Mitsubishi offers a broad array of cars in its Lancer lineup, all the way from a base model with front-wheel drive and a 2-liter engine up to the thrilling all-wheel-drive Evo X MR. The GTS is a mid- to low-level Lancer, sporting a 2.4-liter engine and front-wheel drive.
At 2.4 liters, this four-cylinder engine is pretty typical for suburban runabouts. The California version of the car, which qualifies as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, gets 161 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. Versions sold without California smog gear get 168 horsepower.
Sway bars help keep the Lancer GTS stable in the corners, and its suspension shows a tiny bit of what makes the Evo X such a great-handling rally car. But the GTS is much more conventional, with suspension tuning as a compromise between comfort and rigidity.
Mitsubishi does a good job with its multifunction steering wheel, putting audio controls on the left spoke and cruise control on the right. The phone buttons between the spokes are not well integrated.
Our GTS came with the optional continuously variable transmission, which contributed to smooth acceleration and good fuel economy. This transmission includes a manual mode, but we found the virtual gear changes sluggish.