Road Test : Mitsubishi Lancer VRX
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 25 July 2012
The Lancer VRX is a step up from the ES and VR models, providing sports tuned suspension, an upgraded interior feel and rocking a 2.4L MIVEC engine.
Selling 1351 Lancers as of May 2012 (Which is about the same as figures for May 2011 suggest, 1331), the Mitsubishi Lancer sits in the top 20 passenger car sales in Australia.
Although significantly behind competitors such as the Mazda 3 on the charts, the Lancer still has plenty to offer in the sedan segment.
We got a hold of a 6 speed CVT Lancer VRX for a week. Let's find out how it went..
Slipping behind the wheel of the 2012 Lancer VRX for the first time and the improvements were immediately apparant. Improved interior quality was a standout, as was refined performance and on-road stability.
Keyless ignition gets the 2.4 Litre engine purring as the front passengers are catered for by luxurious heated leather seats which offer terrific seating positions and views to the road ahead.
Available in both 5 Speed Manual and 6 Speed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) we were lucky enough to get a CVT with steering wheel paddle shifters for a week of on-road testing.
The CVTs goal is to ensure that the Lancer always reaches the optimum RPM regardless of the speed travelling. It also aims to ensure smooth gear transitions. We found the 6-Speed transmission to be adequately responsive and to deliver a clean, smooth drive.
If anything, it's the lack of speed when flooring the accelator that lets the VRX down. Perhaps we were expecting a little too much from the VRX, nontheless, it feels like a car that should leave a trail of fire, yet doesn't.
The Lancer VRX is fitted with a 2.4L MIVEC engine. MIVEC translates to Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing and lift Electronic Control which basically means optimised performance.
Exclusive to Mitsubishi, MIVEC technology adjusts intake timings and provides greater acceleration from the get go and an overall boost of power. But is the performance increase up to the standard of its competition?
Overall, we were left a little disappointed by the engine performance. Doing 0-100kmp/h in 9.8 seconds isn't entirely mindblowing. Nontheless, the VRX is a suitable everyday car, with a soothing exhaust noise and enough throttle response to please everybody bar the adrenaline junkies out there.
Maximum power figures sit at 125Kw @ 6000rpm and maximum torque figures suggest an output of 226Nm @ 4100rpm.
Fuel consumption sits at around 8.5L per 100km for the 6 Speed Auto and at around 8.5L for the 5 speed manual, placing the VRX at around the middle of the pack for fuel conservation.
The 18" Alloy 8-Spoke Wheels set the scene for this rally inspired Sports Sedan.
The sports style is typified with a front spoiler positioned below the front grille and side skirts running along the side profile of the car. Fog Lamps cap off what is a sporty, rally inspired design.
Rain sensing wipers are a useful addition and kick in automatically when a bit of drizzle hits the windshield.
The 2012 Lancer scored a 5 star ANCAP safety rating ticking most of the safety feature boxes.
Safety features standard on the Lancer range include 7 SRS airbags, Active Stability Control, Brake Assist, ABS, Active traction control and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
A Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body system provides added protection in the event of an accident. It is designed in such a way to limit the force of damage to the passenger compartment.
A space saver spare wheel sits in the boot waiting for that dreaded flat.
It's once you are inside the VRX that the upgrades to the vehicle become apparant. Quality plastics with gloss finishings line the cabin and the front dash. Heated front leather sports seats offer supreme comfort and to top it off, black stitchings along the steering wheel result in a stylish looking cabin.
Bluetooth, Cruise Control, and audio outlets are standard in the VRX and are easily accessed and maintained.
A Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio System positions 8-speakers plus a subwoofer inside the cabin and provides decent noise with limited distortion. The VRX we had for a week didn't have the optional MMCS (Mitsubishi Multi Communication Sytem). A 7" touch screen that provides access to navigation, audio controls and dvd funtions. However, this can be picked up as an added extra.
A multi-information display positioned in the centre of the dash provides digital graphs on fuel consumptions, temperatures and a trip computer. A Reversing Camera in the rear vision mirror provides a great replacement for the 7" touch screen by not cluttering the front dash.
Big on space? Not an issue with the VRX, there is plenty of it. Front seats have plenty and the back seats aren't too shabby either. 60:40 rear split provied the extra room if need be and 400 litres of boot space wide a decent sized opening is above par.
Combine a sporty, rally inspired exterior style with an improved, updated interior feel and you get the Mitsubishi Lancer VRX.
An upgraded 2.4L DOHC MIVEC engine delivers what's required without blowing you away. It does the job, drinks a surivable amount of fuel, all the while delivering a sexy, soothing growl.
The drive is smooth with the CVT automatic and ultimately the driving experience is a good one, albeit, slightly "slower" than we predicted.
Starting at $30,990 for the 5-speed manual and $33,490 for the CVT. It's worth checking out.
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Mitsubishi dealer.
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