2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

Funny -- I always thought the Lancer Evolution was supposed to be a high-power, low-frills version of Mitsubishi's compact sedan. After spending a night with the Lancer GTS, however, I'm not entirely certain what Mitsubishi stripped out of its race-ready model. The GTS interior is still chock full of hard, black plastic panels (some of which, particularly those around the top of the dash, have some fit issues), and there's still a notable amount of road noise carried into the cabin.

On the plus side, the constant chop of the Evo's stiff suspension is nowhere to be felt, although that doesn't mean this compact is a complete bore to drive. The GTS is much softer than its rally racer sibling, but it still delivers direct steering and little body roll. A smaller steering wheel -- cribbed from the Evo, perhaps -- would help make this an absolute delight for spirited drivers on a tight budget.

I do commend Mitsubishi for making the Lancer a veritable Baskin Robbins of the compact car segment -- there seem to be at least 31 flavors available, ranging from the bare-bones DE, this dressed-up GTS, the "Evo Lite" Ralliart, and the vaulted Evolution itself.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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