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Published on September 13th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback test drive

Mitsubishi Malaysia have been relatively quiet since the Proton Inspira (rebadged Lancer) was launched. Only a tricked out Lancer Sportback was introduced recently. Still, their Lancer has been selling in reasonable numbers despite the price advantage that the Inspira has over its Lancer. We were finally handed the keys to the Sportback, some 6months after it official introduction with the excuse that they were so short of supply that a test drive unit was not available. As if?

Still, we were keen to see what the 2.4-liter engine could return on the Lancers well sorted chassis. First the specification on the car. Mitsubishi has given the Sportback a bigger engine, a 2.4-litre 16-valve Mivec engine, the Lancer Sportback delivers 170 hp at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 226 Nm at 4,100rpm. The engine is complemented by an INVECS-III CVT six-speed transmission with paddle shifters. The numbers are impressive even before we ignite the engine. In city driving there is little difference to be found in its delivery. The cabin feels exactly the same as its sedan sibling, rather boring in its appearance with black and dark gray combination. The use of some brighter colours would have been welcomed by Malaysian buyers.

Once we found an open highway the Sportback showed its ability at every gear change. In auto CVT mode the gearbox does little justice to the cars chassis and wide slim tires. But in manual mode, the 2.4-liter comes more alive as you work the paddle gear shifters with delight. There is good delivery of power when needed and there is never a time when you feel that the power is going to let up as you hustle the Sportback along a back road. Still, at its asking price of RM134k you get a fully imported car with good safety features and sensible power for highway cruising.

Specifications Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Engine:  2.4L DOHC 16-valve MIVEC
 Transmission:    INVECS-III CVT with 6-step Sports Mode
 Max output:     170 hp @ 6,000 rpm
 Max torque:     226 Nm @ 4,100 rpm Safety:        ABS, EBD, BA, engine immobiliser
 Price:        RM134,549.37 on the road with insurance

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