Avg. Price Paid:$6,770 - $8,970
Original MSRP: $13,990 - $18,590
MPG: 21 City / 29 Hwy
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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer was new.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer's performance gets mixed reviews. The Detroit News calls the Lancer superb, and notes it "turned crisply and rode well through the backcountry of happy Californian cows." But Motor Trend reports "there's a lot of show," but "not a whole lot of go."

Acceleration and Power

A single engine powers all Lancer models -- a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder putting out 152 horsepower. The engine, developed collaboratively with Hyundai and DaimlerChrysler, has several unusual features, such as chain-driven camshafts, and MIVEC variable-valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. When paired with a five-speed manual transmission, Motor Trend found "the 3109-lb car struggled to get up to cruising speeds, although it did better during rolling acceleration maneuvers." Edmunds writes "the Lancer GTS will get smoked by almost any 2-ton V6 crossover and even a few minivans. And the droning engine note sounds more janitorial than sporty."

Two transmission choices are available on the 2008 Lancer; a standard five-speed manual and an optional four-speed automatic transmission. Road and Track finds the stick shift "works well, aided by an easy-to-modulate light-effort clutch." The Lancer's four-speed automatic has a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which uses a belts and pully system to enable the engine to maintain one constant speed and transfer different amounts of power to the transmission to vary vehicle speed. While some like the Lancer's CVT, others are disappointed. Motor Trend says "In automatic mode, it does the usual CVT thing of seamlessly moving the engine up and down the powerband. And it's a hoot in manual mode, with the 'shifts' taking place the instant you pull a paddle. Just like an F1 video game." But Edmunds finds, "too little power always arrives too late." USA Today adds "upshifts are lengthy lunges instead of snappy gear changes. That's at odds with the precise control a driver wants using the manual mode."

According to the EPA, the 2008 Lancers rates at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on highways with the standard manual transmission. The optional automatic with CVT rates at 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

The handling dynamics of the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer win praise from most. Road and Track notes "the steering feel is excellent" on the hydraulic-power assist, rack-and-pinion system, and that the MacPherson-strut front/multilink rear arrangement with toe links "is a good blend of comfort and sport." The Detroit News says "its sports-tuned suspension limited the body and lateral movement to very little, even on corners we took too tight and too fast." And USA Today notes the "steering and brakes, two key controls that help give a car its personality, worked well in the GTS test car. Both felt firm enough to give you confidence you're controlling something instead of making a suggestion."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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