The 2009 Lancer is one year removed from an '08 update with a leaner, meaner front end and new sheet metal, all working together to give this 5-passenger sport compact sedan an aggressive, race-inspired look.
There are four models of the Lancer for '09: DE, ES, GTS, and Ralliart. The Lancer GTS that we drove slots in between the economy-oriented DE and ES models and the turbocharged Ralliart.
Our GTS test model came equipped with a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, 11.6-inch front and 11.9-inch rear disc brakes. The Ralliart model gets more performance gear with an even more aggressive look and power plant.
The base engine, standard on the DE and ES models is a 2-liter inline 4. It produces 152 horsepower and 146 pound feet of torque, while the GTS has a 2.4-liter inline 4 that puts out 168 horsepower and 167 pound feet of torque. Power on these models is sent to the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. The Ralliart model possesses a turbocharged 2-liter inline-4 that puts out 237 horsepower and 253 pound feet of torque. It sends power to road-gripping all wheel drive through a 6-speed twin clutch gearbox, operated via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Fuel economy for the Lancer ranges from 17 miles per gallon city, up to 30 miles per gallon highway.
All Lancer models sport updated interiors with a clean, right-to-the-point appearance. The three climate control knobs are simple and easy to manipulate while the available multifunction steering wheel has audio and cruise controls, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The available Navigation and Technology package includes a 7-inch touch screen, 30-gig navigation system, and CD/DVD capability.
The Lancer provides up to five occupants with a healthy selection of standard safety features including front crumple zone, driver and front passenger airbags, side curtain and side impact airbags, and driver knee airbags.
Base MSRP for the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer at the time of our test drive is $14,540. A fully loaded Ralliart model will top out at around $33,000. The Lancer is backed by an impressive 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
With the Lancer's good looks and the performance characteristics of the GTS and Ralliart models, the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer is a standout in the compact sedan field.