Added features make Mitsubishi’s Lancer VRX a winner
In our eyes, Mitsubishi’s Lancer sedan is one seriously good-looking small car.
The VRX version gains extra kit that will appeal to driving enthusiasts – including sporty 18-inch allow wheels and a large rear spoiler. We drove a VRX fitted with the CVT (continuously variable transmission) - complete with steering wheel paddle shifts for manual changes - and the optional Rockford Fosgate audio system with satellite navigation and a sunroof.
When you consider the extra features, standard safety equipment like electronic stability control, traction control and a driver’s knee airbag plus Mitsubishi’s five-year 130,000kms warranty, the Lancer represents good value.
If you are a car enthusiast looking for a small sporty sedan and your budget doesn’t stretch to the Ralliart Lancer, with its high performance turbocharged 2.0-litre powerplant, the VRX is a worthy substitute.
Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre engine is good for 125kW and 226Nm. It sounds purposeful as soon as you fire it up (using Mitsubishi’s keyless system) and propels the VRX very well.
Inside the driver is presented with a conventional dashboard layout that is perhaps a little conservative compared to the Lancer’s stylish exterior. There’s an easy to read speedo and tachometer plus a digital display for supplementary information and steering wheel controls for cruise control, audio and communication systems.
The front seats are supportive and there’s plenty of carbon fibre-like material on the lower dash and centre console to complete the sporty picture.
In fact once you set the driver’s seat and leather-bound steering wheel with its paddle gear shifters to your desired positions, the Lancer VRX delivers a genuine sporty feel that will appeal to driving enthusiasts – combine that with spritely acceleration and cruise control and an interstate road trip would be most pleasant.
Mitsubishi claims the boot space for the Lancer is 400 litres but the large Rockford Fosgate speaker in the car we drove would use some of that capacity (a small sacrifice for such a great sound). Nevertheless our full-size golf bag plus weekend away gear fitted easily – a feat most hatchbacks struggle with.
On the road, the VRX displayed the usual front-wheel-drive understeer when pushed hard but at normal speeds and on the highway the Lancer was quiet and refined even under harsh acceleration. When overtaking, we often used the paddle shifters to go down a gear and the response was rapid.
Overall the Lancer VRX shows (again!) the competency of Mitsubishi’s designers, product planners and engineers.