Mitsubishi's compact Lancer gained a hatchback version for the 2010 model year. Dubbed the Lancer Sportback, the hatchback is offered with a choice of three four-cylinder engines: two naturally aspirated and one turbocharged. Competitors include the Subaru Impreza and Mazda3. The Lancer sedan and high-performance Lancer Evolution are covered in separate reports in the Cars.com Research section.
New for 2011
A new base ES model comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which, like the Sportback's other engines, is borrowed from the Lancer sedan and Evolution. The ES uses electric power steering that helps boost fuel economy to 33 mpg highway. A USB port and voice-activated operation of phones, iPods and USB drives are standard on the GTS and Ralliart and optional on the ES.
Offered in ES, GTS and performance Ralliart trim levels, the Lancer Sportback retains the general design cues of the Lancer sedan in front, but it takes on a different look at the rear. The Sportback's liftgate is raked forward at an aggressive angle for a hatchback, and the overall look is a little ungainly from some angles. A rear spoiler near the roof finishes off the design. Exterior features include:
- Standard 16-inch wheels
- Available 18-inch wheels
- Available bi-xenon headlights
- Standard rear wing-style spoiler
Like the Lancer sedan, the Sportback has room for up to five people in two rows of seats. The big difference between the two cars is in their cargo areas. Though the Lancer sedan is available with an optional split-folding backseat to increase luggage space, the shape of the car limits what you can fit into the cargo area. With the Sportback, some of those restrictions aren't there because of its open cargo area, which has a maximum volume of 52.7 cubic feet. Interior features include:
- Available USB port and voice activation
- Available Rockford Fosgate audio system
- Available navigation system
- Available heated leather seats
Under the Hood
With the addition of the ES model, the Lancer Sportback offers a choice of three engines. The ES and GTS have front-wheel drive, and the Ralliart has all-wheel drive.
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine on ES makes 148 horsepower (143 hp in California) with either a standard five-speed manual or optional continuously variable automatic transmission
- GTS has a 168-hp (161 in California), 2.4-liter four-cylinder with either a five-speed manual or CVT
- Ralliart models get a 237-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 253 pounds-feet of torque and is matched to a six-speed, twin-clutch automated manual transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifters
Standard safety features include:
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for both rows
- Knee airbag for the driver
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
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