halogen headlights and fog lamps. In profile, the Lancer's lines are sculpted and smooth, with 16-inch alloy wheels keeping the car connected to the pavement. The rear fascia features narrow combination taillights and a standard high-mount rear stop light.

Base models are equipped with LED running lights and side air dams that give the car a low-slung silhouette. Color-keyed door handles and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals are also standard.

Available exterior upgrades include automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. An available glass sunroof with power-adjustable tilt and slide allows you to let the sunshine in, and 18-inch wheels are available.

Interior

Interior
7

The Lancer's cabin is unremarkable in its design. While the gauges and controls are easy to access and read, the sedan's interior has a basic look and feel. It's certainly not displeasing, but many rivals offer cabins with a more upscale aesthetic.

The seats in both rows offer agreeable levels of comfort. An adjustable tilt steering wheel is standard, but the steering column doesn't telescope. The cabin overall is quite spacious, and there's a good amount of legroom in the second row. Standard 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks allow you to tote large items.

Trunk capacity is disappointing, with a relatively skimpy 12.3 cubic feet of space available. This dips to 11.8 cubic feet if you upgrade to the premium sound system, due to intrusion from the subwoofers. The Toyota Corolla offers 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is about average for the class. The Honda Civic sedan provides an impressive 15.1 cubic feet for your belongings.

Standard features include cloth upholstery, a six-way adjustable driver's seat, a four-way adjustable passenger's seat, automatic climate control and chrome-plated inner door handles. Available interior upgrades include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Performance

Performance
6

The base-model 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer ES comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are standard on all models except the ES.

Buyers have a choice of two engines. ES models are powered by a 2.0-liter inline four that provides 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rates models with this engine at up to 27/34 mpg city/highway with the CVT. A 2.4-liter inline four good for 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque is optional on the ES and standard on all other trims, and this engine has an EPA rating of 23/30 mpg city/highway. This fuel economy is unimpressive when you consider that rivals such as the Honda Civic offer up to 32/42 mpg.

Power from the 2.4-liter engine in our SEL test car was plentiful, and there was lots of juice on hand to tackle passing maneuvers. The car felt stable on the road, and its all-wheel drive was appreciated during a rainstorm. However, the engine was raucous and coarse.

A sport-tuned suspension is standard on all Lancers except for the base model. This suspension can be unforgiving, and bumps and roughness were unceremoniously transmitted to our Lancer SEL's cabin.

Technology

Technology
6

The Lancer's lineup of technology features is adequate but not generous. Base models come with a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and a four-speaker sound system. Satellite radio is available, and SE and SEL models come standard with a six-speaker sound system. A 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium sound system is available, and it features nine speakers and a CD/MP3 player.

You may also enhance your Lancer with a navigation system. This upgrade boasts a 7-inch touch screen, 3D mapping and real-time traffic. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration isn't available.

Our Lancer's technology features were easy to use. However, the user experience was marred by the dated look of the infotainment system's graphics.

Safety

Safety
6

In tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer earned four out of five stars for its overall crashworthiness. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Lancer a top rating of Good in all evaluations except the small-overlap-front-impact test. Here, the Lancer was deemed Acceptable, which is the second-highest rating.

Standard safety features include stability control, antilock brakes, a driver's knee airbag, traction control, front side airbags and a rearview camera. Active safety features such as blind-spot warning and frontal collision mitigation aren't offered.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
6

The base Lancer starts at $17,795, excluding an $835 destination fee. SE models start at $21,095, while the range-topping SEL starts at $22,095.

For most drivers, we'd recommend the Lancer ES, since it's missing the stiff sport suspension that's standard in other trims and provides a slightly smoother ride. We imagine most Lancer buyers will want to upgrade the ES with a CVT, all-wheel drive and the optional 2.4-liter engine. With these additions, the Lancer ES has a suggested price of $21,095.

Our SEL test car featured amenities such as leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and was upgraded with the SEL Sun and Sound package ($1,500), which adds a sunroof and premium stereo. Our review vehicle had a final price tag of $24,430.

The Lancer has a lower starting price than models such as the Toyota Corolla ($18,500) and Mazda3 ($17,845), but it's undercut by choices such as the Ford Focus ($16,775) and Kia Forte ($16,490). In addition to being more affordably priced, the Focus and Forte are more polished and offer broader feature content.

Overall

Overall
6

The compact sedan segment is more competitive than ever. Many choices in this class pair impressive refinement with very affordable pricing.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer is pleasant in many respects, but it trails most rivals in areas such as feature content, fuel economy and ride quality. It's worth consideration if you need a small, low-priced sedan with all-wheel drive. If all-wheel drive isn't a priority, we'd recommend taking a careful look at the competition.