NEW FOR 2008:

– All-new model

Temporarily discontinued for 2007, the Mitsubishi Lancer returns for 2008. The new model is larger than the previous generation, and built on a new global platform that also underpins the new Outlander; in keeping with Mitsubishi’s relationship with Chrysler, it’s also the basic architecture for the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. It will also form the basis of the upcoming Evolution, the first time that high-performance model will be sold in Canada.

Available as the DE, ES and GTS, the Lancer uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine; it is a "World Engine", produced by a collaboration of Mitsubishi, Hyundai and DaimlerChrysler, but with a unique MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Electronic lift Control) variable valve timing system. All models use a five-speed manual transmission, or optional CVT, the first time for a continuously variable transmission on a Mitsubishi in North America; the CVT on the GTS also includes a manual shift mode with six pre-selected "shift points" and wheel-mounted magnesium paddles.

The new Lancer also includes seven airbags, including a Mitsubishi-first driver’s knee airbag; stiffer body, to the point that it’s stiffer than the previous-generation Evolution; new multi-link rear suspension; and more generous interior space for passenger comfort.

Features on the DE include 16-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, four-way manual driver’s adjustment, power windows, power mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, front stabilizer bar, CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, tilt wheel, and vehicle information display. Available options include power locks, air conditioning, floor mats and anti-lock brakes.

The ES adds 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, colour-keyed mirrors and door handles, front and rear stabilizer bar, rear heater floor ducts, heated seats with premium fabric, six-way manual driver’s adjustment, 60/40 split rear seat with centre armrest, front map lights, floor mats, cruise control, and pre-wiring for Bluetooth hands-free system.

The GTS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, air dam, spoiler, sport-tuned suspension, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped wheel, sport seats, six speakers and Bluetooth. An available Sun & Sound option package adds premium six-CD/MP3 Rockford Fosgate stereo and power sunroof.

The all-new Lancer is a considerable improvement over the previous generation: it’s gutsy and fun to drive, its CVT works very well, it’s comfortable even for rear-seat passengers, and it corners almost flat. The new interior also looks much better, with much-improved illumination; the previous model’s instrument cluster was so dim that it was difficult to see.

All models now come with seven airbags, although adding ABS to the base model requires an $1,800 package that also includes air conditioning, power locks and floor mats. Expect a Sportback model and the Evolution to be announced at a later date.

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