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September 05, 2012

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE - First Impression Review

by Courtney Caldwell

Mitsubishi-lancerMitsubishi has been known throughout the years for their great electronics and other gadgets but their cars have had a limited audience. 

Until recently, Mitsubishi cars almost seemed like a hobby to the company, a small fish in a big pond of automakers. Their small line of vehicles appeared to target the men's gear-head market, save their Galant sedan, which leans more towards a family audience. 

Then, this week, their new and improved 2013 Lancer 4-door sedan showed up on my doorstep for a test drive. Impressed would be an understatement. Gear-heads, move over. First, it's got looks, good looks. Small and compact for a sedan, it's certainly roomy enough for four and has more pep and pizazz than imagined. Corners very well, holds a steady grip on the road when turning (unless you're tearing into a corner at warp speed) at which time expect to test its 4-star rollover safety rating.

After driving it around town for everyday use it hit me that this was a fun yet practical car, a rare combination in most vehicles today. They're either practical and not much fun, or loads of fun but not very practical. The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer definitely owns both characteristics as well as charm. 

It also comes with a gaggle of safety features so me thinks it's fair to say that the Lancer would make a very nice, practical with sporty handling family car, especially for those starting out, say a young family, single drivers on a budget, even a great empty nest vehicle to drive around and leave at your warm weather cabin. This is not to say the Lancer wouldn't make a great year round car... as it would with ease. However, I know many 'retired' people who are always looking for a 'second car' to leave at their summer or winter home so they don't have to ship a car back and forth. After test driving it this week, the 2013 Lancer passed my 'family and friend recommendation' test with flying colors. 

The estimated fuel cost per year is $2150, which of course always depends on how you drive and gas prices at any given time. More aggressive drivers can expect to spend more. Mitsubishi claims a 25MPG average but again that would be subjective to your driving habits and environment. It still has a way to go to catch up with other vehicles, some of which now get up to 50MPG, especially hybrids, but if there was ever a little engine that could it would be Mitsubishi.

Its warranty is a 10 year-100,000 mile selling point; however Mitsubishi does offer other variations of the warranty so as in all things, be sure to do the research, make a list of questions before buying, get the answers you need to make an informed decision, and always, always read the fine print on any car you buy or lease. While owning a new vehicle can be a wonderful and exciting emotional experience, one must not let the emotions get in the way of the negotiating and deal making. Save your giggles and showing off for later when you can also brag about what a great deal you got.

Our test car price tag, including options and destination charges, was $22,640K, sticker price. But as we all know, no one pays sticker price so be ready to bargain. The 2013 Lancer seems well worth the effort. 

I must say that my first impression of the little Lancer was surprise at how far the company had come. After the first day on the road, driving it in a manner that the average driver would drive (meaning no hot-dogging, race-tracks, peeling off at red-lights), I was sold. Welcome to the big pond, Mitsubishi. 

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