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A compact jet fighter

<p>Small cars are cool again! But after trading in your oversized sedan for something like a Lancer GTS it will net you a surprise: Small cars are just as big as mid-sized cars used to be.</p>

Latest Lancer is Mitsubishi’s ace



The old Lancer was a bit dated when it arrived in Canada, but the new one is cutting-edge and built on the same platform that underpins vehicles as diverse as the Lancer, Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot.





Small cars are cool again! But after trading in your oversized sedan for something like a Lancer GTS it will net you a surprise: Small cars are just as big as mid-sized cars used to be.





It’s a good thing, too — the combination of a number of standard safety features and loads of interior space mated to a fuel-sipping engine is great for commuting.





But that’s not why you’re reading this. The 2008 Lancer’s looks reeled you in, right?





Mitsubishi says the frontal look was inspired by “jet fighter air intakes.”





That’s a trifle exaggerated, but the compact Lancer does look a great deal meaner than, say, a Civic, Sentra, Corolla, City Golf, Elantra or Impreza.





Inside, the Lancer rocks an exceedingly sporty dash. It’s simple, with clear controls and pleasant materials — and the switch to amber red interior lighting is most welcome.





If you add $1,100 for the Sportronic CVT transmission, the shifter gets a nice silver-finished gate. The Sportronic adds six selectable ratios, allowing you to feel more involved in driving, and while in heavy traffic, just leave it in auto. Standard transmission is a 5-speed manual, which links to a powerful 2.0-litre, 152- horsepower, 4-cylinder engine.





All Lancers get that motor, so you’re paying a few thousand extra for the standard features offered in the GTS.





Inside, the Lancer rocks an exceedingly sporty dash. It's simple, with clear controls and pleasant materials — and the switch to amber red interior lighting is most welcome.





Standard on the GTS are leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone integration, steering-wheel cruise and audio controls, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension and subtle bodykit.





That’s over and above things like heated front seats, dual-stage front airbags, side curtain airbags, side thorax airbags and driver’s side knee airbag.





More safety gear stuffed into the Lancer includes anti-lock brakes, active front seat structure to reduce whiplash injuries and a tire pressure monitoring system.





Actually, it’s probably a good idea to click onto Mitsubishi Canada’s website (www.mitsubishi-motors.ca) because the number of standard features on the Lancer is staggering.





But there is one optional package available for the GTS: The “Sun and Sound” package. It bundles a sunroof, advanced ignition key, six-CD/MP3 head unit, and 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system (including a 10-inch subwoofer.)





The old Lancer was a bit dated when it arrived in Canada, but the new one is cutting-edge and built on the same platform that underpins vehicles as diverse as the Lancer, Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot.





The base-model Lancer DE gets the jet-inspired air intakes and a good number of standard features for $16,598. Between the DE and GTS trim levels sits the Lancer ES, for $19,698.





And sometime next year, Canada will most likely get the Lancer Ralliart, a performance-oriented front-wheel drive car, just below an all-new all-wheel-drive Lancer Evolution.





That said, the GTS is probably the best balance of sport and practicality.















2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS


Type: compact 5-passenger sedan FWD

Price: $21,698

Engine: 2.0-litre i4 DOHC

Horsepower: 152 @ 6000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 146 @ 4250 rpm

Highlights: Looks edgy without being dated, massive number of standard features, zippy engine, 18-inch wheels.


 
 
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