a feather in the cap for this car

Phuti Mpyane

Phuti Mpyane

Humans don't generally enjoy sharing information about their purchases. If we find something great, and at a bargain price, we tend to get shifty, offering useless descriptions where it was bought, and perhaps even slip in a little white lie to make sure nobody we know can ruin our moment of glory as the exclusive owner of a hard-to-find possession.

I'm willing to bet that you will find this trait in owners of the new Mitsubishi Lancer, and with good reason. Having found a top notch sedan for under R200000 that does the job and offers crucial benefits such as ample rear leg room, a big boot, fantastic driving dynamics combined with comfort, class-matching safety, favourable exterior looks and importantly, and real saving on fuel.

The Mitsubishi Lancer must surely be the best kept secret. It is also spiced up by employing advanced technology such as digital displays of instant consumption, fuel range and service warning lamps, auto climate control, an MP3 playback entertainment system with remote steering wheel controls, commendable build quality that filters through to low noise vibration and harshness levels to the look and feel of the cabin's materials which are all part of the Lancer experience.

It's evident that this demo model is holding well with an odometer reading close on 10000km with not a single rattle.

This then is the feather in Mitsubishi's cap. It has turned over a new leaf and its cars can be relied upon without compromise. And drive well it certainly does.

Its 114 kW and 199 Nm MIVEC equipped 2,0-litre four-cylinder engine is a gem that delivers power smoothly and promptly and with the electronic valve control wizardry, the choice to play wild or mild is yours. All it does is match your groove, be it sporty driving or eating up distance leisurely.

Honestly, I can't find anything to criticise. All Lancers are covered by a 3-year-100000km warranty and 5-year-100000km service plan, which this demo model has barely used.

A brand new unit costs R185000, but Patrick Henson's team will sell you the car I drove for R165000. It's a highly tempting offer . This vehicle should also serve as a wake-up call for those who may still consider cars from the East as cheap, noisy alternatives.

Anyone looking at a "starter pack" must curse the wide choices we have. Back in the day it was either a Toyota Tazz or a VW Citi Golf.

Not so these days. The Tazz is long gone yet its old foe, the Citi, forges ahead in a sea dominated by a new-world order of catalytic converter-equipped super minis with brave performances for their clean, pocket-sized engines.

Many young workers still swear by the Citi though and, with that in mind, a dealer in VW Constantia in Roodepoort has plenty of stock for those with a nostalgia for ownership.

Forewarning, though. Insurance might just be a headache.