Sadly, the Mitsubishi Lancer will end production this summer, Mitsubishi’s North American division chief told Autoblog. We’ve already seen the Lancer Evolution cease to be. Now, the regular Lancer that Mitsubishi’s rally car for the masses was based on will join the Evo soon. That’s a shame, because it’s truly been the best car in the world.
Sure, I am as biased as it gets on this one. My daily driver is a 2010 Lancer GTS, of the same generation that’s been lightly facelifted twice and is still bumbling around aimlessly and asking for “braaaaaains” in 2017. But I also don’t deem it the greatest car ever lightly.
My humble econobox has driven across the United States and back and has more track miles than most sports cars ever see. Hey, my parents bought it for me, it still runs and why not? Sometimes it’s fun to see what a regular car can keep up with, and it handles well enough and has enough power that I’m a fan.
Mine has been maintained well, but it hasn’t led an easy life. Yet it barely feels used when I drive it, and it’s accumulated over 135,000 who-cares miles. Outside of the usual wear items, I’ve had no huge issues with it.
Certainly, there are faster and more comfortable cars out there. But so many of the Lancer’s competitors feel number, more bloated and less fun than the same old Lancer that’s been around for nearly a decade.
Unfortunately, there will be no next-generation replacement for the Lancer, nor will there be any more Mitsubishi compact sedans in the near future. Mitsubishi’s future is in crossovers, like every other automaker is doing right now—cars that may have a hair more space than the Lancer, but will be infinitely less fun.
Mitsubishi North America boss Don Swearingen told Autoblog that the Mirage G4 would now be its lone small sedan—a car that is significantly smaller and frumpier than the outgoing Lancer. The Lancer will end production in August, with 2017 as its last model year. There is less demand for sedans now, Swearingen argued, and Mitsubishi must focus its energies on developing cars they believe will be profitable.
Unfortunately, the masses clamoring for cars-on-stilts don’t seem to realize what they’re losing. Can a crossover haul an entire set of Porsche 944 wheels and a few totes of spare parts, and then go annoy slower-cornering cars on track because the 944's still being worked on? Nope.
Every time I think of getting something more interesting or more specialized in purpose, I keep coming back to the fact that my thoroughly unkillable Lancer still runs well, and does a little bit of everything fine enough. The only thing it really doesn’t do is tow.
While critics often claimed the Lancer was uncompetitive for its class, it was usually over comfort items that didn’t improve the fun-to-bucks ratio. Part of me feels as if too few of them ever truly drove the thing in anger.
Rest in peace, Mitsubishi Lancer—the car too good for this world.