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In the Ultra Competitive Compact Wagon Market the Lancer Lacks Serious Fun
When I am not testing out a new ride, or running around town doing errands, or studying for school, or writing a car review, I am working at a local drugstore selling cosmetics. I know, can you believe it? Cars and cosmetics are an interesting pairing but hey, I do what I have to do.
Working in both the cosmetic and car industries helps me reiterate the importance of options. I state the obvious when I say what works for one might not work for the other. This brings me to my test drive with the 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback LS. With the meager list of features the LS has to offer in what is an ultra competitive compact wagon market, it's no wonder why I have yet to see another Lancer Sportback on the streets of my very import oriented town.
What features am I referring to? Well, Mitsubishi only offers one transmission in the Sportback LS, a 4-speed automatic with no manual mode. Many buyers opt for the 'gas-and-brake' tranny, but I'm not one of them. I would rather prefer to tame the LS' 2.4-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder, SOHC engine, that incidentally produces a commendable 160 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 161 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, with a clutch and a shifter. Unfortunately in this case, I have no other option but to put up with an autobox. I was also shocked when I read that ABS isn't even an option. Need I say more?
So, no manual transmission and no ABS are available; is the car still worth driving? Yes. I found it has many strong attributes, starting off with a generous assortment of safety features. Even though ABS is not optional, the LS still has four-wheel power assisted disc brakes. For the average driver stopping distances are longer without anti-lock brakes, but the system Mitsubishi has provided is at least sufficient for dry weather conditions.
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