Test Drive: 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer EX GT-A 2.0 CVT

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This is it: the last Lancer. Mitsubishi confirmed earlier this year that it will discontinue the production of vehicles under the Lancer name except in Taiwan and China.

This means that the 2016 Lancer EX GT-A 2.0 CVT will be the lineage’s swan song—the last descendant of a family of cars that to us Filipinos was almost synonymous with the Mitsubishi brand.

We got to test it out before it fully goes out of production, leaving the Mirage to represent Mistubishi’s sedan range on its own. We take a look at whether the most recent GT-A serves as a fitting farewell to such a beloved and iconic name.

Design: 4.5/5.0

he 2016 Lancer EX GT-A is as handsome as its predecessors, fitting into whichever decade they were made in.

On the outside, bold lines bow along the sides, complemented by similarly formed skirts and a molded hood that is blunted by the double-grille design front. The large spoiler, the angled headlights and the scooped fog lamps add to the imposing look—it’s a design that just screams to be noticed. And the fact that it came in silver just makes it look all the more like a dagger—swift and gleaming on the road as it carves out turns and plunges across the road.

The GT-A also gets a set of 18-inch, two-tone alloy wheels, a large trunk with push-button access and a wide-set moon roof.

Inside, the design is minimalist, but in a good way. Everything looks neat, and each knob, button and dial is where they instinctively should be. Silvers and light grays are smartly placed as accents everywhere to break the dark monotony.

Both driver and passengers have ample leg and head room, adding to the comfort provided by the cozy-fit seats upholstered with premium fabric.

The dashboard trim is of a high-gloss plastic material that runs across all the way to the doors. The doors as well as the steering wheel get leather accents for a more premium feel.

Hardware: 4.5/5.0

Without even considering the EVOs, one of the Lancer’s highlights is the engine that’s more powerful than most in its class, and the 2016 GT-A is no exception.

It runs on a Euro 4-compliant, two-liter, In-Line Four, DOHC, 16-valve gas engine with MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system). The engine is mated to Mitsubishi’s INVECS-III continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a six-gear sports mode that can be controlled with the stick or via magnesium alloy paddle shifters.

All of this translates to a top speed of 198 km/h. Power maxes out at 150 Ps at 6000 rpm, while the torque reaches 197 Nm at 4200 rpm.

A rack and pinion hydraulic-type is used for steering with power steering and cruise control function. The car has a turning radius of 5 m.

In terms of suspension, the front axle gets a MacPherson Strut with coil springs and a stabilizer bar while the rear gets a multi-link suspension with a stabilizer bar. Brakes are a combination of 15-inch ventilated discs for the front and 14-inch drum-in-discs for the rear with both ends supported by 10-inch master vacuum brake boosters.

Advanced safety features include front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags, hill start assist, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist and reverse camera with automatic night mode.

For creature comforts, apart from the strong and highly customizable air-conditioning system, the GT-A gets a six-speaker entertainment system which includes two tweeters. This is controlled by an 8-inch touchscreen LCD with support for GPS navigation; DVD, mp3, MPEG-4, and WMA playback; and device connection via aux-in, USB or Bluetooth.

User Experience: 4.5/5.0

Driving the Lancer EX GT-A was thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks to its engine paired with Mitsubishi’s CVT technology, it was easy to transition between short-distance and long-distance driving.

Going around the city was smooth and comfortable, for both the driver and the passengers. But once you break out from the grip of Manila traffic, that’s when you start to understand why the GT-A is a winner. The car has acceleration down pat, making full use of the engine’s capabilities. Even on full automatic, the CVT was no slouch with its response, quickly adapting when it senses the driver is letting in more juice. With boosted brakes that includes an assist function, slowing down is just as smooth as speeding up.

The only issue I had (and why it did not get a full five stars) with the ride is the steering which felt stiff. It was still a lot of fun to drive, although I did have to get used to putting the same amount of elbow grease into steering as I would have for a pickup or an SUV.

It was an equal experience for the passengers, who would particularly appreciate the comfortable seating, good amount of leg room, and smooth suspension. A cabin full of sleeping passengers would be a common sight.

The entertainment system provides an easy-to-use interface as well as solid audio quality, especially for those who prefer bass over the highs and the mids. This could further be customized using the entertainment console’s presets and equalizer bands. Special mention must be included for Mitsubishi’s navigation software which is one of the better programs out there.

Value 4.5/5.0

Priced at roughly PHP 1.2 million, it is well within the range of other cars in its class. What Mitsubishi is offering, is a great-driving car that’s well equipped for the everyday as well as the out-of-town adventures.

What’s Hot:
– Smooth drive
– Good-looking
– Strong engine

What’s Not:
– Steering feels a tad stiff

Bottomline:

It’s not the best Lancer ever, but it certainly carries the banner with pride. This is the kind of consistency that made the lineage a renowned one, and the GT-A reminds us of the things that we will miss from the Lancer family.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE September 2017

Words by Robby Vaflor and Photos by Adrian Esguerra