2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

The Lancer Sportback is the five-door hatchback version of Mitsubishi's compact Lancer sedan. Like its four-door sibling, the Sportback is getting on in years but still offers a appealing combination of style, handling prowess and versatility.

Despite the Sportback's age, its "shark-nose" front grille, pointed headlights and crisp lines give it a distinctive and attractive look compared to competitors. A sloping rear hatch adds an additional bit of flair.

Life Aboard
Though not as unique as the exterior, the cabin features a pleasing and simple design and the controls are all logically laid out. Buyers looking for a touch of luxury should note that the Lancer doesn't feature as many upmarket soft-touch surfaces as some of the newer entries in the segment.

While some Lancers comes with a 6.1-inch dash-mounted touch screen that runs the entertainment system, well-equipped models are delivered with Mitsubishi's FUSE infotainment system. FUSE packs the car's connectivity, navigation (if equipped) and entertainment systems into a single easy-to-use touch screen-based software that features voice command in addition to knobs and buttons.

Thanks to the hatchback configuration, cargo room maxes out at a healthy 46.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded (keep them up and space is limited to 14.8 cubes).

Under The Hood
The regular Lancer offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines and the option of all-wheel drive on select models.

The entry-level engine is a 2.0-liter that sends 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels via Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

The next engine up is a 2.4-liter unit that is rated at 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque. It returns 22 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.

Trim Level Breakdown
Mitsubishi asks Sportback buyers to choose between ES and GT trim levels.

The ES comes standard with the 2.0-liter motor in addition to air conditioning, power windows and locks, a six-speaker, 140-watt AM/FM/CD sound system, auto-off headlights, a multi-information display and 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.

The GT adds the 2.4-liter engine as well as a sport-tuned suspension, a 6.1-inch touch screen that runs Mitsubishi's FUSE infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity with voice command, a USB port, a rear spoiler, fog lights, push-button start and a proximity key, SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month trial subscription, a rear-view camera, a roof rack and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Lancer can be ordered with several option packages that group key options such as LED lights, a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate Punch premium sound system with 10-inch subwoofer, soft touch materials on the door panels, navigation, aluminum trim on the inside and chrome trim on the body.

Occupant Safety
All Sportback models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback battles against the Mazda Mazda3, the Ford Focus, the Subaru Impreza and the Hyundai Elantra GT.