I've just spent the weekend in a Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8 GS3 with continuously variable transmission. I wish I hadn't.

Lancer_03 The car's positive features - a large boot, low kerbweight and good chassis - do little to compensate for the horrendous drivetrain. The engine/gearbox pairing is the worst that I've found in any car I've tested.

When you fully depress the throttle - what might be erroneously termed the accelerator by those who haven't driven the car - the engine revs up and the gearing lowers, but the car does not surge forwards.

In fact, nearest you'll get to a push in the back is when you lift off and find that the gearbox shifts to as high a gear as possible, which combines with engine over-run to provide a momentary burst of acceleration.

The reward for all the snail's pace progress is the fuel economy... or should be. I averaged 32mpg on the M11, most of which is speed-restricted to 50 or 70mph. This dropped to 22mpg, after a 40-minute trip through London.

To put it in perspective, our long-term Mercedes C320 CDI has never dropped below 37mpg in 15,000 miles of very mixed driving conditions.

This is all a great shame, because the Lancer bears many of the hallmarks of a sensible, light, fun-to-drive saloon. It just isn't.