RALLY her­itage shines through

Strik­ing looks made Lancer’s 2007 CJ ver­sion stand out from the crowd, re­ports GRA­HAM SMITH

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE Lancer has al­ways been an un­pre­ten­tious model and its cheap and cheer­ful rep­u­ta­tion of­ten meant it was over­looked.

Mit­subishi was up­dat­ing its im­age at the time of the CJ and tapped into its rally-bred her­itage for the de­sign. A dis­tinc­tive nose, larger body and clear im­prove­ments in qual­ity made buy­ers sit up and take notice.


Any doubts that the Lancer was a gen­uine small-car con­tender were swept away when it fin­ished near the top of the Cars­guide Car of the Year tus­sle for 2007. It had sedan and hatch­back body styles and the vari­ants ranged from en­try level to sporty.

There was plenty of room for five adults in com­fort­able seats, the con­trols felt pos­i­tive in their ac­tion and the cabin lay­out was pleas­ant.

The base engine at the launch late in 2007 was a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der that de­liv­ered a de­cent blend of per­for­mance and econ­omy.


A 2008 up­date brought a new 2.4-litre four-cylin­der with stronger per­for­mance but greater fuel con­sump­tion. There were man­ual and auto trans­mis­sions, the lat­ter a sixspeed CVT.

On the road the Lancer drove nicely and even the CVT was pleas­ant with its six pre-set ra­tios.

This was a well-equipped lit­tle car, even the base ES came with air­con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, power win­dows and mir­rors. Dual front airbags were stan­dard and side and cur­tain airbags were op­tional.

Take a step up the range to the VR and you drove away with all the airbags and six-stack CD au­dio. At the top of the pile, the VR-X got big al­loy wheels, pad­dle shift on the auto and pre­mium sound.


On the road the Lancer came across as a solid toiler, not as sporty as some, not as grand as oth­ers, but it got the job done with aplomb.

There is noth­ing to sug­gest the CJ Lancer has any is­sues to make buy­ers wary. Used Lancers are snapped up quite quickly, so shop­pers need to be on their toes and watch­ing the ads closely. One seller re­ported that he had seven peo­ple phon­ing within two days of putting his wife’s Lancer up for sale.

The Lancer en­gines are solid and re­li­able in ser­vice but in com­mon with all mod­ern en­gines, de­mand reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing to keep them tick­ing over in good health. The cam belt change in­ter­val is 100,000km and it is im­per­a­tive not to miss it.

Trans­mis­sion spe­cial­ists re­port the gear­boxes are also sound and re­li­able.

One auto trans­mis­sion me­chanic re­ported he has not had one Lancer come through his work­shop in the past two years but he has seen plenty of ri­val brands in for re­builds.

Most new Lancers are still un­der Mit­subishi’s five-year war­ranty.


A small-car win­ner all round, the Lancer is def­i­nitely one worth keep­ing.




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