There’s just something about a sports sedan that just does it for me. Maybe it’s the fact that I now have a family and a sports sedan caters to both the father and teenager inside of me, by offering up four doors, a stylish look and acceptable performance. Then again, maybe I am just an old man that has grown used to rocking a sedan, man purse and a diaper bag — yeah, that’s probably it.
Well, enter in the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT that I got my hands on for a week, and was really surprised with what I saw. I am definitely no fan of the Lancer as a whole lineup — sans the EVO , of course — because it has become a stale look that feels really, really dated. But add in the GT trim level that tosses in the 18-inch wheels, big rear wing and some niceties on the inside, and it was acceptable. Sure, I would have preferred the 237-horsepower Ralliart model, but at least the GT looks the part.
The Lancer never really gets its fair chance in the compact sedan market, as the Focus, Corolla , Civic and Forte really hog up all the attention. So, we’re here to give it a chance to warm our hearts.
Click past the jump to read my full Driven review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT.
When the driver first rolled up to drop off the Lancer at my house, I immediately took notice of the nifty — but utterly useless — spoiler on the backside and the 18-inch wheels. Sure, they both look really cool and make my inner-teen giggle with glee, but 17-inch wheels would net it a better ride and that spoiler... oh, I will get to that thing later.
Overall, though, my first impressions of the Lancer GT were good. The body has some hard angles to it, the spoiler is sporty, the large grille with the chrome surround is pretty sharp, and the lights are way above its class. Up close, though, I could start picking out the el cheapo stinko things that are on nearly every compact sedan, like the flat-black plastic around the fog lights and under the side-view mirrors. These are all items that could easily be body color or at least painted gloss black, but I guess Mitsu needs to pinch costs where it can.
"One flaw that drove me nuts was the fact that there was a gap between the decorative rings around the gauges and the actual gauges"
Remember I said that I would come back to that spoiler later? Well, here you go; this damn spoiler is so heavy that lifting the trunk lid is like a trip to the gym. The hydraulic shocks on the trunk lid simply don’t have the power to assist you in lifting it, and god forbid you don’t seat it perfectly before sticking your head in the trunk. If I remember correctly — I am not too sure, as I may have been concussed — I had the lid fall on my head three times — yeah, not fun.
San the trunk lid to the back of the head, I was pleased with the exterior on this $21,000 compact sedan. It was sporty enough and the spoiler did add a little extra flair to it all. One down side is that this body style has been around since 2008, so it is starting to get some wrinkles here and there — time for a redesign, Mitsu.
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT - Standard Exterior Features
- Auto-off Halogen headlights
- Fog lights
- Rear wing spoiler
- Sport front grille and bumper
- Exhaust finisher
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- 215/45R18 tires
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT - Exterior Dimensions
|Track, Front||60.2 in.|
|Track, Rear||60.2 in.|
|Min. Ground Clearance||5.5 in.|
On the inside, the Lancer GT felt pretty good, overall. The standard cloth seats were soft, but had enough firmness in the bolsters to hold me in place in corners; the controls were all placed in smart areas; and the sound system was plenty powerful for my taste.
Like most cars in this class, once I examined things a little more closely, I found some weird flaws. One flaw that drove me nuts was the fact that there was a gap between the decorative rings around the gauges and the actual gauges. This is one of those little flaws that a tad more attention to detail would have caught.
Something that I loved inside the cabin of this car were the paddle shifters. So many automakers so with cheap, plastic paddle shifters that don’t give you
"I've gotta say that CVT + paddle shifters = a lot more fun than I thought."
positive feedback and that feel like they will break if you pull too hard. The Lancer GT has metal ones — YES!!! They felt well weighted and durable on each and every pull, and I never once worried about possibly owing Mitsu a few hundred bucks if I snapped one. Also adding a little class to the inside are the gloss-0black accents on the doors and instrument panel.
In terms of roominess, the Lancer is about average for its class, with 39.6 inches of headroom up front, 36.9 inches in the rear, and 42.3 inches of legroom up front to go along with 36.1 inches in the rear. The trunk holds a decent-for-its-class 12.3 cubic feet, but the trunk opening is so small you really can’t fit anything in there. I bought a medium-size shop vacuum, and I had to put it in the back seat because it wouldn’t fit through the opening.
Rear Seat Detail
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT - Interior Dimensions
|Head Room (with sunroof) - Front||39.6 in. (38.5 in.)|
|Head Room (with sunroof) - Rear||36.9 in. (36.9 in.)|
|Legroom - Front||42.3 in.|
|Legroom - Rear||36.1 in.|
|Shoulder room - Front||54.7 in.|
|Shoulder room - Rear||54.3 in.|
|Hip room - Front||53.3 in.|
|Hip room - Rear||54.1 in.|
|SAE volume - Interior Volume (w/sunroof)||105.8 cu. ft. (103.8 cu. ft.)|
|SAE volume - Passenger Volume (w/sunroof)||93.5 cu. ft. (92.0 cu. ft.)|
|SAE volume - Cargo volume (w/subwoofer)||12.3 cu. ft. (11.8 cu. ft)|
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT - Standard Interior Features
- Color LCD multi-information display
- High-contrast speedometer/ tachometer gauge cluster
- Sport fabric seating surfaces
- 6-way adjustable driver’s seat
- 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
- 60/40 split folding rear seat
- Automatic air condition climate control
- Leather-wrapped shift knob
- Adjustable tilt steering wheel
- Gloss Black I/P and front door accents
Under the hood of the Lancer GT is the 2.4-liter MIVEC engine that Mitsu uses across its lineup. The engine puts down 168 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 167 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. In the Outlander that I tested prior to this, the engine was way overmatched, but in the Lancer GT, it feels just right.
"The hydraulic shocks on the trunk lid simply don't have the power to assist you in lifting it, and god forbid you don't seat it perfectly before sticking your head in the trunk"
When I heard that this model came with a CVT hooked up to the four-pot engine, I just rolled my eyes. But once I found out it had paddle shifters too, I was instantly intrigued, as I’ve never worked a CVT with paddle shifters. I’ve gotta say that CVT + paddle shifters = a lot more fun than I thought. The shifts were crisp and — dare I say — nearly dual-clutch-like. No, it doesn’t have the lightning-fast shifts of most dual-clutch transmissions, but this shiftable CVT’s ratios are super-close and it really keeps the engine speed perfect as you slam through the "gears. "
Together, this drivetrain got the front-driven Lancer to 60 mpg in just under eight seconds, which is pretty good for its class. Merging on the highway was a breeze, and cruising at highway speeds was relatively quiet for this type of car — you cannot expect much with 18-inch rims and 45 series tires.
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT - Drivetrain Specifications
|Horsepower @ RPM||168 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque @ RPM||167 LB-FT @4,100 rpm|
|Transmission||Continuously Variable Transmission|
|Drive Type||Front Wheel Drive|
|Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||7.8 Sec, Est|
|Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined||23/30/26|
The Lancer is in no way the cheapest compact sedan on the market, but it is competitive. It starts out at around $17k, but the GT model I tested carried a $21,445 MSRP.
The Kia Forte EX may not be quite as "sporty" a sedan as the Lancer GT, but it comes in significantly cheaper, is similarly equipped and has a more potent 2.0-liter four-pot — 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. Additionally, the Forte gets a little better gas mileage at 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. The only area that the Forte falls short is that it lacks paddle shifters.
Gallery Kia Forte
The Ford Focus has come a long way from the hated replacement to the Escort in 2000 to one of the leaders in its class in 2014. Where the Focus really wins people over is its low base price of $16,882, sporty looks and premium options available in its range-topping Titanium trim. Sure, its 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter powerplant won’t torch the tires or even keep pace with the Lancer GT, but its 38 mpg on the highway may make you forget about its one-second-slower 0-to-60 time.
I am shocked to say that I really enjoyed my time with the Lancer GT, with exception to the couple of times my head was crushed by the trunk lid. Now, would I seek out a Lancer GT if I were in the market for a new car? No, only because I have a family and the trunk opening is barely large enough to slip my son’s folding stroller through. If I were a younger man with no child and a desire for a sporty sedan, yes, I would absolutely consider it.
- Paddle shifters combined with a sport-tuned CVT is a new love of mine
- Plenty of pep from its four-pot engine
- Nicely laid out interior
- Plenty of legroom to go around
- A little pricey for what you get
- The CVT without the paddle shifters is you typical, cruddy drone machine
- That trunk opening is barely big enough for a suitcase