Mitsubishi's Lancer, offered in a wide variety of trims, is the company's bread-and-butter economy model. Over the past few years, Mitsubishi backed off from its jet-fighter grille, softening the lines and separating upper and lower intakes with a crossbar.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Only the SE, Ralliart, and Evo Lancers come standard with all-wheel drive, different versions of Mitsubishi's All Wheel Control system. The SE sports the least capable version of this system.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The SE gets an engine upgrade over the lesser-trim Lancers, going from 2 to 2.4 liters. This engine also uses Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve control system to boost efficiency, but it lacks direct injection.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The Lancer SE's suspension is tuned more for comfort than sport, although it does boast stabilizer bars front and rear.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The high trunk lid allows for good cargo space in the trunk.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The cabin of the Lancer SE relies on too much plastic, putting the car behind those from Mitsubishi competitors that have made considerable strides in economy car interiors.

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The rear-seat legroom is reasonable for an economy car.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The Lancer SE is one of the few economy cars still using hydraulic power-steering boost.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Simple tach and speed gauges bookend a color LCD on the instrument cluster.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

This rocker switch on the console lets drivers choose between front-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive auto, and four-wheel-drive lock, the last choice locking the center differential to maintain power at all wheels.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The center LCD shows a graphic of the current All Wheel Control mode.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Manual transmission fans are out of luck with the Lancer SE, as it can only be had with this continuously variable transmission.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The stereo uses a display from the previous millennium.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Instead of a 1/8-inch audio input jack, Mitsubishi fits the Lancer SE with these RCA jacks.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

A 10-inch subwoofer rides in the trunk when the Lancer SE comes equipped with the Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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