Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

If it’s a good enough tagline to sell a thick and malty beer to the world, then surely it’s good enough to use on the new and comprehensively re-done 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer. Right? Well…maybe, in parts. Fact is, though, that while the Lancer is indeed brilliant in some facets it’s also quite over the top in other critical areas. Consider, if you will, the exterior sheetmetal. With aggressive lines, a tough-guy front end and attractive alloy wheels on our GTS tester, the Lancer is quite a looker…until you get to the garish and completely unnecessary wing tacked onto the back. Come on. Kids in Subarus and Evos drive around with wings like that, and have the driving record to prove it. Just guessing, but drivers happy with the Lancer’s 152-horsepower four-banger are probably not groovin’ to the wing, and probably don’t appreciate the unwanted attention it gets from the local traffic cop.

Same goes for the paddle shifters…sort of. Putting paddles on a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is, indeed, brilliant because you are never too far from the right spot and can always tweak the transmission for more. The flaw with this version, however, is with the transmission: even paddles can’t forgive the poor, thrashy and overall discombobulating experience that comes with a spirited drive in the Lancer. The interior is also a tale of two cars. The all-black setup we enjoyed in the GTS felt nice to the touch, with nice materials and what felt like quality plastics. It falls down in the construction, however, with too many joints and gaps. All in all, the Lancer is a good car, but not a brilliant one. It’s a decent buy if you get it without the poser wing, don’t mind an unrefined powertrain and can put up with paying over $20,000 for an all-black and all-plastic interior. That, unfortunately, is Not-so-Brilliant.

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