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.

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The general body style of the Lancer is very sporty, but the GTS version cuts into the big grille seen on higher trim models with a wide bumper fascia.

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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.

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Cabin space is reasonable inside the Lancer, seating four in comfort, and five with a little squeeze in the rear seat.

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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.

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The trunk is a little bit short in the Lancer.

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The cabin is a little bit plasticky, and doesn't show the upscale materials seen in rival cars.

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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.

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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.

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We like the look of the color display between the tach and speedometer, which is used to show fuel level and engine temperature.

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Mitsubishi includes RCA jacks for its auxiliary audio input, meaning you will need an RCA-to-1/8th-inch adapter for most MP3 players.

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Without the navigation option, all music information is shown on the radio display, which is not quite up to the task of showing music libraries.

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The phone system is part of Mitsubishi's new Fuse technology, which lets you use voice commands to place calls and select music from an iPod.

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The Touring package includes a Rockford Fosgate audio system, with this 10-inch sub and a 710-watt amp for big bass.

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