Across its forty years in New Zealand, Mitsubishi has earned itself a sound name for building safe, well-specified cars.
In its 2012 models, just becoming available, the Porirua-based three-diamonds importer is ramping up this facet of its reputation still further with new features that quietly, unobtrusively get on with the job of making driving even safer.
Take the bread-and-butter Lancer range.
For starters, there’s the new electronic SmartBrake system. If you hadn’t heard of it till now, well, neither had we, but it’s on every 2012 Lancer. You might never need it, says Mitsubishi, but it’s there just in case. Stamp on your brakes in an emergency and there’s a chance that, panic-stricken, you might plant your foot on the accelerator too. SmartBrake spots the error and stops you safely.
Then, every 2012-model Lancer makes safe cellphone use easy via the Bluetooth hands-free system (USB connectivity too, so you can plug in your mp3 player or a music-loaded usb stick). There’s the extra control of electric-assist power steering, neat soft-touch surfacing on the front doors, and economy-wise there are serious fuel savings on the 2-litre Lancers, their MIVEC engines now burning 10-13 percent less.
While the engineers have beavered away on improvements like these, they’ve also found time to reinvent one of Mitsubishi’s most popular cars ever. Ask around and someone in the family will remember their all-time favourite Lancer, the luxury SEi, for its ultimate comfort, its smooooth ride.
Well, after a long time away it’s back for 2012, as both sedan and hatch. Mitsubishi say it’s better value (and better-looking) than ever, with leather seats (front ones powered and heated), side skirts and 16” low-noise soft-ride alloys. Like other top line 2012 Mitsubishi models it has a rear view camera that sends a bumper-height image to the rear-view mirror when you select reverse, to help you spot wayward toddlers or puppies.
Mitsubishi’s head of sales and marketing strategy, Daniel Cook, says: “Last time the Lancer SEi was here it quickly acquired hero status. We’re convinced it will do so again!”
• SmartBrake and Bluetooth aren’t only in Lancer. You’ll also find them in all 2012-model ASX, Outlander, Challenger, Pajero and Triton.
• Alongside Lancer SEi, another long-awaited Mitsubishi is the 2WD cousin of the popular Triton 4WD GLS Sport auto: same high power 133kW engine with 3-tonne braked towing, same high spec equipment, such as sport seats, privacy glass, electric rear window, cruise control and Bluetooth.
• The Lancer SEi is available at Mitsubishi Dealerships across the country at a special launch price of $29,990 + ORC