Tuesday, 21 August 2007

--~@ New Kid on the Block @~--

Having been away for many years after becoming a partner in the National Car Project, Mitsubishi Motors seems to be making up for lost time (and market share) in making its return to the Malaysian market. Being directly involved in marketing and distribution activities,

Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) - a joint-venture between Mitsubishi Corporation and EON - has been executing aggressive strategies to capture a meaningful share of the market which is five times larger than when it withdrew some 20 years ago. The Triton pick-up is one example of how aggressive the Japanese carmaker is. With an attractive price to complement its ‘radical’ design, it has beaten other established rivals to be the second most popular pick-up this year, after the Toyota Hilux.

the old and the new

Now comes the next salvo: a new generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer. MMM managed to persuade Mitsubishi Motors to allow it to launch the new model ahead of Japan and Singapore, making this the first country in Asia to get the all-new Lancer (the US market got it earlier in the year). It’s quite amazing considering the present market position of Mitsubishi (ie relatively small volumes) but it is also clear that extra effort is needed to draw customers. The company has no locally-assembled models so pricing is tricky but again, it has done yet another feat: the new Lancer 2.0GT which is imported CBU from Japan (not Thailand as many assumed) retails for RM115,980 with insurance. How MMM managed to get this price remains a secret but its Chairman, Datuk Syed Hisham Syed Wazir said it is a ‘strategic intent’ to take the brand further and to have a more significant presence, perhaps even becoming one of the top 5 players as it used to be before 1985.

The new Lancer’s style is a distinct departure from previous styling for the model. It was first shown in the Concept X prototype two years ago and was said to be the new design language. This is the second model after the latest Outlander to adopt the new design language that ‘conveys the performance-oriented essence of the brand’. Where the past few generations have had rounded and ‘soft’ front ends, the grille, bumper and lower air intake of the new model are unified in a distinct form inspired by the air intakes on a fighter jet for a "shark nosed" effect. Although the all-new Lancer proportions draw some inspiration from European designs, the sharp and thin front headlamp design also conveys the feel of Japanese precision and technology.

Rear end seems a bit like a certain Italian car. Spoiler is standard for GT version.

The clean, creased surfaces sweep into the side profile with its high, wedged, belt-line. Prominently flared fenders recall the brand's Evo heritage, adding bold distinctiveness. The sculptured, "chopped off" tail (looks like it came from a certain Italian car) accentuates the car's sporty cabin shape. From a front three-quarter view, the rear overhang is visually shortened by a chiseled, tapering rear bumper side surface. The tail lamp clusters themselves are like ‘small works of techno art’, according to a designer, enclosing three circles with individual functions and simulated LED lighting, in keeping with trends.

The Best Seat in the HouseIt’s a shame, really. Something so beautifully designed that you’ll hardly ever need to look at it. The cockpit of the new Lancer has been ergonomically laid out to put every control exactly where intuition tells you it should be. Paddle shifters and audio controls have also been added to the steering wheel, giving you the control you want without ever needing to take your eyes off the road ahead.

Besides offering the top version, MMM has also fitted an original aerokit to it so it has sill and bumper extensions as well as a purpose-designed rear spoiler – as standard on all units.

As with the exterior, the new Lancer's interior has crisp surfaces and a lot of attention to detail. However, as with the previous generation, there is a notable lack of ‘fussiness’ with a minimum of switches and knobs. This contributes to a more spacious and airy feeling for the occupants, making journeys more relaxing. A black colour scheme gives a sporty ambience to the cabin, further emphasized by the substantially contoured seats which has Nappa leather upholstery.

Paddle ShiftersTake command of the drive in a whole new way with Lancer racing-inspired paddle-shift system. Built directly into the steering wheel, they provide the thrill of total control without taking your attention from the road ahead.

Multi-information DisplayLaid out to tell you everything at a glance, the display panel features stylish LCD digital read-outs. Drivers can configure the display to show exactly the information they want, including current gear position (CVT and A/T models), fuel level, distance until empty and other information.

Facing the driver is a sporty, dual-hood instrument panel inspired by classic European sportscars. Between the large speedometer and tachometer is a Multi-Information Display which tells the driver about coolant temperature, trip distances, remaining fuel, average speed, average fuel consumption and real-time consumption. The 3-spoke steering wheel has buttons to operate the audio system and behind it are two large paddles which are made of magnesium. These are for changing ratios of the CVT and if preferred, you can also use the shift lever.

Paddle shifters are made of magnesium Shifting can also be done by using shifter and pushing up and down

Fully Automatic Air ConditionerFor the comfort of you and your passengers, Lancer features a fully automatic climate control system for front and rear seats.

The equipment level is high though that should not be surprising as the GT version is the top one. Fully automatic air-conditioning is standard and the audio system gas a 6-CD changer as well as MP3 capability.

Cargo SpaceThe new Lancer features a large and convenient trunk space, providing up to 400 liters of storage capacity. The lid has been redesigned with hinges to the sides to provide more efficient use of space and avoid hitting your cargo. For added convenience, stored items may be accessed from the interior via the 60:40 split folding rear seatbacks.

For extra cargo space, the divided rear backrests can be folded down. Under the bonnet is a bigger engine than the previous Lancer sold here.

It is a brand new 2.0-litre DOHC 4-cylinder all-aluminium engine with MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control) which is a continuously variable valve timing system. MIVEC operates both the intake and exhaust cam timing independently to provide four optimized engine-operating modes. Under most conditions, to ensure highest fuel efficiency, valve overlap is increased to reduce pumping losses. The exhaust valve opening timing is retarded for higher expansion ratio, enhancing fuel economy. When maximum power is demanded (high engine speed and load), intake valve closing timing is retarded to synchronize the intake air pulsations for larger air volume. Under low-speed/high load, MIVEC ensures optimal torque generation with the intake valve closing timing advanced to ensure sufficient air volume. At the same time, the exhaust valve opening timing is retarded to provide a higher expansion ratio and improved efficiency. At ide, valve overlap is eliminated to stabilize combustion.

To keep the engine weight down, there’s a plastic cam cover and intake manifold and double-layer stainless steel exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold has a rear location which makes it faster for the catalytic converter to heat up and achieve optimum chemical reaction to cleanse the toxic exhaust gases. To reduce vibrations, the engine has a 4-point inertial axis system with cylindrical hydraulic engine mounts on the left and right sides. A lightweight, high-rigidity squeeze-cast aluminium bracket on the right side mount (engine side) helps reduce engine noise under acceleration. A lightweight, high-rigidity steel plate bracket on the left side mount (transmission side) helps reduce gear noise. A custom-tuned insulator was developed for the front and rear mounts to help control both idle vibration and acceleration shock.

The power output of the engine is 114 kW/155 ps at 6000 rpm with 199 Nm of torque peaking at 4250 rpm. With a kerb weight of 1,385 kgs and a specific power output of 77.5 ps per litre, that should mean impressive performance. Tuning of the engine focused on providing strong midrange torque for ease of overtaking on the highways as well as brisk acceleration at the lower end.

While the Lancer 2.0GT to be launched in Singapore this weekend will have only a 5-speed manual transmission, the one for Malaysia has only a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a Sports mode that allows automatic and manual selection of ratios. In theory, a belt-driven CVT with two pulleys has ‘infinite’ gearing but six steps were selected for ease of use, sporty driving and flexible performance as well as to provide the driver with a better feel while driving. The CVT's ratio range is 2.349 to 0.394, with a 6.12 final drive, this spread far wider than many conventional 4-speed automatic transmissions and demonstrating the greater flexibility of the CVT. By smoothly adapting to changing vehicle speeds and allowing the engine speed to remain at its level of peak efficiency, fuel economy is better. Also, because a CVT does not "shift" gears in the conventional sense, faster and crisper "shifts" can be achieved.

MIVEC 2-litre engine has variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust sides; not all variable valve mechanisms operate both sides. Note strut bar which is standard and enhances body rigidity for better handling

Rear suspension (top) has a multi-link layout. The suspension developed used lessons learnt from the Evo and is also used for the Outlander SUV.

By its nature, a CVT delivers a noticeably different driving feel so the engineers have used special control software to provide a ‘familiar’ driving experience. The software is called INVECS-III (3rd generation Intelligent & iNovative Vehicle Electronic Control System) and ‘personalizes’ the CVT shift strategy to match the acceleration and braking patterns of each driver. With a conventional automatic, when the driver presses on the accelerator, engine and vehicle speeds climb in unison, with perceptible rpm drops between gearshifts. The CVT, on the other hand, allows the engine to rev to its optimal-efficiency speed for a given throttle opening and vehicle load, adjusting the ratio to match the power demands. Also, since the CVT is designed to keep the engine running at an optimal speed over a wide range of vehicle speeds, pressing on the accelerator pedal will increase the car’s speed but won't necessarily change the engine sound - another trait that people often find unusual. However, after some time usig the CVT, drivers come to appreciate its seamless operation. The INVECS-III software even simulates the slight off-the line lurch that drivers feel and expect in a conventional automatic transmission vehicle. Without this programming, CVT response could be perceived as sluggish.

The independent MacPherson strut front suspension looks similar in layout to the previous Lancer's but is actually new in design. There is slightly longer suspension travel (10 mm) to reduce road shocks and a thick 21-mm diameter front stabilizer bar. Tuning of the suspension has also been biased towards sporty driving and this is clearly evident with the standard fitment of a stabilizer strut (you can see it over the engine bay in the picture) which increases roll rigidity to give better steering stability.

The Lancer's new trailing-arm type multi-link rear suspension is a major factor in providing ride and handling characteristics that go with the performance-oriented image. It provides individual location of each suspension element to ensure precise handling and better ride comfort. Contributing to handling stability are ball joint-type stabilizer links and a new hub unit bearing that provides higher camber and toe rigidity.

The new Lancer is said to give crisp, fluid steering response and part of this comes from a new rack and pinion steering system. The optimized steering column layout features joint friction-reduction parts that improve steering feel (reduced torque fluctuation) while support stiffness at the steering wheel end of the steering column has been increased, reducing steering wheel vibration. Dampers used on the intermediate shaft help reduce shimmy.
18-inch wheels with 215/45 tyres!

Many people were amazed to see MMM offering the large 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, along with 215/45R18 tyres. It’s certainly going to be a real ‘driver’s car’ and enthusiasts will be delighted but those tyres are not cheap either. The MMM people will be looking into this issue and probably talk to local tyremakers to see if they can produce the sizes.

For stopping power, the Lancer has front and rear disc brakes and the GT version has the same brake system and specs as the larger and heavier Outlander SUV (294 mm discs in front, dual calipers). Additionally, higher friction coefficient pads are claimed to improve performance while the single 10-inch brake vacuum booster, with a long-stroke master cylinder, improves boost power and brake feel. ABS is, of course, standard, along with EBD and Brake Assist.

A reassuringly solid feeling is promised, thanks to a body structure engineered with greater inherent strength than its predecessor. That is one reason the new platform can be used for a variety of model types, including the new Outlander SUV. It is built around Mitsubishi's next-generation Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) design. The highly rigid structure makes extensive use of high-tensile steel, a material that was not used before. Furthermore, lessons learnt from reinforcing the structure of the previous Lancer Evo have also been applied to the new Lancer. Compared to the previous-generation, torsional rigidity has been increased by 56% and bending rigidity by up by 50%. Both these increases are said to exceed body stiffness measurements of even the current Lancer Evo. The lower body structure, where the suspension attaches to the car, contributes to higher rigidity than before. Strut tower, side and lower braces enhance lateral rigidity for precise steering response, and lower control arm attachment points and steering knuckles have been strengthened. The combination of these enhancements, along with retuned lower control arm bushings, contribute to quicker steering response. As a result of these reinforcement measures, rigidity of the tyre ground contact area was improved by a significant 18% (comparing to the previous Lancer).

MMM should not face any difficulty selling the 400 units it has forecast for 2007 and they can get as many APs as needed even though the model comes from Japan. How long this super-duper price will last remains to be seen but it has not been called an ‘introductory price’ either. And if that isn’t enough, MMM is also offering a 5-year/100,000 km (whichever occurs first) factory warranty as well as 3 years/50,000 kms (whichever comes first) of free scheduled maintenance! Clearly, this pricing level is going to force rivals to review their own pricing strategies and that’s good for buyers.

Front fog lamps (reflector type) and side airdam


Engine : 2.0 MIVEC

Variant : GT

Model code : CY4ASTXHR


Overall length mm : 4570

Overall width mm : 1760

Overall height mm : 1490

Wheelbase mm : 2635

Track Front/Rear mm : 15030 /1530

Ground clearance mm : 150

Curb weight kg : 1385

Gross vehicle weight kg : 1850

Seating capacity persons : 5


Max speed* km/h : 200

Min. turning radius m : 5


Code : 4B11

Type : DOHC MIVEC 16-valve

Displacement : 1998

Max. output (EEC net) kW(PS)/rpm : 114 (155) / 6000

Max. torque (EEC net) N-m(kg-m)/rpm : 199 (20.3) / 4250


Fuel supply equipment : ECI-MULTI (Electronically controlled multi-point fuel injection)
Fuel tank capacity : 59 Lit


Type : INVECS-III CVTCVT with Sports Mode


Type : Rack-and-pinion with hydraulic power assist


Front : MacPherson strut, coil springs with stabilizer bar

Rear : Multi-link with stabilizer bar


Front : 16" ventilated discs

Rear : 16” discs


Front and rear : 215/45R


On-the-road Price With Insurance : 115,980.00

Insured Value 112,000.00

Effective Date: 08 August 2007

~motorTrader.com.my / mitsubishilancer.com.my~

P.S. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....
tunggu kau, tunggu ku mulih kaang

until then


HERMZZ said...

Best jua kerita ani. Sama basar but kerita ku. Kan membali aku tedapat sudah sedan. My next move, Estima!!!

pejaghazali said...

giller panjang..aaduh :D