When discussing the Mitsubishi Lancer, a lot of people imagine the Evolution model, that nutty, turbocharged football hooligan of a machine.
Of course that would be wrong because what the lancer line has always represented for the most part is mundane sedans that inoffensively and uncomplicatedly traverse the world’s roads, ferrying people and it has to be said, all done rather prosaically.
The Lancer has a continuous heritage running back to 1973 and has been popular almost everywhere in the world. In whatever obscure country you find yourself in you will probably see one. If aliens ever make contact and request to know a thing or two about us, we had better send them a Lancer.
It is a car, very much a car, a car in the classical sense, it looks like a car. For example it has an engine, doors, controls, seats and that sort of thing. It is the quintessential car.
Upon receiving a Lancer, aliens would think us competent, composed, benign, responsible. They might also think us a bit lacking in imagination but certainly nothing to be concerned with and most importantly would not consider Earth desirous enough to warrant launching a hasty attack.
Naturally we would need to check and double check that we weren’t sending them a turbocharged Evolution edition or they might take our communication as an act of aggression.
Since earlier this year Europe has had another variation on the Lancer to complement the Sedan version in steady sales.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is built on the same platform as the Sedan but is refettled to make a hatchback.
This has now just made it to Japan.
Europe gets a few engine options including some lower capacity petrol units as well as the ubiquitous diesel. We on the other hand get the cream of the crop. Either a naturally aspirated 2.0 litre producing 154 ps or a very much more exciting 240 ps turbocharged Ralliart edition more in the vein of the current Evolution sedan but alas not quite as powerful. Both engines are Mitsubishi MIVEC units.
The Ralliart edition is no doubt a fast car and benefits from 4wd and Mitsubishi’s quick SST transmission. It also looks a bit special with a couple of vents and a scoop on the bonnet distinguishing the car unmistakeably as having a bit of testosterone as well as real athletic abilities.
The NA versions look a lot tamer and come with an industry average CVT transmission only.
Both cars are not bad looking but you might have imagined that the intention was with the Sportback to make it more of a dynamically appealing designed version of the sedan with a younger target audience in mind. At least that’s what i thought.
The admitedly handsome front is carried over exactly from the sedan but the rear is of course new.
The execution of the hind quarters seems a little awry.
It might be that the rear was designed on a Friday afternoon before the start of a holiday weekend because it really looks like an afterthought. It’s easy to imagine the chief designer with his own Lancer’s keys in hand biting at the bit and upon observing one of his staff’s renderings for the arse of the car remarking “That will do”……..”Yeah, keep it simple”……..”It looks alright don’t you think?”………”C’mon the others already in the bar by now”.
That’s certainly the impression i have. The rear is just squashed eighth generation sedan and because of the stock sedan long front the rear looks a little excessively flabby and high arsed in profile but that’s not to say a lot of attractive women don’t look like that too.
What is one mans bowl of rice is another’s plate of fine sushi and Mitsubishi know that but in my almost Godly opinion, a rather thoughtless design never the less.
In offering only high capacity engines in Japan, Mitsubishi have fairly ruled out a large part of the opposition but that doesn’t mean people are going to buy the Sportback in such a hatchback crowded marketplace.
Prices start from 1,921,ooo JPY for the normally aspirated 154 ps version and rise to a sinful (actually pretty reasonable) 3,013,000 JPY for the 240ps high spec Ralliart edition.
For those whose wives won’t allow them the Ralliart model, Mitsubishi will do you a sportier LOOKING type of the standard 2.0 litre.
It’s possible you might fool 1 in 1000 people.