tb-two* tags along for a test ride with Peter Couture, Daily Driver columnist for tbt* and the Times.
GUY’S TAKE by TJ JOHNSON, Durant High
*DISCLAIMER* I drive a V8 Hemi Dodge Charger. ’Nuff said.
COOL FACTOR: It’s turbo-charged, has leather and chrome accents, as well as an iPod plug-in and satellite radio, which are pretty standard features nowadays. Sadly, the actual radio display is disappointingly small and plain. The A/C was more high-tech and provided much more entertainment. I was pleasantly surprised by the sound system, too. The top-of-the-line model comes with a subwoofer built into the trunk with two settings: bass and punch.
FUN DRIVE FACTOR: Mitsubishi got it right with this sunroof. Now there’s one more location for music, heads, hands or feet from which to escape the vehicle (although the feet option isn’t recommended). For those who always get stuck in the back, no need to fret. For a sedan, there’s a ridiculous amount of legroom in the back and front seats. Being turbo-charged, this car has some nasty acceleration, but it has a tendency to kick in too early. Even at low speeds the engine spools up, so while driving through the school parking lot you’ll inevitably attract that guy’s attention.
PARENTAL FACTOR: Certainly not the crazy engine. The hands-free calling is a nice safety feature, but I think the trunk is the most unappreciated safety feature. Using my patent-pending system of trunk measurement, I found the trunk space to be depressingly small. So parents need not worry about the prospect of piling dozens of friends into the back space for an impromptu midnight drive to Miami.
FIRST IMPRESSION FACTOR: It looks like a sedan, sort of. Everything appears normal until the front comes into view, which is where it gets confusing. It looks like some ’80s hood got dropped onto a futuristic grill design. Both would look great on their own, but together it clashes and I never could wrap my mind around it. However, if you’re into the whole “looks can be deceiving” mentality, then you’ll be a fan. The Lancer certainly pulls that off.
GIRL’S TAKE by EMMY BOYD, Wharton High
*DISCLAIMER* I have a need for speed, so any car with lots of horsepower makes me swoon. I tried not to let it sway me, though it was very difficult.
COOL FACTOR: The exterior looked like a combination of an old-school muscle car and a swift sedan of the future. Seeing the word “sedan” makes most cringe and hide from the imminent mob of soccer moms, but fear not: The 10-inch subwoofer keeps the housewives away. The sunroof will also help when going on a beach adventure with friends.
FUN-DRIVE FACTOR: The new Lancer is a really fun drive, especially since you can’t feel it switch gears at all. It just kicks into gear and takes you from point A to point B with ease. The turbo power option was the best; you barely had to press the gas and the car could go at warp speed, something I thoroughly enjoy. (Okay, Pete didn’t really drive at warp speed.) The car we tested had a manual option, so ladies out there can try to impress the men by their ability to drive a stick shift. Just remember when you switch back to automatic, or else you’ll be revving the engine, not going anywhere, and be very confused (like our driver momentarily was).
COZY FACTOR: This car can fit three teenage girls and their backpacks comfortably in the backseat. Because the bass subwoofer is in the trunk, this is not a good place to take a nap when you have a headache. The air conditioning in the front is fabulous, but seemed non-existent in the back, which could lead to cranky friends in the back seat during the middle of summer.