The GSR badge on the back of a Mitsubishi Lancer used to mean something rather special. Increased power and a lot more performance than a standard Lancer for a start.
The latest Mitsubishi Lancer GSR has neither of those things. It is, in fact, a bog-standard Lancer dressed up with some sporty body bits to make it look the part.
We should hate it for that fact. After all, it is pretty much a sheep in wolves’ clothing, with its big grille and even bigger wing. But we don’t.
In fact, we rather like the GSR.
Why? Because of its simply startling price of $25,990.
That’s right, the Lancer GSR is a brand new small Japanese sedan for under 26K. That makes the silly big wing, gaping grille and all the other “performance” suggesting extras fine by us, because, after all, 26K!
Underneath, the GSR has the same 115kW/201Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as other Lancers, hooked up to a thoroughly hateful CVT transmission that does its best to sap the engine’s performance. But that doesn’t matter, because 26K!
That means it has perfectly decent performance and, CVT-induced groan when accelerating aside, is a pleasant companion out on the open road. And speaking of the open road, the GSR is rather adept here as well. While it is certainly not an EVO, Mitsubishi are the only party in the long-dead “Project Global” platform development partnership (the equally dead DaimlerChrysler alliance being the other) to actually do anything decent with this platform.
The GSR has a light, nimble feel to it through corners and although the steering is slightly lifeless it is nicely responsive steering. It changes direction happily and is never anything less than predictable. Power ain’t its strong suit, but corners can definitely be fun.
While the Lancer is starting to get on a bit now, it is only going to get older as Mitsubishi have recently announced that they are delaying its replacement until 2017 as it concentrates on SUVs, hybrids and electric cars.
But who cares? As long as Mitsubishi keeps offering it at prices like this, it is welcome to stay around as long as it likes. Relatively speaking.
Engine: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
CO2 emissions: 170g/km