Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lancer a practical sedan at an easy-on-the-eyes price

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – When auto folks gather to talk about compact sedans, the Mitsubishi Lancer is not the first model that rolls off the lips … Maybe not even the 10th.

And yet, the current Lancer is a practical sedan loaded with practical perks, and can be had for practically a song.

My recent week in the 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC sedan was certainly pleasant.  It was loaded with comfort/convenience/safety features, all included in the sticker's bottom line of $22,805, which included the $810 destination/handling charge.

For the record, that AWC designation stands for All-Wheel Control, the heart of an electronically controlled 4WD system, which performed admirably.

For 2016, Mitsubishi tweaked the Lancer inside and out.

Inside, the front/center console has been redesigned, as has the navigation system.  Exterior refinements include a new look on the front end and new alloy wheels designed to emphasize a sporty look.

My ride had the 2.4-liter in-line 4 engine with 168 horsepower.  The power plant is no neck-snapper, but it handled freeway commutes and dicey downtown situations well enough.  It took on steep hills with surprising, if somewhat noisy, enthusiasm.

The continuously variable transmission was smooth and efficient.

Fuel mileage is nice at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.  And yes, you can fill it up with all the bargain-priced 87 octane fuel that you need.

Front-seat comforts are excellent, but alas, full-size adults are going to feel a bit squeezed in the compact sedan’s back seat domain.

Arguably the best part of my week in the car was its decidedly Euro feel … and appearance.  In fact, several of the neighbors volunteered incorrect guesses on the motor vehicle model parked in my driveway.  They were genuinely surprised – and in a good way – when told that the car's manufacturer was Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi’s generous warranties are a bonus as well.

The toughest thing the Lancer faces is intense competition in its segment, from four-door models made by Toyota, Honda, Ford and General Motors.  But even with that in the mix, if you’re pondering a small sedan, I’d put the Lancer on your test-drive list.

It might have just enough specialty charm to lure you away from some of the bigger names.

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