Sheer luxury with the Lancer Juro

(2101PG15)
(2101PG15)

With its pokey Lancer Ralliart, Mitsubishi has already tried to bridge the top-to-bottom gap in this particular product line-up with a mild performance derivative. With the Lancer Juro, it aims to do so with sheer luxury. This car is all about value for money, dripping with every conceivable add-on to ensure that rival Focus-sized models look poverty-stricken by comparison.

This Lancer has been around in the UK for the best part of 30 years, having been launched here at the 1974 London Motorshow. But none of the previous ten generations we’ve seen offered anything like the kind of kit list Juro customers will take away. This car may have re-written the rules for the kind of specificationamily hatchback customers should expect as standard in this sector.

On the road, this is no Lancer Evo, nor does it pretend to be, but this Mitsubishi’s precise and direct steering does indeed feel similar to that of its go-faster brother. The driver looks ahead over cowled instruments which certainly create the right atmosphere and the car shows decent composure at speed, with ample grip and little cornering body roll. This is in large part thanks to a chassis which is 56% more rigid than was the case in the ninth generation model.

It’s not class-leading, but it’s better than you would expect from such a little-known family hatch class contender. The ride is good too, thanks to an independent multi-link rear suspension set-up. And it’s quite as fast as most Focus sector buyers will need it to be, the 138bhp 2.0-litre direct injection turbo diesel offering a top speed of 127mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of just under 10 seconds.

“Bottom line is that with all this extra kit on board, here’s a 15,000 car that should be costing you 18,000-19,000 at least.”

If you’re not familiar with the current generation Lancer model, then the first thing that you’ll probably notice is what Mitsubishi calls its ‘Jet Fighter’ nose, front end treatment that started life on the high end Evo performance car and has since worked its way through the company’s range.

This generation model was launched with a longer wheelbase and a slight increase in width, so Lancer Juro buyers shouldn’t be disappointed in the cabin space they’ll get - at least for a car of this class. In fact, you might mistake this Japanese contender as being something slightly bigger than Focus-sized: it is, after all, 24cms longer than the rival Ford. It helps too that the steeply raked back of this hatch looks good and aggressive, aiding with an on-road posture that’s both purposeful and striking.

The downside to that is that inside the car, the raked interior compromises carrying capacity a little, meaning that the 344-litre boot behind the rear seats is a little down on a Focus’s 385-litres. That said, the load space you do get is certainly versatile and with the adjustable height cargo floor and folding rear seats, you can boost its capacity to as much as 1,394-litres. At the wheel, the leather-lined cabin has a feeling of quality and everything falls to hand easily.

Here’s where the Lancer Juro’s buying proposition really starts to stack up. For around 15,000 complete with the five-door hatchback bodystyle and torquey 2.0 D-ID diesel engine that most customers want. What other 15K diesel-powered family hatch comes complete with black leather seats, air conditioning, cruise control, a reversing parking camera, electrically controlled and heated door mirrors, all-round power windows and a top flight Kenwood audio system with Garmin satellite navigation, Parrott Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and steering wheel audio controls?

Safety is taken care of with side, curtain, front and knee airbags, ISO-Fix Child Seat Mounting Points, Brake Assist and an Emergency Stop Signal System which flashes the hazard warning lights under extreme braking. Colour-wise, if you don’t like sold Frost White, you can choose from a range of sophisticated metallic shades, including Cool Silver, Stone Grey, Lightening Blue and a striking Amethyst Black.

You’ll need to bear in mind though that this Lancer rates in group 21E for insurance.