Certain cars like the Mitsubishi EVO are just magical and trying to replicate the magic is not always an easy task.

The Spies are waiting with eager anticipation to see and drive the next generation EVO but until then we had the chance to drive the platform that the next EVO will be built on (2008 Mistubisho Lancer) and we were impressed with the result.

The new Lancer is extremely good looking and even though the official pricing has not been announced we can tell you that the base model will come in right around $14,000 which is a steal for this bad boy.

I drove both trannies today.

The CVT and 5-Speed manual. Although both worked fine, our opinion is the manual is the only way to go.

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer initial impression

The Good:

Great value for the money, one handsome dude, close your eyes and you'll feel like you're driving a top notch european sedan (it was benchmarked against the Alfa Romeo 156 and Mazda 3).

The Bad: Manual needs a 6th gear, Steering wheel needs to telescope out further for tall drivers.

The Ugly: IT'S NOT THE EVO!!!

Check out the awesome photo gallery and the bonus tour of the San Diego Car Museum in Balboa Park and look for the new Lancer in dealerships this April.

The all-new Mitsubishi Lancer for 2008 delivers driven-to-thrill dynamics, “class-up” value, advanced safety and cutting-edge user-technology in an aggressively styled package. The new Lancer brings the bold, dynamic lines of the Mitsubishi Concept-X to the showroom, with a shark-nosed front end, a distinct wedge-like profile and crisp, taut lines. Lancer is available as the value-minded DE, the well-equipped ES and the sport-tuned GTS.

The 2008 Lancer is based on a new performance-engineered global platform that also forms the foundation of the new Mitsubishi Outlander SUV. It has a longer wheelbase and wider track, but slightly shorter overall length than the previous model. All Lancer models are powered by a new 2.0-liter 152 hp aluminum DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine (143 hp PZEV in Calif.) teamed to a 5-speed manual transmission. The new Lancer is the first Mitsubishi in North America to offer an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). When equipped with the CVT, the Lancer GTS exclusively features a 6-step Sportronic® mode using magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters.

The Lancer ES projects a refined appearance with 5-spoke 16-in. alloy wheels, color-keyed door handles and mirrors and a chrome grille surround. The GTS has even more aggressive styling, with 10-spoke 18-in. alloy wheels, front and side air dams, fog lights, a rear spoiler and a chrome tailpipe tip. The GTS features exclusive sport-tuned suspension, 215/45R18 tires, plus the same disc brakes as the larger, heavier Outlander SUV.

The Lancer’s interior is characterized by clean and crisp surfaces and high-quality materials. Each Lancer model is distinguished by its own distinct seating materials and interior trim.

Standard safety features for all Lancer models include an advanced dual front air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with occupant sensors, standard front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side curtain air bags, a driver’s knee air bag, plus a tire pressure monitor system. The ES and GTS models add a standard anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which is available for the DE.

All Lancer models for 2008 come pre-wired for accessory SIRIUS® Satellite Radio. The optional Sun and Sound Package available for the ES and GTS includes a 650-Watt (max.), Rockford-Fosgate® Premium Audio system plus a power glass sunroof and SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 6- month pre-paid subscription.

The GTS is the technology leader of the Lancer line, featuring a standard Bluetooth® wireless technology cell phone interface system with voice recognition for hands-free calling (available for the ES). The GTS is exclusively available with the optional Navigation and Technology Package, which includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive navigation system with digital music server and Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System, plus the FAST Key (Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter) entry system. FAST Key allows the driver to unlock the vehicle simply by having the remote in a pocket or purse and grasping the handle on either of the front doors or the trunk. Key Specifications

Wheelbase: 103.7 in.
Length: 180.0 in.
Height: 58.7 in.
Width: 69.4 in.
Curb weight range: 2,922 lbs. (DE w/ 5-speed) to 3,109 lbs. (GTS w/ CVT)

Major Standard Features (DE)

140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with digital signal
processing, MP3 playback capability and four speakers
16-inch steel wheels with full cover
Adjustable rear head restraints (x3)
Anti-theft engine immobilizer
Auto-off halogen headlamps with DRLs
Dual-stage front air bag SRS with front passenger occupant sensors, curtain side air bags, driver’s knee air bag, and front seat mounted side-impact air bags
Power windows and folding side view mirrors
RISE chassis construction
Side marker lamps
Tilt-adjustable steering column
Trunk lid inner trim
ES model adds:

16-inch alloy wheels
60:40 split folding rear seat with folding armrest and cupholders
Air conditioning with micron cabin air filtration
Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD)
Anti-theft security alarm system
Center floor console box with armrest
Chrome grille, color-keyed outer door handles and side view mirrors
Floor mats
Front map lamps
Height-adjustable driver’s seat
Power locks with remote keyless entry system
Rear seat heater floor ducts
Steering wheel Bluetooth cell phone ready pre-wire switch
Steering wheel illuminated cruise and audio control switches
GTS models add over ES:

18-inch alloy wheels
6-speaker audio system
Automatic climate control system
Chrome exhaust finisher
Chrome-plated inner door levers
Fog lights
Front and side air dams
Hands-free Bluetooth cellular phone interface system with voice recognition
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
Rear spoiler
Sport bucket seats (front)
Sportronic magnesium steering wheel shifter paddles (with optional continuously variable transmission)
Sport-tuned suspension including front strut tower brace
Option Packages

A/C & Power Package (DE model): air conditioning, anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), power door locks and driver’s window auto-up function.

Sun & Sound Package (ES and GTS models): 650-Watt (max.) Rockford-Fosgate Premium Audio system with PUNCH control; 6CD/MP3 in-dash changer; auxiliary stereo input jack; power glass sunroof with sunshade and SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 6-month pre-paid service subscription.

Navigation & Technology Package (GTS): FAST Key entry system; Hard Disk Drive (30GB) satellite GPS navigation system with 7.5-inch touch panel, digital music server and single-disc player and Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System.

Spies give you an early preview of the next Mitsubishi EVO?

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