Why is the Sportback so obviously a niche vehicle? Well, for one it looks downright weird. Not many people are into 5 door hatchbacks and those that are into fast ones tend to shop at VW dealerships. And the worst part, at least about the Ralliart version? Mitsubishi has the gall to charge more for this tinny-when-you-slam-the-doors econobox than VW does for the rock solid GTI. Granted, the Ralliart has a bit more power but then it also has a lot more turbo lag. (Starting MSRP for the Ralliart is $27,590 and that is before you option essentials like navigation and Recaro sport seats.)
The GTS model, which starts at $19,190, is a decidedly different proposition altogether. As standard this version of the Sportback has power everything, a punchy yet frugal 2.4 liter 4 cylinder good for 168 horsepower and plenty of cargo space for your stuff. The only option package worth having is the Sun & Sound package as it includes a moonroof, Sirius radio and a slamming 710 watt Rockford Fosgate Audio system all for only $1900. Such a deal.
What the extra option package doesn't give the Lancer Sportback GTS is a dashboard with soft touch plastic or an interior with any semblance of luxury. It does appear tough and durable, however. This interior, despite its last decade look, may somehow look the same in another 20 years just by dint of its own chintzy nature. As for mechanical reliability, you may not like the fact that your new car has doors as tinny as a 1994 Galant but at least you know that you still see those cars out on the road.
(Note: Always be concerned if you are buying a new car from a company whose really old models you never see on the road anymore. That means they have a shelf life and are pretty much designed to expire after a certain period. )