When the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer SE hits dealerships this fall with all wheel drive, it will mark the first time that the Japanese automaker has offered all wheel drive on a non-performance model Lancer. The target audience of the Mitsubishi Lancer and the high performance Lancer Evolution or Ralliart are very different groups so in the past, those buying the low cost, fuel friendly Lancer were restricted to just front wheel drive. Getting into an all wheel drive version meant that you not only had to pay a great deal more for the sport oriented and high powered Evo ($33k+) and Ralliart ($27k+) models but those performance models also fail to offer the fuel economy capacities of the less expensive Lancers.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer SE will power all four wheels with a naturally aspirated engine, reports have not yet indicated which engine it will have. The Lancer DE, ES and GTS (shown above) all currently offer naturally aspirated engines with the first two having a 2.0L mill that makes 148hp and 146lb-ft of torque while the GTS uses a 2.4L engine to make 168 horsepower and 167lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines offer vastly better fuel economy so those prospective Mitsubishi buyers who want the best possible fuel economy and the safety of the Mitsubishi advanced all wheel drive setup – the 2012 Lancer SE provides a new, low cost option.
Mitsubishi has long made popular all wheel drive models dating back into the 1980s and while these were predominantly performance models, the company’s success in the AWD field coupled with the growth of interest in fuel efficient all wheel drive cars combine to indicate that the 2012 Lancer SE could be a popular choice in today’s American auto industry. According to Automotive News, the Lancer SE with AWD could start with a price somewhere in the $20,000 range – making it substantially less expensive than the other current AWD Lancer models. Mitsubishi expects that this - along with more new models - will help them break the 100,000 plateau that they've missed every year since 2007.
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Source: Automotive News