We often talk about the joy of driving slow cars – fast. It can be quite thrilling to take a car more inclined towards fuel economy than fueling excitement and drive it with purpose through a canyon pass. You have to work harder to receive your reward. The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is such a car. It offers acceptable levels of fuel economy (nearly 30 mpg on the highway), boasts stand-out style, and allows me to squeeze as much fun as I can out of the naturally-aspirated 2.4L MIVEC inline four-cylinder engine.
The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is not an Evo. I am sure you know this, but I want to reiterate that fact. Only the front wheels power the car and there is no turbo wizardry going on under the hood. The Lancer GTS makes do with 168 hp from the 2.4L engine. That power is controlled via a five-speed manual transmission. It sounds like a fairly bare-bones and economical setup…and it is. It just so happens that it is stuck in a car that wants to play.
The Lancer GTS reminds me of the older Honda Civics. It is a lean machine that fights above its weight class. Anything under 300 hp is not going to slam you back into your seat. In this application, that is a great thing. No torque steer to cleave your hands from your body and a tight chassis make for high-revving fun on a twisty road. The clutch action is basic yet familiar and the gearbox is pretty user friendly. One could easily learn how to drive their first manual transmission car in the GTS, or they could perfect the art of the heel-toe down-shift on a favored mountain pass.
The exterior of the Mitsubishi Lancer GTS treads the line between sporty cool and racer-boy overkill. I think the aesthetic is appealing however to hoons young and old. The 18-in multi-spoked alloy wheels fill the arches nicely and are a welcome change of pace in a world of 20s. The sharp shoulder line helps break up the flat side on the doors. The front grille is a future-classic piece for all new Mitsubishis and I welcome its spread across the model lineup. The only real argumentative add-on is the rear spoiler. It works on the Evo but even that is debatable. It doesn’t look bad on the outside of the car, in fact I think it looks pretty slick. My issue comes when sitting behind the wheels of the car. I want to see what is going on behind me but all I get is an eyeful of faux-downforce. Lose the wing and the tail might look bland but keep the wing and I can’t see if that cop I passed is turning around to get me. I say it needs a quick chop job and all would be right.
Moving inside the Lancer GTS I find myself in a world that meanders across bottom-trim basic and sports car spartan. The seats are wrapped in leather but I would prefer cloth. They are comfortable and supportive but the $1,500 Touring Package they are a feature of I could live without. The package also includes HID headlamps, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a sound resistant front windshield – if you were curious. The gauges are well placed and easy to read thanks to their deep set location in the dash. The upgraded Rockford Fosgate system boasts nine speakers plus a 10-in subwoofer. It sounds great for a car at this price point but Mr. Bang and Sir Olufsen has nothing to worry about.
With a base price of $18,990, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is a bargain of frugal fun. Sport-tuned suspension, a rear multi-link setup, and front & rear stabilizer bars all come as part of that base price. The vehicle you see here is equipped with the previously mentioned Touring Package and the Sun & Sound package to bring the grand total up to $23,110. Since this is Hooniverse, we could spend the next month finding amazing used vehicles for the same price (or less). However, in the world of affordable new cars the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is a great deal. Be it an upgrade from the heap you drive now or the starting point of driving education for your young one, the Lancer GTS is good on gas and good in the hills. Throw in the 10yr/100,000 mile powertrain and 5yr/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranties and the case for the Lancer looks even stronger. The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is further proof that slow cars can provide fast fun.