New Orleans - Not to be confused with Dodge's K-car-based compact sedan from the '80s (remember the Lancer Shelby?), Mitsubishi's Lancer aims to cash in on some motorsports heritage of its own. That heritage--in the form of the Japanese-market Lancer's four titles in the World Rally Championship--is part of what Mitsubishi hopes will bring compact-car buyers to the triple-diamond brand. More likely, its young target market will recognize the car from appearances in Sony PlayStation racing simulation games.
The Lancer sedan replaces the Mirage in the Mitsubishi lineup. As prophesied by its name, the Mirage is fading from the automotive landscape, with the sedan disappearing for '02 and the coupe (which won't be replaced) following a year later.
Although the Lancer is not heralded as a descendant of the subcompact Mirage, the Mirage is the measuring stick for the Lancer's comparative superiority. It's larger inside and out and features a bigger four-cylinder engine--2.0 liters, up from 1.8--with an additional nine horsepower and fourteen pound-feet of torque, to 120 and 130, respectively. Because of increased weight, however, that power proves adequate but not revolutionary. The Galant's 2.4-liter engine is under consideration for the Lancer, which would certainly add fun to the drive.... Read full article