Mitsubishi Lancer, a family car produced by Mitsubishi Motors since 1973. There are several different names used to refer to this vehicle since its introduction in different regions including Colt Lancer, Dodge/Plymouth Colt, Chrysler Valiant Lancer, Chrysler Lancer, Eagle Summit, Hindustan Lancer, Southeast Lioncel, Mitsubishi Carisma, and Mitsubishi Mirage. In Japan, it has been marketed under Galant Fortis and as Lancer Fortis in Taiwan with slightly different cosmetic changes than Galant Fortis. Over six million units of Lancer had been sold since 1973 to until 2008.
First Generation (1973-1979)
In February 1973, the first generation Lancer (A70) was introduced to fill up the gap between the Minica Kei car and the relatively larger Galant. The 1600 GSR was the high end sporting version of the Lancer that won the Safari Rally twice and the Southern Cross Rally four times.
It was offered in three body styles, i.e. 2- and 4-door sedans and a long-running 5-door station wagon. The three engines were offered including 1.2-L, 1.4-L and 1.6-L fours.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste was also launched in February 1975 as a successor to Galant FTO.
Second Generation (1979-1988)
The second generation Lancer EX was introduced in Japan in 1979. It was initially available with only two engines including: a 1.4-L MCA-JET mated to Mitsubishi’s Silent Shaft Technology developing 80 hp (60 kW) and a 1.6-L engine developing 85 hp (63 kW) and 100 hp (75 kW). Compared to the carburetor system, the MCA-JET system was a completely new concept where MCA stands for Mitsubishi Clean Air. Like MCA-JET, the Silent Shaft Technology was another new phenomenon that reduced the engine noise and vibration by a great deal.
In 1980, Mitsubishi introduced a new 1.8-L Sirius 80 engine in the lineup developing 70 ho (52 kW) followed by 1.2-L in 1981. In 1980, a turbocharged engine was also released along with the intercooler system for the existing turbocharged engine.
The Lancer EX was launched in 1980 called the 1800 GSR and GT Turbo powered by a 1.8-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Initially, it was offered with non-intercooled, turbocharged, but later in 1983, intercooler was released.
Third Generation (1982-1983)
The third generation model was launched in January 1982 as a special version named the Lancer Fiore. It was also referred to as third version of Lancer shared its platform with the A15# series Mitsubishi Colt/Mirage. In international market, the Fiore was often marketed as Lancer and as Mirage Saloon in Japan. It was sold as Mitsubishi Colt Sedan in Australia.
It was offered as 1244 cc and 1410 cc iterations of the Orion in domestic market with 72 hp and 82 hp respectively. In September 1982, a 105 hp (77 kW) 1400 GT Turbo was introduced in the lineup. The production of third generation was ceased in October 1983 in Japan, while it remained in production until 1990 in Australia.
Fourth Generation (1983-1988)
The fourth generation Lancer was introduced in 1983 as C10 series. However, it didn’t bring too many changes to the Mirage Saloon and Lancer Fiore. In new model, the company offered the latest computer control engine technology such as electronic fuel injection for high end 1.6-L turbocharged engine. A 1.8-L Sirius diesel engine and new 1.5-L MD (Modulated Displacement) engine were introduced later.
The Lancer Wagon/Cargo was launched in 1985 with a view to diversify the Lancer range. It was also sold as Mirage Wagon/Van. The all-wheel drive version was added to lineup in 1986 powered by 1.8-L engine. It remained in production during the fifth generation as well because fifth generation had no wagon version in lineup.
Fifth Generation (1988-1991)
The fifth generation Lancer was introduced in 1988 similar in looks to Galant. A new 5-door liftback was brought to lineup. Sedans were sold in Japan either under the nameplate of Lancer or the Mirage, while the hatchbacks were marketed only as Mirage and liftbacks were sold as Lancers. The 1978 Mirage/Lancer Fiore was continued to be produced in Australia until 1990, all the new models introduced marketed under the nameplate of Mitsubishi Lancer. 4- and 5-door versions were all sold as Lancers in Europe.
The Japanese market also received 4-wheel drive versions equipped with different engine options, such as a carbureted 1.5-L, fuel-injected 1.6-L 16-valve and a 1.8 diesel. Also, a GSR with fuel-injected 1.6-L turbocharged engine was also offered.
Sixth Generation (1991-1995)
The sixth generation Lancer was introduced in 1991. However, the sixth generation brought with it many changes in both Mirage and Lancer. Despite the fact that both were shared the same platform, the Lancer sedan now had different sheet metal than the 4-door Mirage. The Lancer wagon, called the Libero in Japanese market were introduced in1993.
Later, an electric version, called the Libero EV was unleashed and powered by NiCd batteries. In September 1993, the new most modern Lancer Evolution commonly known as Lancer Evo was derived from the top of the line turbocharged GSR version based on the drivetrain similar to Galant VR-4 rally version.
The sixth generation Lancer was sold under the name Proton Wira, a 4-door sedan in Malaysia, while Lancer Coupe was available as Putra.
Seventh Generation (1995-2000)
The seventh generation Lancer was introduced in 1995. The company continued to produce all the Lancer models under renewed approach. For instance, sedan and wagon models were continued. The Mirage Asti coupe in Japan remained in production while it was sold as Lancer Coupe in international market. Similarly, the GSR turbocharged version continued to be produced till 1990s.
The Mitsubishi Carisma remained in production from 1996 to 2004 in Europe, eventually took over Mitsubishi Lancer in several markets.
Eight Generation (2000-2007)
The eight generation Lancer model was introduced in 2000 as Lancer Cedia. The name Cedia implied ‘Century Diamond’. It was offered as sedan and wagon. During this generation, the Mirage became separated from Lancer and evolved as a separate new car. In Europe, the Evo VII was marketed under Carisma name tag. The Lancer Cedia debuted in North America in 2002 and replaced the Mirage.
In July 2002, the eighth generation Lancer was launched as CG series in Australia powered by 2.0-L 4G94 engine.
Ninth Generation (2007-Present)
The ninth generation Lancer was released at Detroit Motor Show in January 2007 and offered for sale in March 2007 as 2008 model in North American market. It is offered with Mitsubishi’s next-generation RISE safety body. The ninth generation Lancer was sold as Galant Fortis in Japan. Currently, Mitsubishi Lancer is in its ninth generation.