2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Review

Lancer Sportback

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2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Overview

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

Mitsubishi has made a number of changes to its 4-door compact sports hatchback, the Lancer Sportback, for 2012. The changes include updated interior seating material, trim upgrades inside and out, a Ralliart-type front fascia and updated 18-inch wheels. Similar to other vehicles in Mitsubishi’s lineup, the GTS model has been renamed the GT. The Ralliart trim has also been discontinued.

In addition to the GT trim, Mitsubishi also offers the front-wheel-drive Lancer Sportback as an ES. The ES trim gets a 148-hp 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder MIVEC engine married to a Sportronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that makes 145 lb-ft of torque. The GT trim upgrades to a 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder MIVEC engine with a CVT that achieves 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. The Lancer Sportback runs on regular gasoline and gets 24 mpg city/32 highway in the ES trim, while the GT gets 22/29.

Both 5-passenger 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback trims get as standard equipment air conditioning with a cabin air filter, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power central door-locking system, power windows with driver’s side auto-up and auto-down with safety function, steering-wheel-mounted cruise control and audio switches, cloth seating surfaces, a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, a 4-way manual front passenger seat, 60/40 split rear seat with cargo area release lever, 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with 4 speakers and a digital signal processor, rear wing spoiler, dual-level rear cargo floor with up to 52.7 cubic feet of storage, auto-off halogen headlights with welcome and coming home lights, variable intermittent windshield wipers and intelligent washer, rear-window intermittent wiper with defroster and timer, and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.

Upgrading to the GT trim adds the CVT with paddle shifters, a sport-tuned suspension with rear stabilizer bar, Fast-Key entry and start system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob and parking-brake handle, 2 additional speakers for the sound system, the Fuse hands-free link system with a USB port, fog lights and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

Package options are limited for the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. For the ES trim, they include an Alloy Wheel Package, which adds 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels and rear disc brakes, and a Deluxe Package, which includes a power sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Fast-Key entry system, two additional speakers for the audio system, Fuse Hands-free Link System with a USB port and Sirius XM satellite radio with a 3-month trial subscription. For the GT trim, the package options are the Touring Package, which adds a power sunroof, leather seating surfaces with front-seat heaters, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with rear-view back-up camera, a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate Punch Premium sound system (including a 10-inch subwoofer, 6-CD changer with MP3 capability and Sirius XM satellite radio with a 3-month trial subscription), bi-xenon auto on/off HID headlamps and rain-sensing wipers, and a Navigation Package that features a 40GB HDD navigation system with music server and real-time traffic, and a rear-view camera monitor, which can be added only after adding the Touring Package.

Safety and security features abound for the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback, including a 7-airbag safety system, which features advanced dual-stage front airbags with seat position sensors, side-impact head protection curtain airbags for front and rear seats, front seat-mounted side airbags and a driver's knee airbag. Additional safety and security equipment includes interior head-impact protection, a tire pressure monitoring system, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, active stability control with traction control logic, antitheft engine immobilizer and antitheft security alarm system.

Although some owners report a slight lag with the CVT transmission, most are completely happy with their selection of the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. Reviewers like its peppy 4-cylinder engine as well as the huge cargo space the dual-level rear cargo floor affords. The car also gets high marks from owners for both handling and acceleration.

In its fourth year of production, the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback compares favorably both pricewise and in fuel economy with similar-size hatchbacks, such as the Ford Focus SE, Subaru Impreza 2.0i and Toyota Matrix. By cutting down the number of trims available, Mitsubishi is able to focus more on quality than quantity. Although changes to both the powertrain and interior are expected for the 2013 model year, the 2012 version is a fine representative of the small hatchback class.


by Mark S. Baker

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