What's inside the Box
The 1.6L version of the Lancer EX is MMPC's latest offering in the passenger car market. For a car launched way back in 2008, the design still feels just as fresh and exciting. The interior has been slightly updated with either a textured faux carbon-fiber (MX) or smooth black-colored trimmed dashboard (GLX), plus a touchscreen AV head unit with FM/AM, DVD, MP3, Bluetooth, USB, and iPod-connectivity. MX models even come with GPS Navigation.
But what makes this baby different is the all-new 1.6L MIVEC engine under the hood that puts out 117 hp with 154 Nm of torque. Transmissions options are a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic as opposed to the 2.0L’s 6-speed manual and CVT. It's also a bonus that this supposedly-lower variant comes with four wheel disc brakes with ABS, just like the 2.0L. Color options are Orion Black, Citadel Red, Dominic Silver, and Polar White.
Going the Distance
Beginning at the SM Mall of Asia, our drive would eventually take us to Nasugbu, Batangas, where a relaxing beach resort was waiting for us. Assigned to a Lancer EX 1.6L MIVEC A/T, our route took us via Coastal Road, CAVITEX expressway, Tanza, and then Naic. The drive was a good mix of all real world driving conditions, including highway and city traffic, with the ever-so-popular PUJs and tricycles that drive (and stop) as if they own the road.
On the way, this new 2012 Lancer still has that same smooth ride. Even with its 16-inch alloy wheels, the car still gives good road feedback through the steering wheel, which provides the driver greater confidence in the car's handling performance. This thing turns as if it were on rails, whether on the highway, city streets, or carving through twisty mountain roads on the way to a weekend resort getaway.
Not forgetting safety, dual front airbags come standard with all 1.6L models, as well as Mitsubishi’s proprietary “Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution” (RISE) chassis where occupants are protected by the front and rear crumple zones that absorb impact energy before it can be transferred to the cabin. Just like before, the new Lancer EX 1.6L seats five people in comfort with ample head and leg room, great for either short or long drives.
Nearing the end of our long drive, the Lancer EX 1.6L MIVEC smoothly crested the surrounding mountains, and we were greeted with a majestic view of our destination, the Pico de Loro Cove. There, we measured just how much fuel we consumed.
With four adults on board plus luggage, our four-speed auto Lancer achieved 14 km/L, which was not bad at all considering we had the aircon running throughout the trip. The other cars faired better, reporting figures as high as 16 and 17 km/L. This compares favorably to MMPC's claim of 20km/L, when performed at a steady speed of 90 km/h with a manual transmission variant. While the lower gears of the 4-speed auto are optimized for acceleration to make up for the lack of a 5th gear, the long 4th gear still gives it good cruising ability, spinning at just 2,600 rpm at 100 km/h.
Getting a well-deserved break
After half a day of driving, we were more than happy to take a break at the picturesque Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club. Our lunch stop at the country club gave us an opportunity to visit the beautiful pool and the spectacular beach. The various outdoor activities offered by the resort included kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving, fish feeding, and trekking. And if you'd rather stay indoors, you can choose between bowling, billiards, music room, or a library. But I preferred to take a break and relaxed inside my room, at the Pico Sands Hotel - a seven-storey boutique hotel - where we spent the night.
This truly was a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and recharge one's proverbial battery. And best of all, this entire place was designed to have a low impact on the surrounding environment.
Comfort + Excitement
With the new 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.6L MIVEC, it's very possible that MMPC has finally found the perfect formula in a compact sedan - car that’s attractive, dynamic, comfortable, spacious, reasonably powerful, economical, and most importantly, affordable. This could be the car that the average Filipino has been dreaming of for a very long time.
Suggested retail prices start at P825,000 for the base model Lancer 1.6 EX M/T, P855,000 for the Lancer 1.6L EX A/T. and P899,000 for the Lancer EX 1.6L MX A/T. The top of the line Lancer EX GTA, with its powerful 2.0L engine and CVT transmission with paddle-shifts, is still available at P1,295,000.