The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is a classic tale of an innovative design that was left alone, only to be overcome by the competition.  When the Lancer was first introduced, it far outpaced the rest of the economy sedan class with its driving excitement and aggressive styling.  Now, the competition, which includes the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and Subaru Impreza, have zoomed past the Lancer and left it in their dust.

Still, the Lancer might be considered for a second car.  It really is a decent economy sedan; it just isn’t’ one of the best.

Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower, the Lancer comes with a five-speed manual as standard.  It also has a CVT as optional.  It can go from 0-60 in 8.8 seconds, slow for this class, and the CVT does the same distance in 9.1 seconds, which is average for CVT transmissions.  EPA estimates are 26/34, an average rating. Interestingly, the Lancer GT comes with a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that will do 0-60 in 7.7 seconds, which is quick for the class, so if you are considering the Lancer you might want to take a look at the GT.

Safety is assured with antilock brakes, a full compliment of airbags, and stability control.  It brakes from 60-0 in 115 feet, an excellent distance, and it received the top rating for safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Standard features include 16-inch wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, a trip computer, four-speaker sound system, air-conditioning, cruise control and keyless entry.

Options like all-wheel drive, alloy wheel package, foglights, rear spoiler and automatic climate control are also offered.

Let us repeat:  there is nothing wrong with the Mitsubishi Lancer, and in truth there are a great many things that are right about it.  However, when the rest of the competition continues to improve, and the biggest upgrade you make is to add soft-touch materials to the front door panels, then it might be time to consider an overhaul, and Lancer is in dire need of one.

Mitsubishi has been around for quite some time, and the Lancer has a good dozen years in it here in the U.S., so finding replacement parts is not a problem. Going to your local salvage yard, like All Import Auto Parts in Fort Worth, is always your best option if you are looking for recycled auto parts.