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Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

Mitsubishi Lancer
The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS has a sportier look than most suburban runabouts, but lacks real sporting performance. The Mitsubishi models that use the Lancer body and platform cover a wide range of performance and cost. We found the Lancer Evolution X an incredible thrill ride and the Lancer Ralliart a fun sport driver. But now we're looking at the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, a semisporting version of the basic Lancer.

Mitsubishi offers the Lancer in a Sportback version, a slick hatchback, but our GTS was the sedan version.
With the CVT, the GTS gets an EPA-rated 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Strictly front-wheel drive, the electric power-steering unit is tuned for its suburban mission.

Unlike the more radical Lancer variations with their spoilers and hopped-up engines, the Lancer GTS is a decent compact car with enough room for four and decent economy. In general, younger people liked the color, "more mature" folks didn't. We spent a lot of time driving the Lancer around town, which accounts for the rather poor test mileage. Handling is also decent. The front suspension is by MacPherson struts and the rear by multi links, and it is sport-tuned. The information panel has almost too much information, with fuel economy, outside temperature, fuel level, water temperature, gear and odometer.

We also appreciated the heated seats. Those front seats offered good side support. The rear seats offer good leg and knee room. the rear seats fold 60/40 to increase trunk capacity. Pushbuttons on the seat backs release the seats.

As for music, the 710 watt Rockford-Forsgate audio system worked well. Overall, the" Lancer GTS" is a nice compact package with a knockout paint job (my feeling). I question whether the options (leather seats, sound system, sun roof, added goodies) are worth the extra cost.

There has always been a glaringly obvious gap in Mitsubishi's current Lancer lineup. It's the giant-slayer, David, the little car that humbles supercars. It's also the hottest of the rally-inspired all-wheel-drive turbocharged pocket rockets. The Evo's only real competition is the Subaru WRX STI and, let's be honest, the Evo has been the better car for years now (Subaru has just updated its warrior for 2011, so a new comparison is in order). In the middle of its arch rival's portfolio has long lived the WRX, Subaru's Goldie Loxian sportster, which is very fast, very nimble, but very well priced (it still starts at under $25,000). Mitsubishi had nothing until this year, when the Japanese industrial powerhouse brought over two new flavors of its hopped-up Lancer, the Ralliart and the Ralliart Sportback.

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