The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is one of the few cars able to perfectly blend sports performance with utility and economy. The body is a sportier version of the Lancer sedan, but it is only available in six colors, which may not be a big deal to some. The vehicle's simple lines allow the stunning headlamps, rear spoiler and eye-catching wheels to really stand out. While the vehicle may look like a winner on the outside, it fails to impress with the interior. The cabin is uninspiring, to say the least. Clumsy controls, a ton of plastic and limited leg room may turn some people away while the lack of cargo space may do it for others. While you would think a hatchback would offer a ton of cargo room, it doesn't. You will struggle if you need to transport bulky items.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback ES is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, so don't expect to win any races in this ride. For a little more power, you can opt for the GT trim that delivers 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Both engines are paired up with a CVT transmission and front-wheel drive is the only option. Gas mileage is excellent as it returns an average of 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
While the Sportback may look sporty to drive, it doesn't handle as one might expect. Steering is a little numb and acceleration is lacking. It does offer a smooth ride though, thanks to its four-wheel independent suspension. So, although passengers may feel crammed, at least they won't feel all the bumps and holes in the road.
On the positive side, the 2012 Lancer Sportback did score well when crash tested. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated it as "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. The antilock brakes have not been tested for stopping capabilities, but Mitsubishi does tend to rate good overall as far as braking is concerned on all their vehicles. Airbags can be found in the front and rear, and considering its low price, it does have an extensive list of safety features. Some of these include child seat anchors, emergency braking assist, rear door safety locks, stability and traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, tire pressure monitoring and a whiplash protection system in the front head restraints, which is a feature typically found in pricier models.