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Mitsubishi Lancer

Posted on: June 19, 2009


The Mitsubishi Lancer is a family car built by Mitsubishi Motors. It has been known as the Colt Lancer, Dodge/Plymouth Colt, Chrysler Valiant Lancer, Chrysler Lancer, Eagle Summit, Hindustan Lancer, Soueast Lioncel, Mitsubishi Carisma, and Mitsubishi Mirage in various countries at different times, and will be sold as the Galant Fortis in its home market from 2007. It has also been sold as Lancer Fortis in Taiwan with a different facelift compared to Galant Fortis from September 15, 2007.

Since its introduction in 1973 over six million Lancers have been sold.[1]

First generation


The Lancer (LA series in Australia, where it was called the Chrysler Valiant Lancer initially) was first launched in 1973 and proved to be particularly successful in rallies, a claim that it retains to this day. At the time of its launch, Mitsubishi had the Minica kei car and the compact Galant, so the Lancer served to fill the gap in the small to lower-medium segment of the growing Japanese market. Twelve models were launched, ranging from a basic 1.2 L sedan to a more powerful rally-derived 1600 GSR model.

There were three body styles, 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans, and a rarely seen 5-door station wagon.



In 1975, the Lancer was complemented by a hatchback coupé called the Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste (also called the Mitsubishi Celeste or Colt Celeste in some markets; it was the Chrysler Lancer Coupé in Australia and the Plymouth Arrow in the United States), and sold with 1.4 L and 1.6 L options (a 2.0 L model was added later)

Facelift and exports

A facelifted Lancer followed soon after, called the LB series in Australia (and without the Valiant tag). It was this series that emerged in the United States as the Dodge Colt for the 1977 model year, taking over from a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Galant from the previous year. It was offered for one more model year before the Dodge Colt name was transferred to the front wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage.

Second generation


In 1979, the Lancer EX was unveiled in Japan. Two engines were only offered back then, a 1.4 L MCA-JET equipped engine paired with Mitsubishi’s Silent Shaft Technology, which generated 80 hp (60 kW) and a 1.6 L engine that generated 85 hp (63 kW) and 100 hp (75 kW). The MCA-JET system was something new than the used carburetor system. The MCA stands for Mitsubishi Clean Air which meant that the EX passes both Japan and US emission standards whilst the new cylinder head design of the engine gave way for a third or Jet valve that introduces an extra swirl of air to the combustion chamber swirling the fuel-air mixture for a cleaner, efficient and thorough burn. Another new breakthrough in the Lancer is the Silent Shaft Technology which is actually two counterbalancing shafts that rotate in opposite directions, cancelling the power pulses a normal 4 cylinder engine would be inherent back then, reducing engine noise and vibration providing a smoother ride. The 1.8 L Sirius 80 engines was then introduced in the Lancer in 1980, along with a new 70 hp (52 kW), 1.2 L engine a year after providing a wider choice of engines for the Lancer. Also, a turbocharged, 135 PS (133 hp/99 kW) engine was added in 1980 for a sportier performance and an Intercooler system was integrated in the existing turbocharged engine to produce 165 PS (163 hp/121 kW) in 1983.

Lancer EX 2000 Turbo


Rally Version of the Lancer EX 2000 Turbo

In Europe, the Lancer EX was offered with a turbocharged 2.0 L 4–cylinder engine known as the Lancer EX 2000 Turbo. It was the first Lancer to use the very first 4g63 engine which was then used in succeeding models such as the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 and the Lancer Evolutions I to IX. It achieved a maximum output of 168 bhp (125 kW) and manages a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) in less than 15.5 s. A new feature on this model is that it is equipped with ECI or Advanced Electronically-Controlled Fuel Injection which gave the Lancer more power and outstanding fuel economy as it did 23.0 mpg in city driving and 28.8 to 37.2 mpg in highway driving. A rally version of the Lancer EX 2000 Turbo was made for the 1000 Lakes Rally that gave out 280 PS (276 hp/206 kW). Sales of this model were low because of emission regulations Japan imposed at that time.

Third generation


In 1982, a new model was launched called the Lancer Fiore also known as third version, based on the Mitsubishi Mirage. The Fiore was often sold as a Lancer in international markets, but also the Mirage Sedan and, with the five-door hatchback model, remained in production for a good part of the 1980s. In Australia, it would eventually be sold as the Mitsubishi Colt Sedan although cosmetically different. Thus, Mitsubishi had two similarly sized models competing in the same market segment.

The following year, both Mirage and Lancer lines were renewed from the third generation. The Mirage four-door and Lancer sedan became the same car. Fuel injected and turbocharged models were an integral part of this range. A station wagon was added in 1985, and it spawned a raised, four wheel drive version. Often, the Mirage (or Colt) would be the name used on the three-door hatchback, and the Lancer name used on the remainder.

This model formed the basis of the original Proton sedan, the Saga, which was still in production until early 2008.


1987 Mitsubishi Lancer Estate


Dodge Colt 3-door (US)

Fourth generation


In 1988, a more aerodynamic-looking Lancer was launched, following the shape of the Galant. A five-door hatchback was added to the range. The Mirage and Lancer nomenclature continued. The station wagon continued on the old platform and shape, as did, in some markets, a five-door version of the Mirage. In Australia, all models were sold as the Mitsubishi Lancer, initially designated as the CA series and from 1990 as the CB. By that time, the Lancer name was shared with the Dodge Lancer sold in North America. The sedan was sold as the Mirage Aspire in Japan.

In some markets a ‘van’ model was produced, being the three-door hatchback (which had an upright profile) without rear side window (this triggered a reduced sales tax burden in the Dutch market).

Fifth generation (CB0)


It was only in 1991 that there was greater differentiation between the Mirage and Lancer. Although both were on the same platform, the Lancer sedan received different sheetmetal from the Mirage four-door. The Mirage variant was sold in North America under the Eagle Summit name. Minivan models, such as the Mitsubishi Space Runner and Mitsubishi Chariot, were mechanically related. In 1993, the Lancer wagon, named the Libero in Japan, was launched. An electric version was also released named the Libero EV that ran on NiCd batteries. A V6 variant was also introduced with only 1.6 L, making it the smallest mass-produced V6. The high-performance, turbocharged GSR version formed the basis of the contemporary Lancer Evolution (or ‘Lancer Evo’) from September 1993, using the drivetrain of the successful Galant VR-4 rally car.

The Mirage Asti Coupé in Japan was offered as the Lancer Coupé in many export markets.

The fifth generation Lancer was rebadged as the Proton Wira sedan and 5-door hatchback models in Malaysia in 1993 with 1.3, 1.5, 1.6 and 1.8 L engine capacities. A short-lived 2.0 L diesel model was also available. Currently, the car has stopped production as one of the longest running Proton models in Malaysia after Proton Saga, which is also based on a previous Lancer model. The Proton Wira was recently replaced by Proton‘s latest model, the Proton Persona

Sixth generation


In 1995, the Lancer was renewed for its sixth generation, building on the earlier model’s format. Apart from the Evo models’ continuation, it did not depart from the established Lancer formula. A sedan and wagon (Libero in Japan) were offered, with a related Mirage model. The coupé continued as the Mirage Asti in Japan, known as the Lancer Coupé elsewhere. The 1995 Lancer (Model from 1995-2002 in some countries) is more popularly known as the 1997 Lancer. A turbocharged GSR version continued to be sold until the end of the 1990s. This platform was also the basis for the Mirage, as it was known in North America and various other markets.

From 1996-2004, the Mitsubishi Carisma replaced the Mitsubishi Lancer in some markets.

It is of note, that the Lancer Evolution V was the only Lancer Evolution to gain Mitsubishi the WRC constructors championship. However, driver Tommi Makinen was able to claim four WRC driver’s championships for himself, in 1996-1999, driving Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution III, IV, V & VI.

Seventh generation


The year 2000 saw the release of the seventh-generation Lancer Cedia in Japan (meaning – Century Diamond); though in most markets the seventh generation Lancer continued, built at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant in Japan. The new model was available in sedan and station wagon forms. The Mirage, apart from the export models, became a different car in Japan that was unrelated to the Lancer. In Europe, the Lancer was not offered in some countries, being too close to the size of the Dutch-built Carisma, so the Evo VII model sold there bore the Carisma name. This is the first generation in many years where the Lancer nameplate is universally used. It is still sold in Japan where the eighth generation Lancer is known as Galant Fortis

In North America, the Lancer Cedia was introduced in 2002 as a direct replacement for the Mirage. It is powered by a 2.0 L 4G94 engine producing 120 hp (89 kW) and 130 ft·lbf (176 N·m) of torque.

In Australia, the seventh generation Lancer was introduced as the CG series in July 2002 with the 2.0 L 4G94 engine. It was introduced as a replacement for the seventh generation sedan, and was sold alongside the popular seventh generation coupe.

Mid-generation facelift (2003-06)

For 2004, a heavily restyled Lancer surfaced with a front facia that brought it into line with the Mitsubishi corporate look, as well as a restyled rear, to further differentiate itself from the Lancer Evolution and for a more modern appearance.


2002-2003 Mitsubishi Lancer (US)


2006 Mitsubishi Lancer ES (US)


2004-2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback ES (US)

North America


2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart sedan (North America)

In North America, additional minor styling changes also occurred for 2005 and 2006. For the 2005 model year, the grille was changed to include more fins to reflect a closer similarity to the North American Galant. For the 2006 model year, the fascia was changed again from a bridged fascia to one with an open vent after Mitsubishi received complaints from current owners regarding its similarity in appearance to General Motors Division Pontiac‘s corporate look, and to bring the appearance closer to its bigger brother, the Evolution.

In Mexico, the Lancer was available in DE, ES, LS and GS trims with a 2.0 L DOHC 4G63 engine. There were no estate versions: only the four-door saloon.


In addition to the facelift, North America received two additional models to the Lancer line in 2004 – Sportback and Ralliart. The latter slated in between the base and high performance Evolution model. Both the Sportback and Ralliart had high levels of equipment, based on the Australian Lancer VR-X. The main difference being that these cars came equipped with Mitsubishi’s 2.4 L4G69 engine (rated at 160 hp (119 kW)/162 ft·lbf for the Sportback, and 162 hp (121 kW)/162 ft·lbf for the Ralliart), included a new, stiffer suspension package that improved handling and lowered the cars stance by 1 centimeter, 16″ alloy wheels, front bucket seats borrowed from Japan’s Mitsubishi Evolution GT-A, Fog Lamps, and a new aerodynamic ground package. The Ralliart also came equipped with a cosmetic rear deck spoiler, and clear rear tail lights. The Sportback was equipped with a 4-speed INVECS-II automatic transmission, with no option for a manual transmission, while the Ralliart came with a 5-speed manual transmission with an option for the 4-speed automatic. The Sportback was also available in the lower spec LS trim.

Due to Mitsubishi’s deteriorating financial situation and slow sales, the Lancer Sportback wagon was cancelled in the United States one year after its release. But the Mitsubishi Lancer wagon was sold in Canada, Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and is still available in at least the last as of February 2009. The Lancer Ralliart is based on the Evo VII-VIII and Lancer OZ Rally.


The 2003 facelift, designated the CH series[6], introduced a heavily updated VR-X, which included new 16″ alloys, stiffer suspension, body styling kit, and gear shifter borrowed from the Lancer Evolution. In 2004, the new Lancer wagon was introduced as a direct replacement for its ageing predecessor).

In August 2005, all Lancers were upgraded to the 2.4 L 4G69 engine, producing 115 kW (154 hp) and 220 N·m (162 lb·ft) of torque. The upgraded engine also saw a change in trim levels and upgraded equipment—the ES and LS models now featured a more upmarket looking black interior, while the VR-X gained a new black grille to closer resemble the Lancer Evolution IX. The equipment levels of all models were also upgraded, with the LS and VR-X gaining climate control, and a premium audio system sourced from the luxury Mitsubishi Verada. The Exceed model was discontinued, and all updated models now used JDM sized rear bumpers instead of the larger USDM sized versions. Additionally, the wagon also saw these changes; and as of 2007, continues to be sold alongside the sedan.

The ES and LS models were given a minor facelift for the 2007 model year; this time gaining the same front grille as the US models, and putting it into line with the current corporate look—similar to that of the Colt and the locally built 380. Prior to the introduction of the all-new ninth generation Lancer, a limited edition ES model dubbed ‘Velocity’ went on sale. This package included VR-X grill, rear spoiler, leather/alcantara bolsted seats, sports pedals, 15″ OZ alloy wheels and chrome exhaust tip—all for the same price as the previous standard ES.

Other markets

In Japan, the Lancer Cedia was offered with many different trim levels and engines, including options which were never seen in export markets. It was also one of the first models to use the INVECS-III CVT transmission. There was also a Ralliart version of the sportswagon which was powered by a turbocharged 1.8 L GDI engine. As of 2007, the seventh generation Lancer sedan is still being sold alongside the new eighth generation, which is known in the home market as the Galant Fortis.

In Pakistan, this variant was launched in 2005 with cosmetic changes from the front and the back. Thai production was switched to the new model, and in all markets except for India the seventh-generation model was no longer marketed, four years after the Cedia’s introduction.

India received the new Lancer in 2006, known locally as the Mitsubishi Cedia to distinguish it from this version that is still assembled and sold as the Lancer because of its continued popularity.

In some European markets, the Lancer began to take the place of the Carisma in 2004. It is powered by a 1.3 L SOHC 4G13, 1.6 L SOHC 4G18 engine and a 2.0 L DOHC 4G63 (all 4-cylinder).

In Malaysia, the Lancer was made available after Mitsubishi had sold all its shares in Malaysian carmaker Proton, marking the return of Mitsubishi in Malaysian market after being absent since 1985 due to the agreement with Proton. The Lancer sold in Malaysia was powered by the 4G18 engine which also powered the early 1.6 Proton Waja model.

In the Philippines, the Lancer underwent a facelift, now without the central semi-triangle in the grille. It is offered in 2 trims, the base GLX with a 5-speed manual and the GLS with an all-new INVECS-III CVT with manual override. All of them are powered with an l4 1.6L 4G16 SOHC engine.

Eighth generation


In 2005, Mitsubishi revealed the Concept-X model car at the Tokyo Motor Show and its Concept-Sportback model at the Frankfurt motor show. The new Lancer is based on these two concepts. The new Lancer was officially revealed in January 2007 at the Detroit Motor Show and went on sale in North American markets on March 2007 as a 2008 model. New Lancer features Mitsubishi’s next-generation RISE safety body

North America

For the United States, the new Lancer was initially available in DE, ES, and GTS trim levels.[7] DE and ES are powered by a GEMA based 4B11, 2.0 liter DOHC engine producing 152 hp (113 kW) (except for California models which have been detuned to 143 hp (107 kW) to meet regulations). Transmission options include a brand new CVT, sourced from Jatco (code: F1CJA), alongside a regular 5-speed manual sourced from Aisin AI (code: F5MBB). GTS models get a 6-speed (fixed gears in sport mode) paddle shift version of the CVT.

In Canada, a fourth model (SE) was introduced to the Lancer lineup late in the model year. The SE model is a cross between the ES and GTS models. It includes the skirt package similar to the GTS, a rear spoiler, and unlike the GTS model, the SE includes a sunroof. Features not included in the SE model that are found in the GTS are the FAST key, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone interface, automatic climate control, Rockford Fosgate sound system, carbon fiber trim pieces, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and 18″ wheels.


2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback (North America)

For U.S. markets, starting with the 2009 model year, an ES-Sport version was released similar to the SE model for the Canadian market. Externally the ES-Sport is similar in appaearance to the GTS’ skirts, spoiler, mirrors, etc (with the exception of the wheels, the ES-Sport retains the ES wheelset). The ES-Sport also uses the ES 2.0 liter engine.[8]

For 2009, the GTS is powered by a 2.4 L 4B12 engine producing 168hp and 167 lb ft.[8]

Mitsubishi plans on selling the five-door hatchback version, known as the Sportback, in the U.S. for the 2010 model year, starting in late Summer 2009.



2008-09 Mitsubishi Lancer VRX

The Lancer was released in Australia in October 2007[10], designated as the CJ series[11]. It will come in ES, VR, VRX and, since the forth quarter of 2008, Aspire trim levels. Active stability control and traction control will be standard on all models. Standard on the ES will be dual front airbags and a driver knee airbag. The VR and VRX will get side and curtain airbags also. It will have a 2 litre 4B11, 113 kW (152 hp) engine and be equipped with a 5-speed manual or with a 6 speed CVT transmission as a $AUD2300 option. A Ralliart model will follow, and a Lancer Evolution will also make the line up. The Lancer also scored a maximum of 5 stars in the ANCAP crash test.[12] As of September 2008, Mitsubishi’s Australian website revealed a new trim level called Aspire. A 2.4 litre engine has been introduced for the Aspire along with leather seats, High Intensity Discharge headlights, Rockord-Fosgate premium sound system and CVT as standard. The MMCS entertainment and satellite navigation unit is an option. The VRX has been upgraded with the larger engine. The Lancer Sportback is now available in Australia as of October 2008, the model line up includes ES, VR, VRX and Ralliart.


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