Lancer Blends Performance and Economy

Fast acceleration, precision cornering and hard braking make performance driving the challenge it is. Each is also the antithesis of economical driving.
These opposed purposes make the design of a vehicle capable of high performance and economical operation a study in compromises.
Mitsubishi has done its homework with the 2009 Lancer.
The Lancer four-door GTS sedan we tested is the standard model most buyers choose for normal use as a family car, but the designers put enough performance potential into the components to satisfy most drivers. For those drivers who want a more potent performer, Mitsubishi offers an all-out hot version of the Lancer at a bit higher price, but the GTS’s modest price of about $19,000 buys a handful of surprisingly responsive mannerisms.
At times during our test, the Lancer produced a subtle but noticeable vibration at certain speeds when going up the acceleration curve; otherwise, the continuously variable transmission operated flawlessly. The vibration may not have been produced by the transmission but may have been a resonation of other components at that speed.
Cornering quickly through a series of S turns with intermittent hard throttle and braking demonstrated the Lancer’s sports car personality.
The 2.4-liter engine driving through the CV transmission proved to be a good compromise for performance and economy. We obtained 27 miles per gallon during the test run, and as high as 31 mpg on one tank full.
Summary: The Lancer GTS provides miserly mileage economy while exhibiting a bunch of satisfying performance characteristics, drivewise.
Automobile designer Jerry Cumbus is director of Automotive Research Center, a national association of auto designers, engineers and drivers.

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