Because the car did not have the LCD that would come with the navigation unit, it did not offer a display of cell phone contacts, nor a rich iPod music library display. The monochrome radio display in our car showed just the most basic information.
But the Fuse system worked very well, accurately recognizing the names of contacts we asked it to call. With an iPod connected through the USB port, it let us request music by artist and album name, even recognizing difficult track titles. Unlike Ford's Sync, which works with a variety of MP3 players, Fuse only handles iPods.
The placement of the USB port was a bit inconvenient. We actually had to consult the car's manual to find it, as it is mounted in the top of the glovebox. We prefer USB ports mounted in the console, as they are easier for the driver to reach quickly, useful if you are constantly plugging and unplugging a device.
Other audio sources include satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming audio. For an auxiliary input, Mitsubishi makes red and white RCA jacks available in the console. For most portable devices, you will need an RCA-to-1/8th-inch adapter.
The Touring package brought a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system into our car. Boasting a 710-watt amp, this audio system seems like too much power for the little Lancer GTS. A 10-inch subwoofer in the trunk gives it big, thumping power. We wouldn't call it the most refined audio system in the world, but it far and away beats the typical six-speaker systems found standard in so many cars of this class.
Along with the usual treble and bass controls, Rockford Fosgate puts in some special sound processing. The Punch setting does what it sounds like it should, making music something you can feel as well as hear. Equalizer presets offer Rock, Pop, and Jazz, among others, while sound field settings add a bit of echo, an unusual effect for a car system.
The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS' Fuse voice command system elevates the level of its cabin tech, providing easy connectivity and control for cell phones and iPods. The available navigation system is also a nice option, considering the car's segment. And we got a kick out of the Rockford Fosgate audio system. The GTS' biggest drawback in the area of cabin tech is the lack of such driver assistance features as blind-spot detection.
As for performance tech, the GTS is a long way from its all-wheel-drive turbocharged siblings. Instead, it makes do with a pretty average engine. We give it credit for the CVT and its electric power-steering unit.
For design, we like the look of the GTS, as it cuts a unique figure compared with so many bland economy sedans. It is generally good ergonomically, too, with decent trunk space, but the USB port is a little troublesome. The electronics interface, especially with the available navigation unit, is rough-looking and could use some refinement.
|Model||2011 Mitsubishi Lancer|
|Power train||2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission|
|EPA fuel economy||23 mpg city/30 mpg highway|
|Observed fuel economy||23.5 mpg|
|Navigation||Hard-drive-based with traffic|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard|
|Disc player||MP3-compatible six-CD changer|
|MP3 player support||iPod integration|
|Other digital audio||Onboard hard drive, Bluetooth streaming, USB drive, satellite radio|
|Audio system||Rockford Fosgate nine-speaker, 710-watt audio system|
|Price as tested||$24,355|