GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
Look! It's GirlDriver, USA.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Note To Self: Buy Leather Jacket

The way to size up the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart is to first know in your head that it's a bad boy with good intentions. Who wouldn't love the growl of the 237-hp 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine?  The engine is paired with a 6-speed, twin-clutch sportronic transmission, which I found imprecise and annoying.  Even after settling in to the car, I had problems shifting gears.

Once in gear, this performance-enhanced Lancer is a blast to drive.  It felt secure and grounded and responsive.   Foglamps and dual exhaust, makes this shark nosed, chrome-appointed, hood-scooped sedan a head turner.   The interior finishes and materials left me wishing for a better execution although sport meter gauges, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob make up for some of those issues.  I'm also one who doesn't care for the pumped up Rockford-Fosgate sound system.  The target market for this car would totally approve, but the sound is way to heavy and pounding for my musical tastes.  You can find me on  Broadway channel (XM 72) whenever I'm not listening to news.

Getting down to brass tacks, the fuel economy on this beast is 18 city/ 25 highway/20 combined.  My car as equipped was $34,240 including delivery with about $5,300 worth of extras.  The monroney (sales sheet) actually includes a full tank of gas.  Like, really?  Well the average annual fuel cost calculations do estimate that you will spend $2,850 annually in fuel costs.  It averages out to about $2,600 more over five years than an average new vehicle or about $500 a year.   

Mitsu is one of a couple of car companies that are struggling in the U.S.  In the Lancer slice of the market there are many desirable muscle cars to choose from so competitors have to be at the very top of their game.  With Mitsu total sales hovering around 40,000 in a market that is being estimated at 14.4 million vehicles this year, it is hard to see how they will survive.  Chevrolet,  sold 40,000 cars  over two weeks in August.

I had fun in the car.   But if you don't want to draw attention, you might be better off with a Camry.  I was stopped by the state troopers at 12:30 a.m. on the parkway.  He was more interested in the fact that I had California distributor plates than the fact that I was going 72 in a 55 mph zone.  "I've only ever seen one other California plate on this road in my entire career," he said.  (He had to be all of 19.)  And then he didn't know how to input a distributor plate and was fascinated by my job so I got off.

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