It’s almost a year since I bought the Lancer estate – and the last 12 months have been a tale of fantastic reliability. A couple of trips over to Ledbury for HVA auctions revealed the Lancer’s qualities: it combines the reliability and efficiency of a new car with the character of a classic.
Whether it’s on the motorway, B-roads or Welsh back lanes, it never ceases to impress, but what’s always outstanding is the lightness of the controls and the noise suppression. By day, for my auctions coverage, I usually drive a 3.0-litre Jaguar X-type, and the Lancer is just as enjoyable.
In many ways it’s probably better. The lack of power steering is no hardship, thanks to the thin 13in wheels shod with tall radials. It’s not lacking in grip or roadholding, and inspires plenty of confidence. So too do the brakes – late last summer, during a major service when all fluids and the cambelt were changed, it needed no work in the stopping department. I put that down to the Lancer’s lightness – it tips the scales at 981kg, compared to 986kg for a MkII Golf.
One of its finest journeys was last autumn – a 360-mile round trip to South Buckinghamshire for my folks’ 60th wedding anniversary. Almost the entire trip was on the M4, and the Lancer took it in its stride, easily sitting at 70mph all the way. Plenty of drivers (of one make in particular) seemed to take offence at being overtaken by the strange estate.
A slightly bent track rod has been the only thing that has needed fixing – it took a hit when the axle stand being used for a wheel removal wasn’t put in the right place (not down to me). Luckily my local garage sorted out,
I still enjoy driving the Lancer. It’s just so right in every respect, from practicality to driveability, and once you factor in its reliability and low running costs, it’s definitely a keeper.
A car well worth keeping, says our auctions expert.
The Lancer has plenty of friends – it keeps company with Richard’s other assorted classics in his storage unit.