The 5-seat Lancer comes in a slew of variations for 2011, with two distinct body styles, a few engines and a couple of trim levels for each. At the heart of the base Lancer DE and also the ES in either sedan or Sportback styles is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which produces 148 hp and comes mated to a standard 5-speed manual transmission.
Farther up the Lancer food chain is the 2.4-liter inline-4, which delivers 168 hp and powers the GTS, in both sedan and Sportback trim. A 5-speed manual is standard there as well, though ES and GTS models can be ordered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). DE, ES and GTS Lancers are front-wheel drive.
Next is the Lancer Ralliart, also available in either body style. It derives its 242 hp and 258 lb-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. That power is put to all four wheels through either a 5-speed manual or Mitsubishi's advanced, rally-inspired Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST).
The Lancer DE comes with plenty of features, such as power windows, doors and mirrors, plus anti-lock brakes, passenger and driver airbags, a knee airbag and side-impact airbags. Some options on the DE are standard on the ES, such as air conditioning and keyless entry. The ES also has a 60/40 folding rear seat and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The GTS has the larger 2.4-liter engine and a lot of rally influence. Sportier styling means fog lights, rear spoiler, sport-tuned suspension and huge 18-inch wheels. The Sportback adds active stability control and all GTS models have unibody construction designed to absorb energy in case of an impact. The Sportback's designers kept functionality in mind as much as sportiness, and gave it a cargo floor that can be lowered three inches for more space and a rear door that extends all the way to the bumper for loading heavy or cumbersome gear.
The Ralliart gets an upgraded 140-watt sound system, with an optional 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate system. Other options include a navigation system and Recaro sport seats.