Meet Mr Re­li­able

Mostly, any­way... The re­freshed all­rounder fol­lowed a well-proven for­mula

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARSGUIDE - with Gra­ham Smith

NEW

The Lancer has been with us for­ever; at least it feels that way. But un­like other long-lived mod­els such as the Toy­ota Corolla, it has never re­ally com­manded the at­ten­tion of buy­ers.

Those who have taken the trou­ble to find out mostly re­gard it as solid, well-built and re­li­able but it has tended to blend into the back­ground rather than stand out from the crowd.

The CJ model ar­rived in 2007 with plenty of prom­ise. Com­pared to the pre­vi­ous model it had fresh looks, a longer wheel­base and a wider track, more cabin space, and there was more equip­ment.

There were sedan and hatch body styles and range of mod­els to suit most needs and de­sires.

The every­day mod­els (we’ll over­look the hero sports mod­els that ap­pealed more to wannabe rally driv­ers) were the en­try level ES, the VR mid-ranger and the sporty VR-X. The As­pire, Ac­tiv and SX came later.

With its clean and at­trac­tive looks, the CJ Lancer was en­gag­ing, even if the cabin was crit­i­cised for its bland­ness.

The 2.0-litre four-cylin­der en­gine (113kW/198Nm) made it a solid per­former in the class. For those want­ing a lit­tle more zip, Mit­subishi added a 2.4-litre four (125kW/226Nm) in 2008.

The gear­box most buy­ers chose was the con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion but there was a five-speed man­ual op­tion.

The quirky CVT was not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea but with its six-speed sports mode the Mit­subishi tran­nie didn’t feel as soggy as some oth­ers.

Thanks to the larger foot­print de­liv­ered by its longer wheel­base and wide track, the Lancer felt more sta­ble and bet­ter bal­anced on the road than its pre­de­ces­sor. In­side, it was qui­eter and more com­fort­able.

NOW

Apart from the CVT, the Lancer fol­lows a well-proven for­mula. There’s noth­ing ter­ri­bly rad­i­cal about it or cause for con­cern by po­ten­tial used buy­ers.

Most own­ers we spoke to were ea­ger to praise their cars, re­gard­ing them as well built and for the most part re­li­able.

One is­sue that should be of con­cern re­lates to the anti-lock brakes and re­sults from the fail­ure of the elec­tronic mod­ule that con­trols the brak­ing sys­tem.

Own­ers say their first in­di­ca­tion was when the warn­ing light on the dash be­gan flickering. It even­tu­ally stayed on; the ABS was then not func­tion­ing.

Check with the seller about ear­lier is­sues with the brakes — and take note of the ABS warn­ing light if it comes on while driv­ing the car.

An­other thing to fo­cus on when test­ing a car is the op­er­a­tion of the CVT. Own­ers raised no is­sues with the gear­box, which sug­gests there are no prob­lems with it but the his­tory of such trans­mis­sions sug­gests that they are prone to drive­abil­ity prob­lems.

Check for shud­der­ing on take­off or when ac­cel­er­at­ing, hes­i­ta­tions or any other in­di­ca­tion that some­thing is awry. Check for a ser­vice record to make sure that your po­ten­tial pur­chase has been well main­tained.

There have been some re­calls, mostly for elec­tri­cal is­sues, so check the ser­vice book to see what work has been done.

OWN­ERS SAY

Rita Mag­nussen We have had two Lancers in the past six years. The first was a 2010 ES, which was a great lit­tle car. We traded that on a 2011 Ac­tive. Both were eco­nom­i­cal, and noth­ing went wrong. I can’t praise them enough.

Bob Atkins Ev­ery­thing was go­ing well with my 2007 VR un­til late in 2015 when the ABS light be­gan to flicker. Even­tu­ally it stayed on and the ABS wouldn’t then work. The prob­lem was faulty ABS con­trol mod­ule. Mit­subishi wasn’t in­ter­ested in the prob­lem. I even­tu­ally found a com­pany in WA that re­con­di­tioned the mod­ules and saved over $1000.

SMITHY SAYS

It’s a solid all-rounder if not par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing.

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