2008 Mitsubishi Lancer: Made Even Better

By: Evander Klum

The debut of 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan was right on timing. The Mitsubishi Lancer is exactly what shoppers are looking for-smaller, more fuel efficient, with improved ride and handling capabilities plus a pleasing perky, new four-cylinder engine.

The new 2008 Mitsubishi sedan also offer a technology that includes an optional 30 gigabyte hard drive in the dashboard, and seven air bags as compared to other small cars that only have six. Aside from the usual frontal bags, head curtain bags, and seat mounted side air bags, the new Mitsubishi Lancer has installed an additional knee air bag help in keeping the driver properly positioned especially in cases of frontal crash.

The starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, inclusive of destination charge is $14,615 for the Lancer DE with 152 horsepower, four-cylinder engine, manual transmission, but with air-conditioning. The lancer with air-condition and a continuously variable transmission is price at $16,515.

The competitors of Mitsubishi Lancer in the small sedan segment include the 2007 Honda Civic sedan with a tag price of $15,605 comes with a manual transmission and without air-conditioning; and the 2007 Mazda3 which cost $14,490 with manual transmission and no air-conditioning. The new Lancer unlike its competition offer more horsepower than the 140 horses in the Civic stable and the 148 horses in the Mazda3 sedan base.

Lancer also comes with a more generous warranty as compared to the rest of its competitors in the small car segment. Mitsubishi offer five years/600,000-mile limited, bumper-to-bumper coverage and 10 years/100,000-mile limited powertrain coverage.

Unfortunately despite the power, features, and the affordability of the Lancer sedan still it is a slow seller. Just imagine in the last two calendar years of the Mitsubishi Lancer it was only been able to sell lesser than 28,000 Lancers in the United States as compared to the 316 Civic sold in calendar 2006 alone.

Some say to blame it on the boring looks of the old Lancer. Mitsubishi have not also been massively promoting the Lancer and this is attributed to the financial problems that the Japan-based Mitsubishi Motor Corp. is facing. And according to the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, Mitsubishi remains below industry average plus there is also that fact that the Lancer was never been a part of the recommended cars of Consumer Reports.

But luckily, the 2008 Lancer has been able to successfully differentiate itself from its not so attractive predecessor. Its exterior design is one of the best on the compact sedan segment. It's not overly decorated, sporty, well proportioned and above all not weird-looking. The mid-level ES trim that was the test car, the Lancer adds really appealing, five-spoke, 16-inch wheels plus some grille surround to give it a little more style.

By utilizing the modern platform similar to the one employed for the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover sport utility vehicle, the new 2008 lancer was able to deliver better riding and handling performance. It was also given a new front, MacPherson strut suspension, making the new Lancer sedan firmer and in control eliminating the constant hard drumming of road bumps. The rear-suspension is a multi-link design, and there's a sport-tuned suspension and larger, 18-inch tires available on uplevel Lancer GTS if you prefer a sportier road feel. You may also install if you want a more customized look.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer is also more accurate and smooth as compared to earlier Lancer models. The new Lancer is a four-door sedan and is about 2.5 inches wider than its predecessors and possesses a wide track which had added to the stability of the sedan especially when driving on twisty mountain roads.

The fuel economy is rated at 21 miles a gallon for city driving and 29 mpg for highway driving. The new Lancer also fared well on federal government crash tests. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the crash testing of the new lancer, the driver protection got the top five stars while the front passenger protection received four of five stars.

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