Having already reviewed a few Lancer’s I was a little apprehensive when booking this car to review, as the CJ Lancer has been on the market for several years and my train of thought was is there wasn’t going to be enough differences between this update and the previous one for me to offer a review that wasn’t just a rehash of an earlier one.
Well after spending a week in the Lancer I am happy to say that while the CJ Lancer has been on the market for a few years this model is probably the best one I’ve driven.
The sloping headlight and wide mouth blacked out grille and fog lights give it somewhat aggressive appearance add to that 18inch alloys and the rounded rear hatch with big rear spoiler give the XLS an aggressive looks that I have always liked.
Slipping inside and the leather front seats are comfortable the steering only has rake adjustment so it took me a little bit to find the ideal driving position.
The leather rimmed steering has buttons for the audio system and cruise control but my big complaint with it was it is too thin for my liking.
The instruments panel features speedo and rev tacho with an LCD info screen in between them which shows various function including the trip meter and fuel economy.
The dash is a mix of hard plastics and the centre stack contains the 7 inch touch screen for the Mitsubishi’s LINK system which give you Bluetooth and voice activation, audio streaming, CD player with MP3 and AM/FM radio, iPod connectivity, USB. The sound from the Rockford Fosgate® Premium Audio System is very good indeed thank to the 4 speakers, 4 tweeters and a fully sik subwoofa. While the sound was really good the system was cumbersome to use and a pain at times. At least I never got the same disconnection problem for my USB drive that I always seem to get in Mitsubishi’s.
I found the Bluetooth was very easy to connect my phone only thing was I found not quite as easy to use as system in cars such Holden’s Mylink and Chryslers Uconnect.
While the dash is functional and well set out it is really starting to dated compared to the rest of the offerings in it’s class.
The back seat is comfortable and has decent amount of leg room, being hatch you would expect a decent amount of room in the boot and the back seats fold down for those bigger things you need to carry.
Under the bonnet the VRX is powered by a 2.4L naturally aspirated 4 cyl putting out 125Kw of power and 225nM of torque. The engine is very tractable not being turbo charged means there’s no lag to worry there’s plenty of power available from the get go and it has no trouble at all keeping up with traffic, on the freeway it could probably benefit from an extra that most of it’s competitors have as at highway speeds it tends to be sitting around 3000rpm but really it isn’t using that much then probably thanks to the extra capacity it has over it’s rivals.
Now I am not a fan of CVT auto’s although this one is extremely smooth, although when you put your foot you get that same all noise and not a lot of action that you get with most CVT’s.
There is a sports mode which has shifts points so it will behave like a normal auto but to me the shift points seems artificial and annoying so I only I only used it once. In my opinion this car would be more fun to drive with a proper auto transmission instead of a CVT.
On the road the XLS rides smooth and seems to soak up the bumps alright, the XLS works well up to about 7/10th’s but then doesn’t feel as sure footed although this mighten bother some people though as not everyone will want to explore the handling limits of their car.
The steering is light and makes the XLS easy to park, but to tell you the truth it feels a touch wooden to me and it does lacks the feel some other cars have.
Safety wise the XLS is packed full of safety features including active stability control, traction control, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution and Mitsubishi’s Brake Assist technology and two ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the rear. The XLS scores bonus points for having a rear view camera, the reverse sensors.
So overall I found XLS not a bad car after a week and while the CJ Lancer has been on the market for quite a few years this is probably it’s best iteration.
While I found it was a decent car to drive around I do feel that it’s starting to look dated on the inside compared to other offers in it’s class.
I did find the engine rather although I feel it was let down a bit by the CVT automatic, so the manual would be a proposition for my liking.
I do however understand why I’ve seen quite a few on the road lately the VRX Lancer does offer an attractive package, it’s has plenty of safety features, is comfortable to drive and really I didn’t find a lot wrong with it.
As I’ve said before in my other Lancer reviews I do know a few people do own them and have never had any issues with them, and you do also get the peace of mind of a 5 year/130,000km warranty and capped price servicing.
But for me the Lancer has around for ages and it’s starting to look a little dated compared to others in it’s class.
For more info on the XLS Lancer or the rest of Mitsubishi’s great range of vehicles visit their website http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au