• (4.6) 34 reviews
  • Available Prices: $1,429–$10,661
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 25
  • Engine: 152-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 2-speed CVT w/OD
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer

Our Take on the Latest Model 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer

What We Don't Like

  • ABS is optional
  • 60/40-split folding rear seat not standard
  • Air conditioning not standard

Notable Features

  • Redesigned for 2008
  • 152-hp four-cylinder engine
  • Five-speed manual or CVT
  • Optional navigation system with 30GB hard drive

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Mitsubishi is one of those under-the-radar car companies that a lot of shoppers don't include in their research. That's too bad, because it's on a streak of offering distinctive-looking vehicles that offer value in addition to style.

For 2008, the Lancer compact sedan gets a complete redesign. The move is a vital part of Mitsubishi's current lineup renaissance, one needed after years of products that, while good, never bested the competition. The Lancer is one of the most important models in the company's lineup, and after testing the top-of-the-line GTS, I can attest to the fact that it is a successful and stunning update.

Styling
Some people suggest that a car's performance is the most important part of any review, but that's not the case with the new Lancer. This is one sharp-looking sedan. Rarely do I test a sub-$20,000 car that gets stares, but the Lancer GTS, with its 18-inch alloy wheels and super-sized spoiler, had plenty of heads turning in its direction.

The most daring design element is the front end, with its frowning grille and sharp headlights tucked underneath an angled hood. There are so many stylish lines on the new Lancer I was surprised by something new each time I showed it to someone. During a video shoot, I noticed that there are actually two distinct lines running down the rear flank of the car, not just one.

Around back, the taillights slant inward, toward the license plate, but also protrude out from the car's body — not flush like most vehicles — just at the top of the taillight. The bottoms are flush with another style line sliding underneath. That's a lot of detail for a company's entry-level vehicle.

Interior
As stylish as the outside is, the inside carries over more of the company's trends from other vehicles, like the Outlander compact SUV. It's a stark existence; black is the only interior color choice. The good thing about black, though, is that it hides a lot of flaws.

Not that the interior is terribly flawed; there are some cheap elements, like the grab handles on the doors and the trip computer button beside the gauges, but it certainly holds its own against the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus in the compact class. Only the Honda Civic and perhaps the Mazda3 upstage it on the inside.

The Lancer's gauges are quite sporty, as are the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. These are the key areas that drivers are always connected to, and doing a good job with them is vital. Ergonomically, the Lancer does just fine, with short stubby stalks on either side of the wheel for the turn signals and windshield wipers, three easy-to-grasp knobs for the environmental controls and a straightforward stereo interface. There are plenty of areas around the center part of the dash to store cell phones, drinks and MP3 players, as well.

The front seats are comfortable and keep occupants firmly in place. They're covered in a microfiber material that should be easy to keep clean, though they could be static electricity magnets in the winter. While the front seats are adequate, the backseat really shines with its legroom. At 5 feet, 10 inches, I sat behind a driver's seat adjusted for my height and had several inches of knee and foot room.

I chauffeured my in-laws to the airport in the Lancer, and my wife and mother-in-law thought the backseat was plenty roomy, though my mother-in-law noted the seatback reclined a bit too much for her taste. Like most rear seats, they cannot be adjusted.

The seats also fold down with the press of a button near the headrests. The resulting cargo floor isn't level with the trunk floor, and I can't think of much I'd need to fit in such a space beyond a set of skis. Otherwise, for cargo hauling you're probably better off just leaving the seats up and placing cargo on the rear floor and seat cushions.

Performance
The 152-hp four-cylinder engine produces plenty of power to move the Lancer at highway speeds, even when fully loaded with four adults and luggage. My only reoccurring thought was that no matter how competent the Lancer was in the performance department, it just wasn't as sporty as it looked. I can hear the engineers blaming the designers right about now.

The Lancer comes in base DE, mid-level ES and top-level GTS trims. In the GTS, the suspension gets some sportier tuning, there's a stabilizer strut fitted in the engine bay, and the larger wheels and performance tires help with grip. The handling was exceptional, but the five-speed manual still shifted like this was an everyday commuter. It did its job extremely well, just not with any high-performance skill or short shift motions. The engine revved energetically in low gears, but because power comes at such an even pace, it lacks the thrill one experiences from either high-revving or low-grunting power plants.

Still, the Lancer outshines most of the competition in its class. The more-powerful Mazda3 S is the only model that has more performance for the price. Otherwise, you'd have to move up to more-expensive performance-oriented models like the Honda Civic Si to best it in terms of compact sedans.

Braking was another area that was particularly noteworthy. Some competitors, like the Civic, have grabby brakes that offer grip the instant you touch the brake pedal, resulting in unnecessary lurching from time to time. Others have a mushier feel, with braking only coming after the pedal has been significantly depressed. The Lancer has an interesting approach: There's a small threshold when you first tap the brake pedal, with no significant grip until that threshold is passed. Then braking comes on at an appropriate, linear pace. This may sound like a small thing, but in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it's a lifesaver for your passengers — and your neck.

While the ride was relatively smooth, there was a significant amount of road noise intruding on the cabin. It was so loud on certain surfaces that it actually impeded a conversation with a passenger. Solo drivers might find solace in the stereo.

Gas mileage is average, rated at 21/29 mpg city/highway with the five-speed manual and 22/29 city/highway for the continuously variable automatic transmission. These are 2008 estimates, which are lower than what we've been used to through the 2007 model year, thanks to new EPA testing guidelines. Under the old guidelines, both transmissions would be rated at 25/31 mpg city/highway. Again, those numbers are about average, but significantly less than segment frontrunners like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and just slightly worse than the Mazda3 S.

The Lancer got around 24 mpg in mixed highway and suburban driving and well under 20 mpg in city driving.

Features
To come in at under $14,000, the base Lancer DE forgoes some important equipment like air conditioning and antilock brakes; both are part of a $1,100 option package. The DE does come with power windows, an auto-theft engine immobilizer and a knee airbag.

The ES is the next level, starting at $15,990 with a manual transmission and adding A/C, 16-inch alloy wheels, split-folding rear seats, remote entry and ABS.

At $17,490, the GTS is the top trim. It adds a sportier suspension setup and huge, 18-inch alloy wheels. The disc brakes are also larger on the GTS, and there's a body kit and rear spoiler to add to the sports car look.

My tester had the optional Sun & Sound package, which added a sunroof and a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate six-CD sound system with a subwoofer for $1,500. It's not an insignificant price, but the stereo isn't one of those "I could build a better one myself for the money" affairs. I tested a number of CDs on it, and the bass from the sub perfectly matched whatever I was listening to. It never distorted the sound, even during bass-heavy hip-hop selections. Rock fans will be just as happy, as the mid-ranges hold their own with the bass. Clarity was also superb. It will bring the price right up to $20,000, but it's an option that's hard to pass up if you're already thinking about the GTS.

There's also a $2,000 Navigation & Technology package that includes a 30GB hard drive navigation system that can also play digital music. The price tag is an additional $2,000. Leather seating surfaces aren't offered on any trim level.

Safety
The Lancer comes with seven airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and a knee airbag for the driver — a relative rarity in this segment. ABS is optional on the DE base trim and standard on the ES and GTS.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet crash tested the new Lancer.

Lancer in the Market
In an ultra-competitive segment, the new Lancer has a few things going for it, not the least of which is its looks. Because many shoppers in the compact segment are younger, first-time buyers, Mitsubishi's stylish design could pay off with trendsetters in the under-30 set.

The fact that there is still a significant amount of value in the Lancer to go along with its sporty driving dynamic doesn't hurt, either. Its main fault is that it doesn't drive as aggressively as it looks, but nothing in this class does. After a week in the Lancer, I felt like I had been driving it for a year, and it had enough sporty attitude for most drivers out there. And I didn't mind all the attention I got in it, either.

Send David an email 


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Consumer Reviews

(4.6)

Average based on 34 reviews

Write a Review

most comfortable Car I have ever own it

by Brwa88 from Slaimanyiah Iraq on August 6, 2017

i feels like I have everything right now, it is my 6th car but none of them gave me that feeling before. I think I am much much stronger than before actually I Know that I am.

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3 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Mitsubishi Lancer Articles

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Lancer DE

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Lancer DE

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Lancer DE

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Lancer DE

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Front Seat
Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 3 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

60mo/60,000mi

Powertrain

120mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/unlimited

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years