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The Lancer, new to Canada for 2003 (as are all Mitsubishi models), won the Economy Car category in the 2003 Canadian Car of the Year awards.

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES Road Test
Expensive, but worth it

By Bill Roebuck

Although it's more expensive than some direct competitors, the Mitsubishi Lancer ES felt like it was worth the extra money. It seems solid and well built, has very good fit and finish, has a large and comfortable cabin, handles nicely and moves quickly. Acceleration was almost on par with the Dodge SX -- same for the braking distance -- both very good for this class.

There's plenty of room in the front seats and ergonomically, the instrument panel is well designed. The interior gives the appearance of a larger vehicle. Even the rear seats provided very good legroom and headroom. It was one of the few models in this group that could fit three in the back seat, albeit tightly. Both front and rear doors were large enough to make entry and exit painless.

On the road, the Lancer ES has a light steering feel but offers fairly crisp handling. The five-speed manual was easy to shift. The 2.0 L, 120 hp engine, which was noisy at idle, buzzed on hard acceleration. The engine sips gas in the city (its city fuel economy is second best), but gulps it on fast roads, giving it highway fuel consumption greater than the three automatics in this group.

Cargo capacity is plentiful at 320 L, although the trunk has narrow passthrough to the folded rear seats. Other than price, there seem to be few shortfalls in the Mitsubishi Lancer, which is new to Canada this year.

* Price as tested: $17,957

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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