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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback dashboard
2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback front seat

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Review

U.S. NEWS SCORES Overall:
7.2
Performance:
7.2
Exterior:
9.2
Interior:
6.5
Safety:
9.2
Reliability:

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Quick Facts

MSRP: $15,695 - $27,995
Invoice: $15,032 - $26,813
MPG: 25 City / 34 Hwy
Pros
  • Attractive exterior
  • Crisp steering and strong handling on upper trims
  • Powerful engine options
  • Good cargo capacity in Sportback
Cons
  • Sub-par cabin quality
  • Underpowered base engines
  • Poor fuel economy for the class
  • Higher trims are expensive for the class

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer consists of Lancer Sedan, Lancer Evolution Sedan, Lancer RALLIART Sedan, Lancer Sportback Hatchback, and Lancer Sportback RALLIART Hatchback.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer ranks 35 out of 41 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on U.S. News analysis of 58 published reviews and test drives of the Mitsubishi Lancer, and U.S. News analysis of reliability and safety data.

Reviewers give upper trims of the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer good performance ratings, but they’re disappointed that even these pricey models are plagued by the cheap interiors and cramped seating found in lower trims.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is available as a sedan and a hatchback, and in all, there are three engines and three transmissions to choose from, depending on which trim level you choose. The Ralliart and SE trims come standard with all-wheel drive, which is a feature few models in this class offer. Even though shoppers have a lot of freedom in selecting their powertrain and body style, test drivers say that only upper Lancer trims have good performance. They enjoy zipping around in the Ralliart trim most, but even enthusiast journalists are wary of the Ralliart’s high price tag and poor fuel economy ratings.

If you’re looking at the base model because you like its sporty looks and competitive price tag, reviewers think you’re better off shopping the competition. The base Lancer’s performance is particularly uninspiring, and the interior has a low-budget look and feel. Paying more money for a higher trim doesn’t fix these problems.

Overall, reviewers say the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is only for shoppers who prioritize performance above all else and don’t mind paying a premium to get it. Other shoppers should stick with competitors because their performance, fuel economy ratings, interior space and quality give a lot more bang for your buck.

If you can afford higher trims of the Mitsubishi Lancer, the Volkswagen Golf should be on your list. While the Golf hatchback isn’t available as a sedan, you do have the option of two or four doors. But no matter which model you choose, you’ll get very comfortable front and rear seats, a nicer interior than the one in the Lancer and outstanding performance. The only thing the Golf lacks is the availability of all-wheel drive.

More than anything else, reviewers appreciate the Kia Forte’s versatility and practicality that appeals to a range of shoppers. The Kia Forte is available in three body styles (sedan, coupe and hatchback), has an interior that’s comfortable for four (five is a squeeze) and has good fuel economy ratings. It also comes with a lot of standard features such as satellite radio, Bluetooth and a USB port.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is available in sedan and hatchback (Sportback) models. The sedan comes in DE, ES, SE, GT and Ralliart trims, while the Sportback is only available in ES and GT trims.

This year, Mitsubishi added the SE sedan, which has all-wheel drive. Other trims receive some adjustments for 2012, including new wheel covers on ES and DE trims, as well as new wheels, new fabric and an optional backup camera and rearview monitor.  

Sportback models also get updates for 2012, such as new seat fabric and instrument panel trim. This year, navigation is available, and Mitsubishi added an Eco light, which lights up when you drive efficiently. Both ES and GT Sportbacks have new 16-inch and 18-inch wheel covers, respectively.

See the full list of 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer specs.

Upper trims of the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer are powerful for the class, but their high price tags and poor fuel economy make reviewers say they’re not worth the premium. »

The automotive press says the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer has an exterior that is sporty and aggressive. »

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer’s interior is functional, but reviewers dislike its cheap-feeling, bland design. »

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer does well in safety tests with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. »

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer has one of the more comprehensive warranty packages in the class. It includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. »

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Road Test / Video Review

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Video Review is around the corner!

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