Introduced for 2002, the Mitsubishi Lancer is a compact sedan offering standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Now in its second generation, the current Mitsubishi Lancer was introduced for the 2008 model year.
2008 to Present: Mitsubishi Lancer
Offering room for five, the Mitsubishi Lancer advances a design theme common to the segment with a long hood, a short rear deck and a host of trim levels that add unique interior and exterior features.
The Mitsubishi Lancer’s cabin has bucket seats up front and a split-folding bench seat in the rear, the latter offering access to the sedan’s 12.3-cubic foot trunk.
Upon its debut, the Lancer was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 152 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available.
Starting in 2009, the sporty Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart rolled out, providing a midpoint between the standard Lancer and the high-performance Lancer Evolution. Ralliart models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 237 horsepower. This model comes standard with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automated manual transmission.
Beginning in 2010, a hatchback (Sportback) body style was added to the Lancer line, but was discontinued after the 2014 model year.
Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer SE for 2012. It’s an all-wheel drive model powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower.
Starting with the 2016 model year, all-wheel drive and the more powerful 2.4-liter engine became available on the base model. Mitsubishi also refreshed the Lancer and updated the list of standard features to bring in fog lights, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and automatic climate control. Additionally, the automaker updated the center console and made Bluetooth and USB connectivity standard.
Lancer shoppers have a number of competing models to consider, beginning with the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Honda Civic. Other models in this segment include the Subaru Impreza, Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra and Mazda3.
Earlier Mitsubishi Lancer Models
The Mitsubishi Lancer was introduced for 2002, replacing the previous Mitsubishi Mirage. Upon its debut, the Lancer was sold as a sedan only.
Most first-generation Lancers are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Three trim levels were offered at launch, and these early Lancer models included amenities like air conditioning, power windows and locks and a CD player.
Mitsubishi also offered the wagonlike Lancer Sportback during the first-generation model run. The Sportback model is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. This same engine powers the Lancer Ralliart edition, which was introduced in 2004 and includes features like a sport suspension, alloy wheels and a performance-tuned exhaust.
The first-generation Lancer was offered through the 2006 model year. No 2007 Lancers were built, as a fully redesigned model was introduced for the 2008 model year.