The 2006 Lancer performance sedan will soon get its own factory-built tuning package. Although the vehicle’s exterior is not getting any more dramatic or, at least, more presentable, and you don’t get a fire-breathing twin-turbocharged high-displacement engine either (and, as far as I understand, there are no improvements regarding the on-board multimedia and connectivity,) you can still buy a car that combines decent fuel efficiency and, well, a more or less presentable driving dynamics with cheap price. According to the Japanese carmaker, the new special edition 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart SE trim will set you back for reasonable $16,099.
For this price you will get a set of nice-looking 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome door handles and color-keyed rear view mirrors.
That’s not there is to it, of course, as the Special Edition package will also include a power glass sunroof, six-speaker stereo system with 140 watts stereo output, bucket front seats and even Alcantara seating surfaces.
The 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Special Edition is available in four exterior colors: Cool Silver, Graphite Gray, Igloo White and Labrador Black (I don’t know why they disseminated a press photo set of the car painted red, so don’t ask me.)
Somewhat predictably, the vehicle’s interior still looks quite boring with its loads of cheap black and dark gray plastic, which is combined with faux aluminum panels and an OEM-looking 1DIN stereo in its dashboard. The archaic manual climate control panel, too, doesn’t make the vehicle terribly classy.
On the other hand, Lancers were never designed to compete with German luxury brands, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz: their customer base needs an inexpensive vehicle, which is also fun to drive and not terribly expensive to handle, and that’s what the Japanese brand successfully delivers with this package.
Don’t expect anything ground-breaking from the performance point of view, though, because it is reserved for the top of the range Lancer Ralliart halo model which is powered by a 162hp 2.4-liter four-banger with their signature MIVEC system, while the rest of the family comes equipped with engines that offer pretty much average (to say the least) power output.
The Lancer Ralliart SE, for example, is powered by an anemic 2.0-liter, SOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder engine that features mere 120 hp at 5,500 rpm and only 130 lb.-ft. of torque peaking at 4,250 rpm.
Although you won’t surprise anyone on a traffic light race (not to say on the drag start-line,) the power-plant is still good enough to provide you with decent 34 mpg highway/27 mpg (6.9 / 8.7 liters per 100 kilometers respectively) city fuel economy if equipped with a five-speed manual transmission.
Well, if fuel economy, reliability and relatively low price are your main criteria when choosing a new vehicle, this one may be a nice choice for you. If, however, you are in search of a car that brings you driving pleasure and works as a non-stop adrenaline-booster, look somewhere else: you won’t find them here.
At this time, the compact vehicle competes against the 2006 Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cobalt and Mazda3. While the European Focus ST with its stylish exterior and classy (despite all the cheap materials) interior clearly gives the Lancer a run for its money, the Cobalt and Mazda3 will probably leave you guessing with the winning argument reduced to the asking price.
See also: 2007 Saturn Aura performance sedan