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A NOT-SO-EVO TWIN

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Sep 25, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

By Jeff Mathews The Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is a sporty, entry-level vehicle that is both fun to drive and packed full of high-tech options. Our test Lancer comes with an aggressive rear wing spoiler, fog lamps, side turn indicator lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Base cost (before options and charges) is $18,490.00. Standard safety equipment include airbags - lots of airbags: dual front airbags, side and side curtain front seat airbags, even a driver's side knee airbag. Also included are the basic power controls: power windows and doors, power mirrors, power sunroof, cruise, air-conditioning, anti-theft alarm system, and wiper controls. The car also included two Option Packages: Sun & Sound Package ($1500.00), and Navi & Tech Package ($2000.00). This brought the total cost of the car to $21,990.00. Add in the $625 destination charge and you get the $22,615.00 final price tag.

Seating is comfortable from the moment I sat down and started the engine. And starting the engine is my first experience with the high tech gadgets included with this car. As part of the Navi & Tech option Package, this car is equipped with a "fast key entry system." Meaning, as long as you have the key fob/transmitter with you (F.A.S.T. = Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter), you can enter the car merely by pulling twice on the door handle, which will then unlock and open the driver door. The same can be done at the passenger-side door. Once seated inside, you do not need a key to start the car - you simply turn an ignition switch located on side of steering column, and the car starts right up. Very cool. The instrument cluster is easy to read, and comes with an info switch located on the dashboard (push to display trip meter and odometer, outside temperature, average fuel consumption, and driving distance to empty, service reminder, drive mode indicator, automatic transmission position indicator, water temperature warning lamp and low fuel warning). Controls are generally easy to operate and located within convenient distance (no awkward arm positioning needed to reach any of them), including the three dial environmental controls, window/door lock switches, steering wheel mounted cruise and audio switches, wiper controls, and headlights.

The Lancer is a four-door, with plenty of room for driver and passengers. The rear seats come equipped with adjustable headrests and latch system for child seats, as well as split fold-down capability to increase the already-ample trunk space. Visibility from the interior is good, and I have no problems navigating the car around in my weekly commute and trips to the grocery stores. What really fascinates, however, is the audio system. This system includes both premium audio (part of the Sun & Sound option Package) as well as navigation (part of the Navi & Tech option Package), which translates to the following: · 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium sound system with 9-inch speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer · Sirius satellite radio (as well as standard AM/FM channels) · Six CD/MP3 in-dash player/recorder unit · 30GB HDD Navigation system · Bluetooth handfree cell phone system · Auxiliary audio input jacks · MMCS Harddrive

The entire unit, located top center of the dashboard (just above the A/C controls), is touch screen-operated. To access the CD/MP3 player, you press a button which folds down the audio screen faceplate, and insert the CDs in behind, then just snap the faceplate back into position. To access all the other controls, you use the touch screen and navigate thru the various menus. In fact, you can operate any of the audio and navigation controls, plus obtain readouts of key vehicle statistics (oil pressure/temp, trip settings, tire pressure monitoring, etc.), from this central station. To name but a few of the functions available: Navigation controls, CD/MP3 player, radio/Sirius player, sound quality functions, DVD player, system settings, and of course the MMCS Harddrive. What's an MCCS Harddrive, you ask? The system has a built-in hard drive, whereon you can record tracks from CDs and MP3s, for playback later. In fact, when I picked up the car for my weeklong test drive, there were already two complete CDs programmed into the system. The system provided the capability to sort recorded music by playlists (title, artist, etc.). When I was a kid, I had wondered whether cars would one day be built with cassette tape recorders. Well, that never happened, but nowadays apparently you can add optional CD recorders, which is even better.

Suffice to say, I absolutely love these features. The Navigation system is made even more convenient via the audio and touch screen controls. Mitsubishi certainly went a long way to provide lots of convenience with super features in its audio system. I wish I had any one of these units for my other car. An interesting feature available with this particular model is the magnesium-alloy paddle shifters. The Sportronic Paddle Shifters are an intriguing addition that provides a third means by which you can shift the gears. The car is an automatic, which is self-explanatory. But you can also switch gears using the standard shifter, by first pushing it to the left, then moving it up or down to switch gears. The third way, the aforementioned paddle shifters, was most fun of all - just toggle forward on the paddle on the right hand side to upshift gears, and toggle the paddle on the left side to downshift. This segues to the engine and performance of this Lancer.

The GTS comes equipped with a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder MIVEC engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The car is not a scorcher on the performance circuit by any means, and is probably about average in terms of acceleration and overall quickness. Nevertheless it is more than quick enough for the daily drive. In fact, I am able to coax the most acceleration out of the car by using the paddle shifters - especially when at highway speeds (such as when attempting to pass). For the $22K price tag, the car performs up to par, both in engine power (not too bad for such a small engine), as well as steering feel (turning, maneuvering), ride comfort (not too rough, not too soft), and braking (via 4-wheel disk brakes with ABS). The Lancer GTS is an all-around good, sporty car, with some notworthy high-tech attributes. For the final price tag, you get an excellent assortment of useful features in a safe and fun overall package. At just under $22K, a worthwhile buy. SUMMARY JUDGMENT A third fewer calories (and cost) than the decadent Evo, but it still has an evil flavor and look. For more information about Mitsubishi products, see mitsubishi-motors.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Price: Base $18,490.00; as tested $22,615.00 options include: Sun & Sound Package $1,500.00; Navi & Tech Package $2,000.00 Engine type: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve inline four, MIVEC Engine (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control system) Horsepower: 152 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque: 146 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm EPA-rated gas mileage (city/highway): 22/29 Drive configuration: Front engine / front-wheel drive Transmission type: Continuously Variable Transaxle, Electronic 6-speed automatic overdrive with paddle shifters Suspension: Rear multi-link with front & rear stabilizer bars Wheels and tires: 18-inch aluminum wheels, P215/45R18 All Season Performance Tires Brakes: 4-wheel discs with ABS Steering: Power rack/pinion hydraulic power steering Overall length/wheelbase: 182.8 inches/ 105 inches Overall width: 70 inches (excluding mirrors) Overall height: 59.6 inches Overall weight: 3102 lbs Warranty includes 5-years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10-year/100,000 miles powertrain; 7-year/100,000 miles anti-corrosion; 5-year/Unlimited miles Roadside Assistance.

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