Car Review: Ever
heard of a "sleeper", a car that looks ordinary but drives really fast?
This is the opposite, the quick-looking Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, which
comes with the wild styling but makes do with the ordinary Lancer's 152
I've driven lots of
cars that make idiots want to race me. Usually I just ignore them and
drive like a grandma until they go away, taking off in their
sticker-covered cars with McDonnell Douglass spoilers and Folgers coffee
can exhaust tips. I think it's great that they want to race, just not on
a public street.
And I've never driven a
car that attracts more stupid, whiny-engined, street racers than this
It's the Lancer GTS, a
family car designed to look and feel sporty. It has a rock-hard
suspension, a huge rear wing and styling that makes it look kinda sorta
like the wicked-fast Mitsubishi Evolution X. Despite what the kids in
crooked hats think though, the Lancer GTS is no Evolution. It actually
feels like it's powered by an anemic hamster.
Other than the
drivetrain, everything about this car feels raw and abrasive, exactly
what a hardcore driving enthusiast wants. In many ways, it feels like it
belongs on a racetrack, mainly because of the raucous suspension that
makes even a mirror smooth road feel like it's filled with potholes.
Few street cars let you
sense the road surface as precisely as this one, which is great if you
want an engaging drive but no so cool if you want to be comfortable.
Other than a rough
suspension that's designed more for fun than comfort, the Mitsubishi
Lancer GTS has a rather comfortable interior. Roomy seats and a sculpted
back seat bench make the interior look more like a family car than a
In a strange
contradiction, though, this car that feels race-inspired in so many ways
has an engine that feels, in comparison, like a wind-up toy.
The GTS has the same
engine as all the other standard-issue Lancers, a 2.0-liter four-banger
that makes 152 horsepower. That's actually a reasonable amount of power
for a family car, but it seems out of place in a vehicle that feels
spectacularly sporty in other ways.
It doesn't help matters
that the engine is coupled to a continuously variable transmission, so
you don't get the same sensation of speed as you would with a manual
transmission or even, heaven forbid, a traditional automatic.
Of course, driving
isn't all about power. Even without a super powerful engine, the Lancer
GTS is fun to toss around, rewarding your skill as a driver rather than
your ability to step on the gas pedal.
It doesn't come with
traction control, it's not even available as an option, so you're always
free to play with the limits of tire adhesion without an electronic
schoolmarm stepping in to spoil your fun.
The Lancer GTS also
excels as a regular family car, assuming you can live with the rough
ride. It has comfortable front seats, a roomy back seat and lots of air
bags to keep you safe in a wreck.
The big question is
whether you'll want to buy one. If you want your car to look fast but
not necessarily be fast, then the Lancer GTS is a good buy for $18,490.
For that money, it's a nice looking, fun-to-drive, family car.
But if you want serious
performance, you'll have to look elsewhere. The Evolution X will likely
cost around $35,000, but more affordable speed machines are out there,
like the Chevy Cobalt SS in the low $20,000 range.
Does that mean there's
room in the Mitsubishi showroom for a higher performance Lancer that's
more affordable and less scary than the Evo?
I sure hope so.
What was tested?
The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS with a base price of $18,490. Options
included a Sun & Sound package for $1,500. Price as tested, including a
$625 destination charge: $20,615.
Why avoid it? It
doesn't have the power to back up its racer looks.
Why buy it? It's
a stylish, fast-looking family car with a super-firm, sporty feeling
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Mitsubishi Home Page
Byline: Car Review
provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: All the style without the speed
Topic: The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS
Word Count: 753
Photo Caption: The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS
Photo Credits: Mitsubishi Lancer Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 05
the Microsoft Word version here:
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer
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