Much as they try, it is impossible to kill the Mitsubishi Lancer. Everyone’s favorite long-in-the-tooth economy compact lives on after all, but only in China and Taiwan as a new Outlander-nosed refresh called the “Grand Lancer.”
The same decade-old platform that underpins my beloved trackrat 2010 Lancer GTS has been refreshed by Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s Taiwanese partner China Motors Corporation to create the Chinese-market Grand Lancer, reports Carlist.my. Under the hood is a new 4J-series MIVEC engine, which Taiwanese websites suggests will be a 1.8-liter model mated to a CVT driving the front wheels. That 1.8-liter engine will produce 139 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque according to Motoroids.
The dashboard has been reheated to “lukewarm” in the microwave for five seconds to accommodate a color LCD display for the instrument cluster and a large infotainment unit.
Sadly, because this is how the world works, the Grand Lancer won’t be as safe as the dearly departed USDM model. A 2008 American model had seven airbags and received top marks for safety at the time, per Car & Driver—a plus, because Lancer drivers aren’t exactly known for careful driving. The Chinese-market Grand Lancer, however, only gets two airbags, per Carlist.my. Strangely, the tabs on the front seats that say “SRS Airbag” for the outgoing American Lancer are still visible in the interior in the Grand Lancer video, so maybe there’s more after all. [Correction: The official website says that it does, in fact, come with six airbags after all. H/T nauyop!]
It does, however, come with electronic stability and traction control, and hopefully also still comes with a button to the left of the steering wheel to turn that hot mess off when needed.
The Grand Lancer comes with reworked exterior styling that still noticeably looks a ton like the 2008 Lancer it’s based on. Sadly, if you, for some reason, can’t just find an unsold Lancer over here, this car is likely to remain a China- and Taiwan-only model for the near future. The non-”Grand” Lancer died because its last iteration was never a strong seller worldwide.
Maybe if the Grand Lancer sells like hotcakes in China, they’ll think about bringing the Lancer back for the rest of the world. And maybe if they make enough money, Mitsubishi can get back into rallying where they belong. Reopen Ralliart. Make the Mirage R5 a factory program, or even make a run at their own World Rally Championship team again. Hey, I can dream, right? Buy all the Lancers, Asia.
Or maybe it will just join the ranks of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Nissan Tsuru, living on forever in countries with lax regulations on passenger safety, fuel economy, and emissions. At least the Lancer is less likely to kill you, I guess. It doesn’t even want to die itself!