Monday, July 16, 2012

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Lancer (1993-1999)

In the market for a cheap beater? Myk Belmonte finds a 90s wonder that would fit the bill. Old as it may be, but let's go back and review the car's merits. If you've found memories with this car, we're not responsible for the tears on your face

1993-1999 Mitsubishi Lancer

Thanks to user mikehunter1980 of tsikot.com for supplying some data!

History
Bet you didn't know that unlike the Corolla and Civic, the Lancer is sold worldwide with a number of names under Mitsubishi and different brands. Care to know? These were the Mitsubishi Colt Lancer, Carisma, Lancer Fortis, Galant Fortis and Mirage; Dodge/Plymouth Colt; Chrysler Lancer and Vallant Lancer; Eagle Summit; Hindustan Lancer; and Soueast Lioncel. Sorry if I get you confused with a bewildering number of names. The Lancer was introduced in 1973 and has since reached its ninth generation which was introduced in 2007.

Introduced in 1991, the sixth generation Lancer was made available to world markets. This generation saw the huge gap and difference between the Lancer and Mirage, with both of them having different sheetmetal. Various body styles were offered to consumers that includes a sedan, coupe, and a wagon. Numerous engine configurations are available; which includes carburetor and fuel injected 4-cylinders, turbo, diesel, and a 1.6 V6. It was the basis of the Proton Wira, a rebadged sixth generation Lancer.

Filipinos usually call Lancers by the shape of their lamps (usually the tail lamps) or their body style. The 1975 -1978 Lancer was the L-type, the 1979-1989 Lancer was popularly known as the box-type Lancer, the 1989-1992 Lancer was nicknamed as the 'singkit' or 'pusa', the 1996-2002 Lancer was called as the 'pizza', and the 1993-1996 Lancer (the featured vehicle for this week) are usually termed as the 'itlog' or 'hotdog'. Enough of tail lamp design analysis; this generation of Lancer was introduced in 1993 and with the introduction of the 'pizza' Lancer, the GLi and GLXi trim lines were dropped and the EL became the EX (which does not have anything to do with today's model). The EX variant stayed in the line-up until 1999, with no direct replacement from the 'pizza family'.

Value and Costs
A glance at classified ads would reveal that Lancer 'itlog' prices are between P85,000-P150,000. This covers the EL, EX, GLi, and GLXi variants in different states and varying years. There are units that are set-up to resemble the Evo I, II, and III from the outside and carries a different engine; and not to forget, ex-taxi units, since the Lancer 'itlog' was once a cabbies favorite. Do avoid the two if you encounter one.

With the vehicle selling well back then, parts are widespread (from the original, replacement, to the third party) and their prices are affordable. If there is one thing to be mindful of when considering this vehicle, it would be the suspension. Lancers (and most Mitsubishi sedans) during the 90s had the notorious suspension problems - or kalampag in local parlance. Fixing the suspension system is not inexpensive and must be done before purchasing one.

Exterior and Interior
You can say that the Lancer's exterior design is either luxurious or does not standout. If you're considering a GLXi model, it does come with chrome roof drip and belt moldings as well as outside door handles. However, the latter may look out of sync with the rest of the body color. EL and EX trims had blacked out door handles while the GLi makes do with body colored ones.

The interior is a plastic affair, with good pieces and bad ones mixing together. The dashboard (if not removed by the previous owner) looks well assembled. If there is one gripe with the controls, they feel brittle and would seem to crack for those who have a habit of pressing buttons harder. Tachometers are not present in the EL and EX, while power steering for the GLi was not offered until September 1995, and power mirrors became standard with Lancer GLXi models built from November 1994 onwards.

Engine
The usual menu among sedans sold in the 90s are a cuisine of engines with either carburetor or fuel injected flavors. Both EL and EX have a 4G13 that has 73hp; GLi models do have the 4G15 with 92hp as standard; and for the GLXi, a 4G92A with 114hp at 6,00rpm and 134Nm at 4,500rpm. It may not have any strength on the lower side or on the higher side of the torque spectrum, but it does offer the compromise one might seek whether for the city or the highway drives.

Driving Impressions
A fact: the Lancer was developed as a compact car to fill the gap between the Minica and the Galant, it ended up creating Mitsubishi's heritage in the world of motor sports. Its success meant that their cars are meant to assure owners and buyers that Mitsubishi products can withstand various driving conditions. With that in mind, the Lancer itlog is one reliable drive. The multi-link suspension setup can hold up the worst road conditions. Its engine may not be class leading but it returns spirited driving performance.

Verdict
If the requirement is a "cheap all-around vehicle", the Lancer itlog merits consideration. It may not be the first car to ring a bell on your lists but this one deserves a look. With maintaining one not causing a hole on your wallet and plenty of examples to look at. Just have patience on vehicle hunting and you'll reap the rewards in the end.


The Good:
  • Reliable cruiser
  • Adequate passenger room
  • Affordable cost of maintenance
The Bad:
  • Suspension problems can be a nightmare
  • Power windows only available on top end GLXi
  • Carburetor can be a pain if not well maintained by previous owner
The Pick: 1.6 GLXi in MT or AT

THE SPECS
Engines: 1,298cc 4G13 carburetor, 1,468cc 4G15, and 1,597cc 4G92A I4 gasoline
Power: 73hp (1.3), 92hp (1.5), 114hp @ 6,000rpm (1.6)
Torque: No data available for the 4G13 and 4G15. 134Nm @ 4,500rpm
Fuel Consumption: 8-11km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut with stabilizer, rear multilink with stabilizer

MORE INFO
Price (New): P300,000-P530,000 (range from 1993-1999)
Price (Now): P85,000-P150,000
Rivals: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Proton Wira, Daewoo Cielo, Daewoo Espero
On Sale: 1993-1996 (all variants) 1996-early 1999 (1.3 EX)
Resources: 
http://www.mitsulancerph.net/yabb2/YaBB.pl
http://www.mitsubishi-forums.com/f6-lancer-forum.htm

Contacts:
Diamond Motors Quezon Avenue - 372-3901
Citimotors Makati - 892-0331
Union Motors Paco - 563-8481

Photos courtesy of http://quezoncity.olx.com.ph/mitsubishi-lancer-glxi-1-6l-at-1994-iid-353569166

2 comments:

  1. kalampag, especially when the rear stabilizers and bushings are already worn out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. correct! But then this has been a weakness for so long

      Delete