The Mitsubishi Lancer is a four-door, five-passenger compact sedan. The Mitsubishi Lancer is a compact sedan with a lineage that can be traced back to such vehicles as the Dodge Colt, Chrysler Lancer and Mitsubishi Mirage. Originally introduced for the 2007 model year, the current 2nd-generation Lancer debuted in 2008. Top competing vehicle models within the compact sedan class include the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic and Mazda Mazda3.

Mitsubishi Lancer Styling

The Mitsubishi Lancer features a sporty, 4-door design that accommodates up to four passengers. Built around Mitsubishi's GS platform that is also used for the Mitsubishi Outlander, the vehicle's dimensions include a length of 180 inches, width of 69.3 inches and height of 58.7 inches. The 2nd-generation Lancer has also received bolder exterior upgrades that include a "shark-nose" front fascia. As of the 2009 model year, four trim levels are available – DE, ES, GTS and Ralliart. Each trim level features unique styling details.

Mitsubishi Lancer Performance

Both the base DE and mid-level ES trim levels feature a 2.0-liter [DOHC]] 4-cylinder engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 146 lb-ft. of torque. In California and California-emissions states, engine output is downgraded to 143 horsepower and 143 lb-ft. of torque to accommodate stricter emissions regulations and qualify the Lancer as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV). The GTS edition comes standard with an upgraded 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that provides 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque. The DE, ES and GTS all come equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission with the option to upgrade to an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

For the 2009 model year, the Lancer Ralliart features a 6-speed automatic transmission and 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that musters 237 horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque. Other notable performance upgrades include all-wheel drive and mechanical limited-slip rear differential.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

A high-performance version of the Lancer is available and known as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. This sport-tuned edition features numerous performance enhancements and is available in two trim levels – GSR and MR. Both models feature all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that boasts 295 horsepower. The GSR comes equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and the MR features a 6-speed automatic. The GSR also includes a performance-tuned suspension, high-performance brakes, front-limited slip differential, traction control and antiskid system. The MR builds on these features by adding rear limited-slip differential, leather/suede upholstery, keyless ignition and Xenon headlights.

Mitsubishi Lancer Features

The base Mitsubishi Lancer DE comes standard with power mirrors, power windows, auto-off headlights, rear defogger, tilt steering wheel, tachometer, cloth upholstery, theft-deterrent system and stereo system with CD player and MP3 capability. The ES adds convenience features such as air conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, floor mats, split folding rear seat and remote keyless entry. The GTS offers additional standard features, including leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto climate control and high-performance stereo system. The Ralliart is expected to include a 9-speaker stereo system, satellite radio, HID headlights, sunroof, Recaro seats and a 30GB hard drive navigation syste,. Available safety features for all models include front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag and antilock brakes.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 Lancer offers a wide range of trim levels. The entry-level DE and the ES/ES Sport are outfitted with a 2.0 liter, 152 horsepower 2.0 liter engine that also produces 146 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, these editions of the 2009 Lancer see fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. A continuously-variable automatic transmission option is also available. The Lancer GTS offers a 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine that provides 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque, along with either a 5-speed manual or a sport-oriented continuously-variable transmission. Fuel mileage for the former is rated at 21 miles per gallon in town and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The Ralliart turbocharges the 2.0 liter found in the base model in order to squeeze out a respectable 237 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. This version of the Lancer is matched with a twin-clutch sequential-shift automatic transmission that has 6 forward gears. Fuel economy is considerably lower than the other models, coming in at 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.

There is a special performance edition of the 2009 Lancer available called the Lancer Evolution X. Based on the same basic platform as the Lancer, this vehicle is itself offered in two trims, the GSR and the MR. Both combine a rally-inspired all-wheel drive system with a turbocharged, 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine that cranks out a neck-snapping 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The GSR shifts via a 5-speed manual, but the MR uses a 6-speed twin-clutch sequential unit similar to that found in the Ralliart. Fuel mileage for the MR is 17 miles per gallon in stop and go traffic and 22 miles per gallon during highway cruising, with the GSR seeing slightly lower mileage around town.