First Drive: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback mitsubishi first drives
First Drive: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback mitsubishi first drives
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback GTS. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

Miami, Florida – Over the past couple of years, the growing popularity of compact five-door hatchbacks has outpaced compact sedans in Canada, so it’s no surprise that Mitsubishi has decided to offer a five-door hatchback version of its popular Lancer sedan: the new Sportback.

You may remember that Mitsubishi sold a Sportback version of its previous generation Lancer, but this vehicle was more of a small station wagon than a hatch. The new 2009 Lancer Sportback builds on the somewhat angular and aggressive design of the Lancer to produce a very stylish and sporty profile in five-door form. The Sportback is 15 millimetres longer and 25 mm taller than the sedan.

Two versions, the GTS Competition and Ralliart Competition, are built on the same platform as the sedan and share its mechanicals.

Starting at $23,498, the front-wheel drive, five-speed manual transmission Sportback GTS is powered by Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine. Horsepower is 168 at 6,000 r.p.m., and torque 167 lb.-ft. at 4,100 rpm; an optional ($1,300) continuously variable “automatic” transmission with “Sportronic” shifting which simulates a six-speed manual takes the price to $24,798. Fuel consumption is rated at 10.4/7.4 L/100 km, city/highway for the manual transmission, and 9.9/7.4, city/highway, for the CVT.

Like the Lancer GTS sedan, the Sportback GTS features 18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power windows/locks/heated mirrors, six-speaker audio, Sirius satellite radio (six-month renewable subscription), Bluetooth hands-free phone system, rear spoiler and seven airbags (front, side, curtain and knee).

First Drive: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback mitsubishi first drives
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback GTS. Click image to enlarge

An optional $2,700 “Sun and Sound” Leather package is available for the GTS Sportback that includes leather seating surfaces, a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate six-disc audio system with eight speakers plus 10-inch subwoofer, power sunroof and FAST-Key entry system.

The $33,498 Sportback Ralliart raises performance considerably. Horsepower and torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine are up to 237 at 6,000 rpm and 253 at 2,500-4,740 rpm respectively. The gearbox is Mitsubishi’s six-speed, twin-clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST), and the drivetrain features full-time all-wheel control (front and rear limited slip differentials, active centre differential, anti-lock braking and stability control) similar to that found in the extreme performance Lancer Evolution, but without that car’s active yaw control. Fuel consumption for the Sportback Ralliart is rated at 12.2/8.0 L/100 km, city/highway.

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