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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Memory Mitsubishi Lancer

Mitsubishi Lancer

The Mitsubishi Lancer is a compact automobile built by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. It has been sold in various countries as the Colt Lancer, Dodge/Plymouth Colt, Chrysler Valiant Lancer, Chrysler Lancer, Eagle Summit, Hindustan Lancer, Mitsubishi Carisma, and Mitsubishi Mirage, and formed the basis of numerous Proton models in Malaysia.


The Lancer (LA series in Australia, where it was called the Chrysler Valiant Lancer initially) was first launched in 1973 and proved to be particularly successful in rallies, a claim that it retains today. At the time of its launch, Mitsubishi had its keicar, the Minica, and the mid-size Galant, so it made sense to have a compact to fill the gap in the growing Japanese concern. Twelve models were launched, ranging from a 1200 cm³ basic sedan to the powerful 1600 GSR model.


In 1975, the Lancer was complemented by an attractive hatchback coupé called the Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste (plain Mitsubishi Celeste or Colt Celeste in some markets; it was the Chrysler Lancer Coupé in Australia and the Plymouth Arrow in the United States), and sold with 1400 and 1600 cm³ options. The exterior design was reminiscent of the Renault 17. (It was not renewed within the Lancer range, its role taken over in 1982 by the Mitsubishi Cordia coupé.)

Facelift and exports

A facelifted Lancer followed soon after, called the LB series in Australia (and without the Valiant tag). It was this series that emerged in the United States as the Dodge Colt for the 1977 model year, taking over from a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Galant from the previous year. It was offered for one more model year before the Dodge Colt name was transferred to the front wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage.


In 1979, the new Lancer EX (the EX tag was not used for all export markets) débuted. The EX series included, from 1980, a turbocharged 1800 cm³ model. Stylistically, the boxy, angular look replaced the "coke bottle" of the LAs and LBs.

Lancer Fiore

In 1982, a confusing new model was launched called the Lancer Fiore, based on the Mitsubishi Mirage. The Fiore was often sold as a Lancer in international markets, but also the Mirage Sedan and, with the five-door hatchback model, remained in production for a good part of the 1980s. In Australia, it would eventually be sold as the Mitsubishi Colt Sedan. Thus, Mitsubishi had two similarly sized models competing in the same market segment.


The following year, both Mirage and Lancer lines were renewed. The Mirage four-door and Lancer sedan became the same car. Fuel injected and turbocharged models were an integral part of this range. A station wagon was added in 1985, and it spawned a raised, four wheel drive version. Often, the Mirage (or Colt) would be the name used on the three-door hatchback, and the Lancer name used on the remainder. This model formed the basis of the original Proton sedan, Malaysia's first car.


In 1987, a more aerodynamic-looking Lancer was launched, following the shape of the successful Galant. A five-door hatchback was added to the range. The Mirage and Lancer nomenclature continued. The station wagon continued on the old platform and shape, as did, in some markets, a five-door version of the Mirage. In Australia, all models were sold as the Mitsubishi Lancer. By that time, the Lancer name was shared with the Dodge Lancer sold in North America.


It was only in 1992 that there was greater differentiation between the Mirage and Lancer. Although both were on the same platform, the Mirage four-door received different sheetmetal from the Lancer sedan. The Mirage variant was sold in North America under the Eagle Summit name. Minivan models, such as the Mitsubishi Space Runner and Mitsubishi Chariot, were mechanically related. In 1993, the Lancer wagon, named the Libero in Japan, was launched. A V6 variant was also introduced, with only 1.6L, making it the smallest production V6 ever. The hi-performance, sporty, and turbocharged GSR version formed the basis of the popular Lancer Evolution (or 'Evo') from September 1993, using the drivetrain of the successful Galant VR-4 rally car, which is 4WD.

The Mirage Asti Coupé in Japan was offered as the Lancer Coupé in many export markets.


In 1995, the Lancer was renewed for its seventh generation, building on the earlier model's format. Apart from the Evo models' continuation, it did not depart from the established Lancer formula. A sedan and wagon (Libero in Japan) were offered, with a related Mirage model. The coupé continued as the Mirage Asti in Japan, Lancer Coupé elsewhere.


The year 2000 saw the release of the eighth-generation Lancer Cedia, though in some markets the seventh generation Lancer continued (becoming increasingly uncompetitive), built at Mitsubishi's Thai plant. The new model was available in sedan and station wagon forms. The Mirage, apart from the export models, became a different car in Japan that was unrelated to the Lancer. In Europe, the Lancer was not offered in some countries, being too close to the size of the Dutch-built Carisma, so the Evo VII model sold there bore the Carisma name.

For North America, facelifts for the Lancer Cedia (known simply as Lancer in the US) occurred in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years. In 2004, the front facia was changed and brought it into line with the Mitsubishi corporate look. In 2005, the grille was changed to include more fins to reflect a closer similarity to the North American Galant. For 2006, the facia was changed again from a bridged facia to one with an open vent after Mitsubishi received complaints from current owners regarding its similarity in appearance to General Motors Division Pontiac's corporate look, and to bring the appearance closer to its bigger brother, the Evolution. As of 2006, the Mitsubishi Lancer wagon is now exclusively sold in Canada.

Thai production was switched to the new model, and in all markets but India, the seventh-generation model was finally laid to rest, four years after the Cedia's introduction. India will receive a new Lancer in 2006.

North America received two additional models to the Lancer line in 2004. The Lancer Cedia station wagon was introduced as the Lancer Sportback, and the Lancer Ralliart, a high level equipment package for the sedan that allowed the car was also introduced. Both of these cars came equipped with Mitsubishi's 4G69 engine (rated at 160HP/162FT-LB for the Sportback, and 162HP/162FT-LB for the Ralliart), included a new, stiffer suspension package that improved handling and lowered the cars stance by 1 centimeter, 16" alloy wheels, front bucket seats borrowed from Japan's Mitsubishi Evolution GT-A, Fog Lamps, and a new aerodynamic ground package. The Ralliart also came equipped with a cosmetic rear deck spoiler, and clear rear tail lights. The Sportback was equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission, with no option for a manual transmission, while the Ralliart came with a 5-speed manual transmission with an option for the 4-speed automatic. Due to Mitsubishi's deteriorating financial situation and slow sales, the Lancer Sportback wagon was cancelled one year after its release.

In some European markets, the Lancer began to take the place of the Carisma in 2004.

Posted by: aroeltsm, Updated at: 12:25 am

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