The most affordable car you can buy from Mitsubishi today is the humble but practical Mirage Hatchback. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with a fuel-efficient three-cylinder engine, ample cabin space, and a modest list of features.

The price starts at PHP 711,000 with the GLX M/T and ends with the Mirage GLX CVT that retails for PHP 772,000. Affordable yes, but it's already nearing the price range of subcompact sedans and even some B-segment crossovers like the Kia Stonic and Toyota Raize.

But did you know that back in the mid-90s, the Mitsubishi Lancer started at just PHP 385,000? Thanks to Car Brochure Collection PH, we take a trip down memory lane with the CK Lancer, more popularly known as the “Picha Pie” Lancer because the taillights look like a slice of pizza.

For readers of a certain age, the Lancer EL served as the base model of the 1996 Lancer and it's powered by a 1.3-liter SOHC carbureted 4G13 engine. It only made 80 PS with 105 Nm of torque and came with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Since it was the entry-level version, it only had 13-inch steelies with 165/80 series tires, unpainted bumpers, a fixed steering column, and manual door mirrors. Surprisingly, it did come with some niceties in the form of a digital clock, intermittent wipers, child protection door locks, front door pockets, and a digital odometer/trip meter.

Throwback: 1996 Mitsubishi Lancer started at less than PHP 390k image

For those who wanted more out of their Lancer, there was the mid-range GL that was available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Instead of a 1.3-liter engine, the GL had a 1.5-liter SOHC carbureted 4G15 engine. It made a decent 88 PS plus a modest 120 Nm of torque.

The GL came with more features compared to the EL such as 13-inch alloy wheels with 185/70 series tires, a tilt-adjust steering column, power steering, front and rear 3-point seatbelts, and even a tachometer. The manual variant sold for PHP 445,000 while the automatic version set you back PHP 475,000.

Serving as the top-of-the-line model was the Lander GLXi. It was also available with either a 4-speed automatic or a good ol' 5-speed manual transmission. However, this was the only model to be powered by a 1.6-liter fuel-injected four-cylinder called the 4G92. At the time of its release, it made an impressive 115 PS with 140 Nm of torque which is now the common output from today's small four-cylinder engines.

The GLXi came with the most features which are now pretty standard on most cars - from electronically-adjustable door mirrors, power door locks, power windows, a rear center armrest, a center glovebox (or console box), and 60:40 split rear seats with a pass-through feature for long items. Last but not least, the GLXi variants came with 14-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 185/65 series tires. If you wanted the manual version, it would have cost you PHP 510,000. As for the automatic variant, it sold for PHP 540,000 which was pretty steep in the mid-90s.

It's been more than 25 years ever since the 1996 Lancer came out. But looking back, the humble sedan catered to both fleet customers and those looking for a value-packed family car that came with all the bells and whistles.

Shout out again to Car Brochure Collection PH for taking us back to a 90s nostalgia trip with the Picha Pie Lancer.