Looking at the period it was introduced to the market, it’s easy to understand why it’s called the Mitsubishi Lancer VIII. Yes, it caught our eyes in the rally world, but how does it perform as an everyday car? The Mitsubishi Lancer VIII, an almost aspirational car.
Many people when they think of the Lancer they think about the car that in 2005 kicked Subaru Impreza in the nads and they fought neck and neck in the rally world. However, that was about the Lancer Evolution and Impreza WRX STI. Today’s article is about the basic, mundane version of the Mitsubishi Lancer VIII.
As I mentioned in the article about the ASX, Mitsubishi has an almost nonexistent interest in the European automotive market, which is reflected in the extensive range of cars they have. The Mitsubishi Lancer VIII is indeed an almost car.
Why is the Mitsubishi Lancer an almost car?
Many people laughed at the Dacia Logan in 2004 because it lacked power steering or ABS. Guess what, the Mitsubishi Lancer VIII also didn’t come with standard ABS, and it was just as basic as Logan and the price was equally low. Mitsubishi Lancer – The Dacia Logan’s japanese cousin. Reliable like a Logan, cheap to buy and run like a Logan, spartan like a Logan. And the main reason why the Lancer didn’t do so well is that people who are looking for a cheap and reliable car never even consider a Mitsubishi Lancer VIII because they believe that the only available engine was that 280 horsepower 2.0 Turbo, which isn’t even available on the street version.
Mitsubishi Lancer VIII Engines
- 1.3 4G13 with 82 horsepower – Just like the Logan, the Mitsubishi Lancer VIII had an old, ancient, reliable, not very fast, and mostly issue-resolved engine as its base. For an engine introduced in 1983, it’s impressive that the old 4G13 has survived in the market for so long.
- 1.5 4G15 of 99 horsepower – By far the most sensible european choice of engine as it’s the same 1.3 petrol only enlarged. It’s not going to morph from Graham Norton into Paul Wight, but it’s an adequate engine for an mediocre car that does it’s job decently but that’s it. So if you’re european, this is the engine to buy.
- 1.6 4G18 with 98 horsepower – The old 4G18 did its job admirably on the Mitsubishi Lancer VIII until the MIVEC technology came and retired it. We’ll discuss common problems later.
- 1.8 4G93 of 138 horsepower – Unfortunatelly the 4G93 GDi version is decent but is plagued by soot in it’s intake manifold so you will have to give your manifold a good old rub from time to time. Yeah boi.
- 1.8 4G93 Turbo of 195 horsepower – Same 4G93, but now with a turbo! Basically the proto-Lancer Evolution but good luck finding one for a decent price as this model got a JDM tax slapped to it for no real reason.
- 2.0 4G63 and 4G94 of 135 horsepower – Taken from the first Outlander and tuned to 135 horsepower, this engine is definitely powerful, considering that the Lancer VIII is a very lightweight and compact car without much technology. And it was also borrowed to Hyundai and it did a pretty good job there aswell.
- 2.4 4G69 of 154 and 161 horsepower – Sure it did work on the Outlander, but are you sure you want a 2.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol on a budget Mitsubishi? It’s nose heavy, it’s thirsty for petrol and oil and this is not the sort of car you buy for performance.
Mitsubishi Lancer VIII General Issues
- The 4G engines are sensitive to the engine oil quality so make an effort and buy something of quality. Besides that, occasional issues with the O2 sensor, catalytic converters, and oil consumption. Total bill, around 10 pounds.
- Being a Mitsubishi means it’s not a Volkswagen. Essentially, you’ll need to put in more effort in finding parts and mechanics compared to your neighbor with a Polo. That’s if you care about maintaining the car in any way.
- The steering gives you the impression that it’s not connected to anything when you’re at high speeds. Of course, don’t imagine high speeds when you have 82 horsepower, but at least you can imagine the sensation of speed.
- Being a Mitsubishi from the 2000s means that even the paint quality isn’t the most impressive, and it will start peeling off more than the clothes of women when they find out that you always say “Thank you” to the bus driver. That’s if you care about the car’s paint in any way.
- Pay close attention to the trim levels. Most cars had optional windows, seats, steering wheels, seatbelts. What they didn’t have as optional features were isoFIX attachment systems and even ABS, only available on the highest trim level. It’s mind-boggling when you see the simplicity of this car, but there is an utilitarian charm to it.
Mitsubishi Lancer VIII Verdict
It’s nice to have independent suspension at the front and back, and it’s nice to have that renowned Japanese reliability, but does it really matter if you only have 82 horsepower. Nonetheless, my verdict remains that the Mitsubishi Lancer is just a wheeled appliance. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, with not too much equipment, with small, weak, simple engines, but ridiculously reliable. The only major advantage of the Lancer is that its body isn’t made of toilet paper, and if a supermarket cart hits you, you won’t die on the spot.
Which engine do I recommend? The 1.6 4G18 with 99 horsepower. Probably. The bigger engines aren’t really worth the trouble.