Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

The estate is available with two engines: the bulk of the range is powered by a 1.6 mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Performance from the 96bhp engine is nothing exciting with the estate being almost a second slower to 60mph than the saloon version at 12.6 seconds. Top speed is 113mph. Unique to the Estate is a 2.0 litre sport model with 133bhp and a 0 to 60mph time of 10 seconds.

This is offered with a manual gearbox only, and is the one to pick if you plan on doing any towing. No diesel option is offered.

Whilst the Evo version may put in an impressive display of tenacious grip and handling under the most extreme of conditions, none of this ability is detectable on the basic Lancer, even the Sport version. It's front-wheel-drive, rather than the all-wheel-drive EVO and although it is predictable in the way it behaves, its limits are low and it rolls quite a bit making cornering at speed an untidy business.

Steering is very light too which detracts from its feeling of composure. However this is not intended as a high speed conveyance and undemanding drivers will find it easy to drive.