The Lancer has come a long way since its beginnings as a unimpressive compact with bland styling and dull driving demeanor. Now It offers something for everyone. In its base configuration, it markets itself to the inexpensive entry level sedan or hatchback market and in different trims it can be a screamer. Since its redesign, the Lancer has improved its handling, styling, and power (on the top engines) One area the Lancer does not impress is in fuel economy. While the top end Ralliart model will never be selected for efficiency, it’s unfortunate that the lower end models couldn’t squeeze more mileage out of their small, unrefined engines.

The base engine is a 2.0 liter four cylinder, making 152HP and only 143 HP in CA. The GTS package ups the ante to a 2.4 liter four cylinder making 168 HP. Both models come standard with a 5 speed automatic with optional continuously variable transmission, or CVT. The CVT is not particularly well executed in the Lancers however, and fuel economy is 24 and 23 combined for the 2.0 and the 2.4 liter respectively.

Bodystyles: Sedan, hatchback
Engines: 2.0L I-4, 2.4L I-4, 2.0L turbocharged I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed twin-clutch automated manual, 5-speed manual, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: DE, ES, GTS, Ralliart, Sportback GTS, Sportback Ralliart, Evolution GSR, Evolution MR, Evolution MR Touring

Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes with EBD are now standard on all Lancer models. Moreover, every Lancer for 2010 receives revised taillamps with black extensions, an eight-inch pole antenna, and new side air dams. The new Evolution MR Touring ups the premium quotient with a power sunroof, rear lip spoiler, automatic on/off headlamps, insulated front windshield glass, improved sound insulation, and leather-trimmed upholstery with heated front seats.

Lancer wears some of the boldest design in the compact class. From the trademark trapezoidal grille, angular headlamps, and slit-like taillamps, the Lancer stands out. The Evo adds boxed fenders, hood vents, and an available rear wing.

Inside, Lancer sports a driver-focused cockpit with adequate room for five. Premium features include power windows and door locks, tilt-adjustable steering column, and keyless entry. Available accessories include Bluetooth, leather trim, navigation, 710-watt audio, and power sunroof.

The Lancer lineup offers a wide performance envelope, from the base DE with a 2.0-liter, 152-horsepower I-4 and five-speed manual to the flagship Evolution MR Touring, which challenges sports cars with a 2.0-liter, 291-horse turbocharged I-4, six-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive with active yaw control, and Brembo brakes. The GTS and Ralliart, both available in sedan and hatch styles, fill the middle nicely with 168 and 237 horsepower, respectively.

All Lancers tout front, front side, curtain, and driver knee airbags, as well as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (high-threshold Sports ABS on Evolution), and a tire pressure monitoring system.

DE, ES: 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway (manual); 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway (CVT)
GTS: 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual); 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway (CVT)
Sportback GTS: 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway (manual); 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway (CVT)
Ralliart, Sportback Ralliart: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Evolution GSR: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Evolution MR, MR Touring: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway

  • Chiseled exterior
  • Evo, Ralliart acceleration
  • Evo handling
  • GTS bang for the buck
  • Buzzy engines
  • Lots of hard plastic
  • Average fuel economy

A small car for any enthusiast


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