Unforgetting: 2006-2007 Mitsubishi Lancer

Most of the Lancers I see in Denmark are the estate version though I see few of those. This is the saloon which is much, much rarer indeed. Bentley rare, I’d say.

2005 Mitsubishi Lancer saloon: super rare and quite unremembered.
2005 Mitsubishi Lancer saloon: super rare and quite unremembered.

I walked around the car and decided it was a fair interpretation of the small saloon, something of a fetish for me, I think. The spoiler is a excessive though. Its presence there on the bootlid means it’s the warmest version short of the Evo model which has completely overshadowed Mitsubishi, a halo car that has turned into a blinding light.

Auto Express begin their analysis by saying that the standard car is not as good as the Evo: “The Mitsubishi Lancer Sport is not a patch on the Evo. However, if you can manage to banish all thoughts of the turbocharged flagship from your mind, the Sport remains a keenly priced and honest saloon. Its beefy bodykit will not be to everyone’s taste, but decent performance and a host of sporty extras should ensure that it continues to have plenty of appeal.”

Having done a small amount of reading, I got the impression that if it were not for the legendary capabilities of the Evo version, this car would have been thought to have been quite good. “When the road becomes twisty, the Lancer lives up to its name and delivers a surprisingly sporty experience. It lacks the composure and ability of a Ford Focus, but it’s eager to turn into bends and has plenty of grip. When you see the price, it makes even more sense: at £11,524, the Sport costs only £775 more than a 1.6 manual Lancer, and is £1,800 cheaper than a similarly equipped 1.8-litre Focus,” said Auto Express.

Honest John says it’s well put together and well equipped. The Sporting version had a 133 bhp, 2.0 motor which is quite a lot for a small car like this, I think. The RAC were impressed with the kit too and judge the car to be a fault-free design to boot. They went on to say: “Solely available with a five-speed manual gearbox, the Sport models will get to 60mph in 9.8 seconds and top out at 124mph. If you want to go quicker in a Lancer, the next step is an Evo with all its attendant high-maintenance issues. There’s a lot to be said for the Lancer. It’ll be brilliantly reliable, is very well screwed together and has been developed to a point whereby nothing about the car is intrinsically annoying or ill designed. The interior is neatly styled although some of the materials aren’t anything to write home about.”

2005 Mitsubishi Lancer interior.
2005 Mitsubishi Lancer interior: I wish it was even more plain and austere.

The odd thing about these cars is that Mitsubishi didn’t sell them regularly. The 2005-2007 model years in the UK were covered by what were essentially over-stock from Japan, exported for sale at a comparatively low price. Mitsubishi were more interested in clearing the way for the next version and wanted a market to off-load the cars on.

Despite the low-key looks and utter lack of visibility, the dealers sell as many of these as they are allowed to have. There is a ready market for these kinds of marginal cars. Some people just love the reliability and maybe they just happen to live near a dealer so life is easier when it comes to servicing. The Lancer seems too good to be a commodity car. The interior looks comfortable and the general impression on gets is of a handy, durable and very useful small-ish car.

Yet here is it, a forgotten also-ran which in the hands of a firm with a sense for marketing would have been more than just a quick chance to reel in a few bonus customers.

Not quite so rare in Denmark.
Not quite so rare in Denmark.

You can see a trend in these “unforgetting” articles: Japanese and saloon are not a formula for setting people’s hearts on fire.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “Unforgetting: 2006-2007 Mitsubishi Lancer”

  1. I think that this Lancer is amongst the most insipid looking vehicles ever made. I loathe the look of them, and for a time here in Australia the Commonwealth Bank, which is our largest, ran a fleet of yellow ones (tying in with their corporate colour scheme). Richard, please cease with the exhumation of this horror and leave it abandoned in Abaddon.

  2. Having dome some research on Japanese car industry and history, I came to realise just how thoroughly unimpressive an image Mitsubishi has earned itself in my mind.

    People harping on about the alleged ‘soullessness’ of Japanese cars could very well be referring to just Mitsubishi.

    What an unremarkable maker of motorcars.

  3. I had the pleasure of receiving a Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8 automatic as a hire car on a trip to Kentucky. Driving the 80 or so miles from Irvington to Bowling Green and back again were enough to convince me of my error in choosing not to upgrade.

  4. I assumed reading this that this Lancer was not offered in the UK – I thought probably that we got the ironically named Carisma instead. Certainly I’ve never seen one. I’m sure. Yet a cursory look at Autotrader and there seem to be lots of them. Do they not sell them in The South? Or is it that I have seen them but never noticed them. This is good. A Stealth Car. Don’t knock it.

    Incidentally, there never seems to be closure on the question of the Starion’s name. I really like the idea that it’s a knowing pony car derived joke on the difficulty of saying Stallion with a Japanese accent. The alternative that it’s a combination of Star and Orion is so very dull.

  5. Au contraire, Sean. This Lancer was sold in the UK. According to the RAC it was sold here to clear space and take up slack Japanese demand. The prices undercut the Focus by nearly two thousand pounds sterling. In comparison with the Focus, Astra and Jetta/Bora/Vento it looks much less bulky. Yes, it is a little understated. In a time where everything is overstated, that’s a USP. It needs an interior like a 2002 Fiesta and some bright colours though.

  6. A look at the small ads in Denmark threw up zero Lancer saloons from this iteration. All of them were estates in 1.6 litre guise. They hold their value too: 50,000 kr is the usual asking price for cars from 2005-2006 with 120k on the clock. What the hell is that huge hole in the console?

  7. It’s a not unpleasant amalgam of second generation Mondeo and second generation Omega features. I probably thought I was looking at one of those. The estate looks useful. I’ve never owned a saloon car.

  8. Further study showed 2006 Foci costing 10,000 kr more the Lancers. I suppose they cost more to begin with. The only saloon I’ve ever properly owned was a 1984 Buick Century. The Toyota Corolla lemon I returned and I shared a Nissan Sentra (83?) for a month before the engine failed unaffordably. What a crisis.

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