The new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer, with its more upright styling and memorable front end, is only slightly larger than the model it replaces, though it's considerably sportier and more refined and is built on a completely new platform.
All Lancers are powered by a 152-horsepower, 2.0L four-cylinder engine (though the engine only makes 143 horsepower in California-emission states), which can be mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT also features a Sportronic mode, which simulates six gears that can be selected using magnesium steering-wheel paddle shifters.
The base DE model is offered at an especially low price point but doesn't come with standard air conditioning. The middle ES model brings a more luxurious and refined package, with color-keyed door handles, chrome grille trim, and five-spoke alloy wheels. At the top of the range, the performance-oriented GTS brings a sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels and brakes, special front and rear air dams, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and a chrome tailpipe tip. Inside, the GTS brings many more convenience features, including a Bluetooth interface, upgraded audio, cruise control, automatic climate control, and rear-seat heater ducts.
The Sun and Sound Package, available on ES and GTS models, brings a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system, Sirius satellite radio, and a power glass sunroof. All Lancer models come prepped for the Sirius service. Available exclusively on the GTS is the Navigation and Technology Package, which brings a 30-gigabyte hard-drive navigation system and digital music server, plus the FAST keyless entry and ignition system, which allows the driver to enter and start the car with the key fob in a purse or pocket.
Front seat-mounted side air bags and side-curtain air bags, along with a driver's knee-protection air bag, are standard on all Lancer models. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) are included on ES and GTS models but optional on the DE.