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2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

Jeff Glucker April 29, 2010 Mitsubishi Reviews, Road Test Reviews 25 Comments

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.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    In what universe is 0-60 in less than 8 seconds slow? It's not an Evo, but that's hardly sluggish.

    I like the looks of the current Lancer, although some of its details are kind of cheesy, but I have a hard time with the sheer bulk. In the metal, it looks enormous, in a way that's a little off-putting.

  • I just came back from Mitsu's website and I'm angry, there is no accel. or top speed data available there. Some kind of PC nanny state mindset now restricts publication of this info or what? Pfff…
    Are you sure it's less than 8 sec.? Not bad.

    • marco

      Apparently manufacturers don't post speed data because the government feels that it promotes speeding.

      The manual with spare out and injen intake on Dunlop ZRs summers on a drag strip did a 6.5sec 0-100km/s and a quarter mile in 14.57sec @96mph with outside temp in the 16-18C, Top speed with GPS on 17" wheels showed 140.3mph.
      So the new one should be somewhere around there, mind it is about 250-300lbs heavier, so maybe 7sec once its broken in properly at around 10K.

      I have 2 mitsubishi ralliarts one 05 manual and one 06 auto and getting a new one 2011 ralliart turbo this saturday (fun stuff)
      Test drove it twice in the last 2 months, and its got serious fun acceleration, i saw 5.8sec on my portable accelerometer from a fresh one 🙂 nice! feels like a proper fast Mitsu, I cant wait!!! Handles like a dream too forget mustang or genesis (hard suspension) If u test trive one U will know what i'm on about. Cheers!

  • I found 7.5 online somewhere…

  • Edmunds says 7.7. Edmunds.com 2010 Lancer review

    8 seconds is perfectly normal where I'm concerned… it's all my '96 T-bird could do in its younger years, and I think my Dakota is more like 9 seconds 0-60.

  • Edmunds says 7.7. Edmunds.com 2010 Lancer review

    8 seconds is perfectly normal where I'm concerned… it's all my '96 T-bird could do in its younger years, and I think my Dakota is more like 9 seconds 0-60.

  • I am jaded… I drive new cars each week. The Ram 1500 I am driving can probably pull 8 seconds.

  • Jeff, where did you take these pictures? Where you testing in the Antelope Valley again? Looks windy.

    • This is a spot I use a lot in Huntington Beach.

  • apfeif3

    I have an '09 GTS, and it's a great car. The 2010 has the same engine and hp rating. On the top speed and 0-60, its 7.5-7.7 depending on the source 0-60. I have heard the top speed is limited to 125 mph, but I am not sure. It is geared relatively low and probably couldn't do much more anyways with gearing.

    • SMeadows

      i have a 2010 and i've hit 130 and could easily go faster.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    Since I have a 2.3-liter Mazda3, which has a similar power-to-weight ratio, I do understand how cars can feel less powerful and less quick than they are. If you put the spurs to the Mazda3, it will also do 0-60 in the high 7s, but it's heavy enough (2,900 lb, if the specs are to be believed) that it can feel lazy at low speeds.

  • Laura forbids me from purchasing any Mitsubishi product with perhaps the exception of an 80s vintage Pajero. However, that interior looks pretty nice from afar.

  • Thats funny, because it FEELS light… the doors often need a second shove because they dont shut on the first try…

  • SSurfer321

    Jeff, thanks for giving us Hoons what we asked for: A review of a base model hot hatch sedan.
    Excellent write up. I must say I thoroughly enjoy driving my wife's base model 08 Impreza fast.

  • Thanks!

    There are actually two trims below this one… DE and ES. Both have slightly less power than the GTS, and focus more on economy. The GTS offers more power and solid fuel economy so it treads the line between what we want and what we need.

  • IIRC the base models have the 8-valve engine whereas the GTS has the 16-valve SOHC 4G69 with the Mivec system. I have one of the few Ralliart station wagons from the previous generation, and those all came with the same 2.4 liter. The 5-speed seems to help a lot with the mileage, the only way my 4sp slushbox wagon will exceed 26mpg is on a flatbed.

    • marko

      Not sure how u drive but i got an auto ralliart 06 to 28-27 on regular basis, its how u take advantage of ur terrain, if u roll down the hill for 2kms at 100km/h then poping into neutral makes sense its either 3000rpm in gear or 750 in idle, hmmm

      • TurboBrick

        Mine was an '04 station wagon and I do drive pretty conservatively. Without trying to save gas, I'd get about 23 mpg, and seriously trying to save gas by keeping the AC off and staying on the economy cam, it maxed out at 26mpg. Rowing in and out of neutral isn't going to do anything other than put more wear on your tranny and get everyone around you pissed at you for not keeping pace. I sold it away and do not miss it, I'm actually more excited by my new old MPV minivan.

  • Oh how I wish they made an Evo Sportback…

    • They did make a very limited, Japan only run of Evo IX Sportbacks back when they were proper station wagons and not just hatchbacks.

  • Unfortunately I doubt that will happen. With all of the backlash Subaru got from the last STI being available only in hatch form, I'm sure Mitsubishi was paying attention.

  • John

    dont buy the piece of crap and waste of money, horrible gas mileage, the rockford stereo sounds horrible the tweeters make no difference, its unbeliveably slow compared to a nissan hardbody thats 20 years old, and its butt ugly to start with and cheaply engineered, i dont know who would buy one of these when there so overpriced and it doesnt help when a dealership gives you horrible service on top of a horrible car, it would be nice to burn it and get rid of it

    • Kevin

      Tells us how you really feel?

  • Kevin

    Great review… I have a 2011 GTS Manual Trans. def go with the Manual the CVT makes this car super sluglish. I love this car and glad I got it. I got out the door just over 16k (I didn't get the touring package, kind of wish I had, but none were avaible). I would agree with the statement about the spoiler I love the look but I might as well not have a rear window (although nice for people with ridiculously bright headlights).