2009 Mitsubishi Lancer
After sitting out the 2007 model year, Mitsubishi's compact sedan, the Lancer, returned as a redesigned model for 2008 and now shares its platform with the company's Outlander crossover SUV. The Lancer competes against other small sedans like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda3, and it gains a high-performance Ralliart trim level for 2009.
The Lancer Ralliart bears some resemblance to the high-power Lancer Evolution and features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Mitsubishi's twin-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. Other changes to the 2009 Lancer include a more powerful four-cylinder engine for GTS trims.
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. The Ralliart version is more aggressive still with a gaping front grille and a subtle hood scoop.
Lancers have a four-wheel-independent suspension. The base DE comes with 16-inch steel wheels, while the ES has alloy wheels of the same diameter. GTS and Ralliart versions get 18-inch alloy rims.
The five-seat Lancer's cabin has a more upscale appearance than the previous generation and features an entirely new dashboard. 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 navigation system with a 30GB hard drive and Mitsubishi's FAST Key keyless-entry system. Air conditioning is optional for the base Lancer.
Under the Hood
DE and ES trim levels are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower (143 hp in California). This engine drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission. GTS models get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 168 hp. It can be had with either the manual transmission or a CVT that includes Sportronic, which lets the driver control the transmission's behavior.
Ralliart models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes an estimated 235 hp and 253 pounds-feet of torque. This model comes with all-wheel drive and features Mitsubishi's twin-clutch automated manual transmission.
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.
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