Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 GTE Test Drive Review
For Malaysians, the current Mitsubishi Lancer has been with us for six years now. Based on every car guy’s side-lined fantasy, the Evolution X, this sedan is still just as stunning to look at as ever.
Only one spec is of the Lancer is left available to us, so it isn’t too hard to size up what’s on offer here. Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has only just reduced the model as such, and with it, a more affordable price tag that doesn’t compromise any of the specifications – adding more, in fact.
Spending some time outside, we see that the front-end of the Lancer 2.0 GTE has LED daytime running lights which add to the already aggressive look of the car. Other than that, it is exactly the same as it was. The large spoiler at the back provides a sporty profile too.
Just below the spoiler, we see the reverse camera and a button to release the boot without having to do it from the cabin. Upon unlocking the door remotely or via the keyless entry system, the powered side mirrors automatically unfold – a simple touch often overlooked by many popular models in Malaysia.
Stepping inside, the Nappa leather seats look very premium and provide good support for the driver. The materials lend a very nice touch and fittings are good as well.
A touchscreen infotainment screen made selecting our music inputs effortless. Navigation and mobile phone connectivity would have been welcomed additions, but it’s a miss we’re willing to accept, given the humbled price of the car.
Just below the infotainment system is the air-conditioning control unit which did a good job cooling the car down quickly in our famous Malaysian heat, especially with a sunroof up top that let more heat than we’d like in. In general, while sunroofs may be appreciated by some, the simple fact is that our climate doesn’t particularly warrant the best use of such an addition.
The driving position also provided good all-round vision and with the reverse camera displayed on the infotainment system, backing up the car saved us a few neck turns. However, the large spoiler on the boot of the car did block vision when using the rear view mirror.
On the move, the coloured information display on the instrument cluster provided information to the driver on current fuel economy, trip, and others.
Unfortunately, there is no push-start button here and you will instead have a turn-knob where the key used to go. It’s still a sensible solution that allows you to keep your keys in your pocket at all times.
Starting the engine brought the 2.0-litre MIVEC engine to life. The engine is paired to a CVT transmission with virtual gears. If you want to perform your own gear changes, you can set the gear selector into manual mode and use the magnesium paddle-shifters near the steering wheel that certainly lent a sporty feel to the drive.
Speaking of the drive, the Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 GTE is quick and smooth off the line. Power delivery is good but the CVT transmission is a little slow and this resulted in times where the engine did a lot of revving but not a lot of moving. We wished the CVT transmission would have simulated a better “stepped” sensation at each virtual shift, and that more of its spinning would have been translated to power at the wheels.
The Lancer 2.0 GTE has large 18-inch wheels with 215/45 R18 Yokohama Advan tyres. It also has four-wheel independent suspension that are MacPherson struts up front, multi-link at the back. Stopping power comes from all-around disc brakes.
Handling is generally good and even at speeds exceeding 130km/h, everything felt comfortable and stable. With cruise control on, long distances just fly by. Taking on the corners, the car felt very sorted and the Yokohama tyres gripped the road well.
Driving on our Malaysian roads littered with pot holes, bumps and uneven parts, the Lancer 2.0 GTE did feel a little harsh – a similar experience to be had with the Mitsubishi ASX. Inevitably, demanding that any car be comfortable on our rough tarmac is a tall order.
In conclusion, the Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 GTE is a very nice car, and puts up a decent fight in its segment with looks to floor the competition. Unfortunately, with all-new models like the recently reviewed Kia Cerato and Mazda 3 and more chiming in recently, it’s a little bit harder than usual to justify the RM115,590 (without insurance) asked of it.
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