The 5-seat Lancer comes in two distinct body styles, with a few engines options and a couple of trim levels for each. Lancer ES models are powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder, producing 148 hp and mated to a standard 5-speed manual or an available continuously variable transmission (CVT).
All-wheel drive is optional on ES, SE and SEL trims and upgrades to the 2.4L engine on the ES.
The base Lancer ES comes with plenty of features, such as power windows, doors and mirrors, a 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with speed-compensated volume and equalization control, remote keyless entry and anti-theft immobilizer, a 12-volt power outlet, anti-lock brakes, passenger and driver airbags, a knee airbag and side-impact airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and automatic climate control.
The SE adds heated mirrors, heated front seats, a proximity key entry system and smartphone integration.
The GT and SE come with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, which delivers 168 hp. The GT also gets 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system, stereo with a touchscreen interface and SiriusXM satellite radio as well as a power sunroof.
SEL trim includes 16-inch 2-tone alloy wheels, leather seating, rain-sensing wipers and a 6-inch touch-screen audio system.
Navigation is optional on all trims. The Popular Equipment package adds an alloy fuel door, trunk mat and scuff plates. An available LED Illumination package includes blue-colored interior illumination. The All-Weather package adds remote engine start, mudguards and all-weather floor mats.
The Mitsubishi Lancer has been around in various forms since 1973 and is all new for the 2008 model year. Past success in the high-profile world of international rallying generated strong sales of previous Lancers, and the new version's looks play on that heritage.
The massive rear wing, alloy wheels, and aggressive snout on the new Lancer will be familiar to fans of the World Rally Championship (or fans of a few video games) as cues from the Lancer Evolution series of all-wheel-drive, rally-inspired road cars. The Evo X version of this latest Lancer should be available soon, but in the meantime the more sedate Lancers DE, ES, and GTS lead the way into the market. We found the new Lancer's appearance generally pleasing (the vestigial rear wing notwithstanding) and, mostly thanks to the buff front intakes, it won't easily be mistaken for a mere econobox. The simple, classic, 10-spoke 18-inch alloys also looked the part on our GTS.
The Good The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is among the most tech-equipped cars available at its price, offering touch screen navigation, Bluetooth, and a 650-watt audio system with a 30GB hard drive.
The Bad Lots of guy-racer styling add-ons aren't backed up with much actual performance. Torque steer mars the otherwise entertaining front-drive handling.
The Bottom Line While the new Lancer GTS boasts amenities not seen on other cars in its class, a powerful engine isn't one of them. But if rally car looks, nice tech options, and a booming stereo are more your speed, this Mitsubishi is an excellent choice.
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