After sitting out the 2007 model year, Mitsubishi's compact sedan, the Lancer, returns as a redesigned model for 2008 and now shares its platform with the company's Outlander crossover SUV. Offered in DE, ES and range-topping GTS trim, Lancers hit dealerships in March 2007.
The year off was good for the Lancer, which has a much more aggressive appearance than its predecessor. A forward-leaning grille serves as a focal point for the front of the car. GTS styling differences include front and side ground effects, a rear spoiler and a different exhaust tip.
Lancers have a four-wheel-independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars; the GTS' sport suspension has larger-diameter stabilizer bars. The base DE comes with 16-inch steel wheels and wheel covers, while the ES has alloy wheels of the same diameter. GTS versions get 18-inch alloy rims.
The five-seat Lancer's redesigned cabin has a more upscale appearance than the previous one and features an entirely new dashboard. The front bucket seats and rear bench are covered in cloth, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat comes in ES and GTS trims. There is 11.6 cubic feet of trunk space. A CD stereo is standard, and the GTS can have an optional Navigation and Technology Package that includes a 7.5-inch screen, 30GB hard drive and Mitsubishi's FAST Key keyless-entry system.
Air conditioning does not come standard in the base Lancer.
Under the Hood
All Lancers are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower (143 hp in California). The engine drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission. GTS models with the CVT have Sportronic, which lets the driver control the transmission's behavior.
EPA-estimated gas mileage is 21/29 mpg (city/highway) for the manual transmission and 22/29 mpg for the CVT. These estimates have been determined using a new process that applies starting with 2008 models.
Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and a knee airbag for the driver. Antilock brakes are optional on the DE and standard on ES and GTS models.
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