2008 Mitsubishi Lancer – Game Changer
The all new Mitsubishi Lancer will be introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. While some of us have been lucky enough to drive the car early, Mitsu has embargoed the driving impressions until late January.
Today, we can reveal a bit more than we could previously. We can actually show you the car. And AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staffers believe that the new Lancer could be a game changer for Mitsubishi in the USA. Mitsubishi stylists benchmarked the Mazda3 and the Alfa Romeo 156 when they began development of the new Lancer. The resulting car projects much more than simply a Mazda/Alfa clone. In fact, the Mitsubishi Concept-X show car telegraphed much of what the new Lancer looks like over a year ago.
Unique Aggressive Front Appearance
We’d describe the front end of the Lancer as very unique with a strong face that is not characteristic of small cars. Mitsubishi describes the front end with much more flowery adjectives… “A ‘shark-nosed’ front end inspired by jet fight air intakes”.
Usually small car styling wimps out to the lowest common denominator. Not the Lancer. It looks contemporary and aggressive. Nicely done. This front end style even meets the European pedestrian protection standards and does it without becoming blunt-nosed.
From the Side, Lancer Proportions Communicate Small Car – Style Hints More Upscale
In the side view, the Lancer has a sweeping character line from front fender through the doors ending in the rear quarter. Looks a lot like the character of the Acura TL. It is in the side view where the dimensions of the car compromise its proportions. For a car with such an expressive overall style, the wheelbase looks a bit short and the decklid truncated. Not enough to neuter the image of the Lancer, but enough to reinforce that it is a Mainstream Compact Car.
The fast backlite is a complete departure from the previous Lancer that sacrificed style for package. Here, the short wheelbase and fast backlite result in a rather small rear seat. Mitsubishi planners say the parent company wanted a smaller rear seat to maximize its competitive position in rallying. Huh?
Rear View Reminiscent of Lexus IS
While Mitsubishi does not list the new Lexus IS as a benchmark vehicle, the rear end – especially the taillamps – are reminiscent of the IS. This is not a bad thing. Only the sport-tuned GTS model gets the spoiler. Apparently, future top of the line models will not be forced to get the spoiler.
Lancer Could Be Mitsubishi Game Changer in the USA
With the launch of the all-new Lancer, the bottom end of Mitsubishi’s lineup is all new in the USA – with the Lancer and Outlander Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle. Lancer could change the landscape for Mitsubishi in the USA, but to do that Mitsubishi Motors North America needs to strongly support the car with aggressive pricing, advertising and merchandising. Lancer has solid potential and may be considered superior to most other available compact car entries. Simply, to cut through the clutter of good competition, Mitsubishi has to “overachieve” with all aspects of the Lancer product, pricing, positioning, and promotion.
Press Release Blurb
Mitsubishi’s December 11 press release summarizes the car…
The 2008 Lancer is based on a new performance-engineered global platform that also forms the foundation of the new Mitsubishi Outlander SUV. It has a longer wheelbase and wider track, but slightly shorter overall length than the previous model. All Lancer models are powered by an all-new 2.0-liter 152HP aluminum DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine (143 hp PZEV in Calif.) teamed to a 5-speed manual transmission. The new Lancer is the first Mitsubishi in North America to offer an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). When equipped with the CVT, the Lancer GTS exclusively features a 6-step Sportronic® mode using magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters. (more on the paddle-shifting CVT when we can report on our driving impressions of the Lancer)
The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer will be available in three levels of trim and driving dynamics: DE, ES and the sport-tuned GTS.
Wheelbase: 103.7 in. Memo: 2007 Honda Civic Sedan = 106.3 in.
Length: 180.0 in. Memo: 2007 Honda Civic Sedan = 176.7 in.
Height: 58.7 in. Memo: 2007 Honda Civic Sedan = 56.5 in.
Width: 69.4 in. Memo: 2007 Honda Civic Sedan = 69.0 in.
Curb weight range: 2,922 lbs. (DE w/ 5-speed) to 3,109 lbs. (GTS w/ CVT)