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Mitsubishi Lancer first look

Mon, 11 Dec 2006

By Tim Pollard

First Official Pictures

11 December 2006 04:20

Mitsubishi Lancer: the lowdown

Mitsubishi has unveiled its new Focus rival, the Lancer. Forget today's budget special – the new Lancer is Mitsubishi's pitch to move the Lancer upmarket, away from cheap 'n' cheereful Korean rivals and towards the mainstream heartland occupied by Ford and Vauxhall. Of course, most volume manufacturers make similar claims for new models, but Mitsubishi has some right to be optimistic. The new Lancer is bigger than before with more space than Astra and Golf rivals, and has a brace of sporty versions to appeal to performance fans. There's also a sharper-suited new design, whose chrome-accented grille and wedgy headlamps will spread to future Mitsubishis. The Lancer will go on sale in the UK in autumn 2007 as a saloon only, limiting sales in hatch-mad Europe; the five-door won't arrive until mid-2008 and there will be no estate this time round. However, the new high-performance Evo X will crown the Lancer family in 12 months' time.

In an age of global parts sharing, it's little surprise that the new Lancer shares DNA with a burgeoning family of sister products. Mitsubishi's aborted union with DaimlerChrysler means that its underpinnings are common to the Mitsubishi Outlander 4x4, as well as the Dodge Caliber family car and Jeep Compass. Don't expect a Golf or Focus-rivalling drive, then. There's no four-wheel drive on cooking versions of the Lancer, however. Buyers will be able to choose between three petrol engines – a 1.5, 2.4 and 2.0 turbo – plus a VW-supplied 2.0 diesel, all driving the front wheels. Prepare for some careful thought before picking the transmission option: buyers can choose between regular manual gearboxes, a CVT, a full auto and a twin-clutch automated manual like VW's DSG option.

By Tim Pollard