Mitsubishi Lancer gets hearts pumping


 

 

The new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer version is cutting-edge, and built on the same platform that underpins vehicles as diverse as the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot.

 




You could argue the new crop of small cars is so good “prison sentence” and “frugal motoring” don’t have to feature in the same train of thought.





But after trading in your oversized sedan for something like a Lancer you’ll discover 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 Lancer’s looks probably reeled you in.





Mitsubishi says the front was inspired by “jet fighter air intakes.” That’s a little optimistic, but the compact Lancer does look a great deal fiercer than its competitors.





Inside, the Lancer rocks an exceedingly sporty dash. It’s simple, with clear controls and pleasant materials.





The 2008 Lancer offers a number of standard safety features and loads of interior space mated to a fuel-sipping engine.





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 five-speed manual, which links to a powerful 152-horsepower, 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine.





Standard on the DE trim are 16-inch steel wheels, power mirrors, power windows, tilt steering, 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, tire pressure monitoring system, dual front airbags, dual side airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag — something found on few cars costing five times the DE’s base price of $16,598.





Plump for the top-level $21,698 GTS, and you’ll be in a loaded car. It features 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 body-trim additions.





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 cool option package available for the GTS: the “Sun and Sound” package. It bundles a sunroof, advanced ignition key, 6CD/MP3 head unit, and 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system (including a 10-inch subwoofer.)





The previous Lancer was already dated when it arrived in Canada, but the new 2008 version is cutting-edge, and built on the same platform that underpins vehicles as diverse as the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot.





Between the DE and GTS 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, any guise of Lancer should get your heart pumping. A bonus is that even the base model is just as safe and sporty as the top-range GTS. Bravo Mitsubishi.















2008 Mitsubishi Lancer


  • Type: Compact 5-pass Sedan FWD


  • Price: $16,598 – $21,698



  • Engine: 2.0 L4 DOHC



  • HP: 152 @ 6,000 rpm



  • Torque: 146 @ 4,250 rpm




Highlights:




  • Looks edgy without being dated



  • Massive number of standard features



  • 18-inch wheels for GTS model