Saturday, 9 May 2009

Product Review - Mitsubishi Lancer GS4

I've been wondering lately whether I should actually write reviews for some of the things I own. I own a lot, that's an understatement as people who know me will testify to, and that's not me bragging either. It's simply that since I was born my Mum never threw away my toys and as I got older I started to gradually add to my collections until the point where, now that I'm 31, I not only own a large amount of collectibles, graphic novels & comics, DVD's, gaming consoles & games, but I now have a few other high-end gadgets and practical items in my posession too.

The first item I'm going to briefly review is my 6 month old car... An Orient Red 1.8 Mitsubishi Lancer 4-Door MIVEC GS4 Automatic (wow that's a mouthful!).

Now 'Red Sonja', as I lovingly call her, is a frickin awesome car. I have owned 4 cars before her which were a Volvo 345 CVT (almost unseen nowadays), a Ford Fiesta (I don't remember anything else about that one!), a Vauxhall Astra (again can't even remember it's engine size) and my most recent car which we still have as our family car is a Toyota Verso T-Spirit, but Sonja destroys them all without even trying...

As I can't drive a manual transmission due to a problem with my legs (which I found out recently was osteoarthritis) when I went shopping for my new car my options were fairly limited, as they've always been. I'd seen a review of the Lancer on Top Gear a long while back and I always had that in mind for when it came time to upgrade. Back in Oct/ Nov last year my Astra started to play up and was becoming a danger on the road. When you went round a corner it started to slide like a rally car even at 20mph, the windscreen was severely chipped, the aircon had died, and it sounded and felt like you were entering warp speed when you hit 70mph... I sought out my nearest dealer (Basildon, Essex) and off I went to buy my brand new car.

A few positive things are immediately apparent with Sonja that make her stand out from my previous cars, and they are:

1) She looks great. The rear spoiler is funky and a little different to normal versions which gives her a new sporty look, the body work is smooth and her curves again make her look sporty, even giving her a shark-head look at the front. And she turns heads (mostly teenage guys unfortunately!), something my older cars could never have done! Also I love the fact that her wing mirrors fold in and out automatically via the key fob and internal button. It's silly but it's a show off add-on that has a little bit or praticality for parking and tight spots.

2) She handles great. My Astra felt like you were driving on ice (and no the tyres and axle etc were fine). Sonja feels like you're piloting a highly manoeuvrable fighter jet most of the time! The power steering is highly responsive and she has a good turning circle, her acceleration and top speed are impressive (considering she's a hybrid auto CVT with 6 speed sport-manual mode and CVT auto mode) and the online specs for both of those are quite a way off from the true numbers I can assure you (she's faster than the top acceleration time and top speed, no idea if they were using an old granny as their test subjects!) and you feel very very safe on the road with her. Also I have to mention the fact that because Sonja is a CVT there's almost no torque... You can't feel a change in gear when accelerating so she's extremely smooth in auto mode and can out accelerate almost anything next to you at the traffic lights with ease. Plus there's a substantial reduction in gravitational inertia, which is a posh way of saying that when you corner at speed you don't feel like you're going to be thrown through the door and onto the road like I did in my Astra!

3) The inside is impressive. Sonja, being the GS4 version, has a leather interior, in-built console touchscreen GPS with CD, HDD and DVD playback options (behind the screen which slides open in a very cool fashion at the touch of a button) and the CD player records all music to the built in hard drive!, 6 inner speakers which are all pitch perfect with great treble & base, audio/ video connectors above the dashboard cigarette lighter which is basically an I-Pod dock (I actually use my Creative Zen MP3/ Video player and it's awesome) you can obviously only watch video feeds while stationary though, it won't play while driving for saftey reasons, an eye catching driver display unit behind the wheel with an orange colour system for the speed and RPM (analogue) and a central digital display which can show loads of info about the car, including a handy 'miles left to go' petrol indicator which also displays 'hello' and 'goodbye' when you get in and out of the car! Speaker volume and radio channels can be changed via the left steering wheel controls too along with the touchscreen option.

4) Cruise Control. My one and only stipulation on any car that I was going to buy was cruise control. I do a few long trips every year for both work and pleasure which cruise control is a Godsend for because of my leg and back problems. All controlled on the steering wheel right where your right thumb has access and you can speed up and decelerate with them too. Oh how my body is grateful to have this option!

5) The internal space is... spacious? Even compared to my family car, the Toyota Verso, Sonja feels big inside with plenty of leg room both in the front for driver and passenger, and in the back for the other three potential passengers. The boot is also larger than I expected (most people say it's small but it's bigger than any of my previous cars so I can only compare it's size to them). The storage space in the front is also pretty impressive in the GS4 which includes the standard glove box on the passenger side, two hidden centre console push open slots (one with a gap for your I-Pod which also hides the audio/ video connectors, and one with another cigarette packet sized slot with the lighter next to it). There are two cup holder slots to the drivers left behind the gear shift which have a slide-over cover top when not in use, the side doors have bottle sized slots at their bases with ample storage for all the random crap your leave in your car (like parking tickets, chewing gum, hand sanitizer etc, that's my car at least) and the main storage under the arm rest between the two seats is doubled up with a thinner section on top and a lower, deeper section below (each can be opened separately) which is not only handy for sunglasses, bottles of water or other equally sized items but also contains yet another cigarette lighter socket.

So these are the main points that are positive about the GS4. I don't have any negatives at this time other than; although the multi function in-built GPS rocks, it doesn't do postcodes... Yes that's right, you can't type in a full postcode to get where you're going. You do have a multitude of options though, and she's never done me wrong so far, so I can't really say it's a bad thing. Just not something I'm used to with GPS systems.

I could go on all day about how much I love this car, she's like the fourth woman in my immediate family to me, but suffice to say I highly recommend her to anyone who is able to purchase one.

Full details and spec of the GS4 and it's other versions are on the Mitsubishi website HERE
but details on my version are HERE ,which if you follow the links will give you the full in-depth spec and the price.

See you on the roads people.

Oh and if you're wondering why I called my GS4 'Red Sonja', other than the fact that I'm a geek and she's red, it's that based on her namesake she's sleek and well built, powerful and fast, attractive to guys who like power and can definitely kick your ass when needed... Plus I had the weirdest little crush on Bridgette Nielson when I was younger. More for her other films like Beverly Hills Cop II and Rocky IV that Red Sonja, but hey, she's my car and I've called her what I wanted to! ;P

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