The 2013 Lancer is hardly a fresh face in the compact-car arena, but the sedan especially manages to stand out in as stylistically different from both models that try to emulate larger mid-size sedans (like the Chevrolet Cruze and the Volkswagen Jetta) as well as those that are taking a sleeker, creased, and rakish look (such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra).
One key to the Lancer's still daring, different look is its aggressive, sharklike snout. For standard Lancer models, it calls out 'Evo,' while even on the Evo and Ralliart models it simply fits right in with the rest of the chunky proportions, low-and-lean stance, and high beltline--which altogether give both the sedan and Sportback their nice sense of proportion. With all but the base-level Lancer DE you get color-keyed door handles and mirrors, but you'll need to step up to sportier GT models, as well as the Ralliart or Evo, to get the larger alloys that especially serve to help the design pop by filling out the wheel wells.
Inside, the Lancers feel low-rent--surprisingly so, considering their attractive exteriors--and they lack enough differentiation from the sub-$17k Lancer DE all the way up to a loaded $45k Evo MR. The look barely fits the bill for the Lancer DE and ES models, as the competition has upgraded its materials and detailing to such a degree. Provided you don't become obsessed over the details (which will get you down)--and provided you're a few paces away--the sporty layout, with a mix of darker surfaces and matte-metallic trims tends to look quite good.