By Charles Krome
After years of lackluster sales—highlighted by a puzzling inability to build on the success of one of the most driver-friendly cars in America—Mitsubishi is in the midst of reinventing itself for the U.S. market. The automaker is stopping production of the Galant mid-size sedan, Endeavor mid-size crossover and style-over-substance Eclipse, and focusing on three key nameplates: The Lancer family of compacts (including the Evolution and Sportback), the Outlander crossovers (among them the recently Savant-reviewed Outlander Sport) and the Mitsubishi i, the automaker’s urban-oriented electric vehicle.
By Chris Haak
If you ask automakers what the hot ticket is likely to be in the next several years, they might say that premium compact cars are a potential growth area. After all, with gas prices approaching the $4.00 per gallon line in many parts of the US, uncertainty in the Middle East, and increasingly-stringent CAFE standards on the horizon, we’ll have more small cars in the new-car mix.
With more small cars, that means more variety in the style, powertrain, equipment, and even size. Yes, there are varying degrees of small. To some traditionalists, the Chevy Cruze is small; to a Smart ForTwo driver, the Cruze is a perhaps large, wasteful near-midsize car masquerading as a small car. There are also now cheap small cars – like the base Nissan Versa, and small cars that are more premium – like the Buick Verano. The Mitsubishi Lancer GTS reviewed here kind of falls into the middle of the spectrum. It’s a cheap car with some premium features.