Works well as a family car, but not as well rounded as a Focus

What’s new?

This is the five-door Lancer hatchback, sampled with the smallest engine (108bhp from 1.5 litres) offered in what is quite a large car.

What’s it like?

Spacious, and not as laboured as you might expect, given the motor’s modest size. You’ll need more revs moving off, and to stretch it harder to achieve brisk progress, but this engine is up to the job. Mostly it stays quiet about its relatively hefty workload until you hit the usual four-cylinder, 4000rpm drone period, which is a bit too insistent on motorways. But on B-roads this base Lancer feels like the best-balanced model in the mainstream range, and makes quite an enjoyable drive as a result.

Should I buy one?

In its role as family wheels this entry Lancer works well. Some interior furnishings are below par (the hard-feel dash in particular) and it’s not as rounded as a Focus, but it’s keenly priced, decently equipped and just a little bit different.

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