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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
Unlike Ford's Sync, which works with a variety of MP3 players, Fuse only handles iPods.
The Mitsubishi system lacks some of the Sync's functions and commands, but we still prefer it to the tricky touchscreen layout in any case.
leather is a nice option for this mid-size sedan, but the Lancer's is some of the least impressive cowhide I've seen in quite some time, as it's shinier and slipperier than most
FAST Key (Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter) entry system that lets the driver unlock and open the door with the key in pocket or purse
If you want the Evo or Ralliart look, but not their high prices; the Lancer GT comes with a sport suspension, big 18-inch alloys (a fresh design this year), fog lamps, rear spoiler, and air dams, plus automatic climate control, high-contrast gauges, and sport seats. GT models include a USB port plus FUSE, a hands-free system that allows voice-command access to phones and media players. Back at the affordable end of the scale, base Lancer DE sedans include power windows and locks, keyless entry, and a 140-watt sound system.
Otherwise, the Lancer comes with a generous list of standard features and some high-tech options that aren't widely offered in this affordable class of vehicle. The only exception is the base DE model, a price leader that could classify under the old definition of 'economy car.' Power windows and a CD sound system are included in the Lancer DE, but expect steel wheels with cheap-looking wheel covers, as well as rear drum brakes (though anti-lock brakes and stability control are now included).
Most people will be happy with the mid-grade ES, adding stabilizer bars, ventilated disc brakes (rear discs with the available alloy wheels), a split-folding backseat, steering-wheel audio controls, keyless entry, and air conditioning. The sporty GTS lives up to its Evo look, with a sport suspension, big 18-inch alloys, fog lamps, rear spoiler, and air dams, plus automatic climate control, high-contrast gauges, and sport seats.
Options on the Lancer are limited to alloy wheels and a Deluxe Package on the ES (including the FUSE system, a USB port, sunroof, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The GTS can be further loaded up with a Touring Package adding a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate Punch premium sound system, ten-inch subwoofer, a CD changer, leather seats, heated front seats, bi-xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and a sunroof.
New this year is the Lancer SE, which builds on the equipment of the ES but adds all-weather all-wheel drive, to appeal to those in Northern climates wanting AWD but not the performance ability of the Ralliart or Evolution.
The 2012 Lancer is a reasonably strong value, ranging from one of the most affordable small sedans up to the value-conscious, sporty GT and SE all-wheel drive models.