ACCORDING to a recent poll, BMW owners are the worst drivers on the road. I don’t know about that, but it’s interesting that on the M40, two drivers of BMW M-Series cars try to race me. Their moves are aggressive, predicable and stupid. But perhaps not as stupid as thinking that the car I’m in is an Evolution X, the most expensive and powerful Mitsubishi Lancer in the range, the man racer’s dream car with a 0-62mph of 4.1 seconds. In fact the car I’m innocently cruising along in is a Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 DI-D Juro, the best value Lancer you can buy. Do your homework fellas.
In it’s defence, Mitsubishi’s new Lancer Juro looks similar at the front to an Evo X, is similarly missile-shaped, has the same stance and even has some snazzy 16-inch five-spoke alloys fitted too. The spoiler on its hatchback is nothing like as pronounced – but then it doesn’t need it. Obviously in terms of performance it’s no Evo, but if you’re the kind of person that looks for genuinely good value in the things you buy – including cars – then this Lancer could be for you. The car has an impressive list of specifications as standard, including leather seats, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, an iPod connection, satellite navigation and even a reversing camera and ISO-Fix child seat mounting points, which pretty much confirms the market Mitsubishi is targeting with the Lancer Duro. Starting at just £14,999 the Mitsubishi Lancer Juro offers a recession-beating price for anyone looking for a family car and unusually, despite having a (usually more expensive) diesel engine – and quite a good one at that – the Juro beats petrol-engined rivals on price too.
On the road the two-litre, 140bhp diesel engine feels sprightly enough – the Juro is capable of 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds – and I find I like the six-speed gearbox too. Together it doesn’t feel like enjoyment has been overly compromised. The handling is good enough but the ride is a little bumpy and at speed the cabin is noisy too.
Inside the cabin, impressions are mixed. The car is certainly spacious enough in front and rear but there is an over-use of hard plastics, particularly in the dash and for switchgear including the air conditioning controls. But the inclusion of a black leather steering wheel – including steering wheel-mounted controls – and gear lever to match the leather seats do enough to lift the interior overall, particularly if you remind yourself of the car’s price.
One further compromise is that the Juro’s economy isn’t the best at 42.2 mpg. And emissions aren’t super either at 163g/km CO2. That said, the Juro’s rivals that beat these figures cost more money. Which is where the pricing here is really very clever. It doesn’t have the best performance, refinement or the interior of some of its rivals but for the price it’s a compelling possibility and offers genuine value for money.
THE FACTS: MITSUBISHI LANCER 2.0 DI-D JURO
Top speed: 127mph
CO2 g/km: 163g/km
MPG Combined: 42.2 mpg
VALUE FOR MONEY HHHHI