Used 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
List price range
2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback


  • Multiple body styles and trim levels, clean cabin design, solid power from Ralliart and Sportback models, wagon's generous cargo capacity.


  • Base engine lacks punch, no manual gearbox in Ralliart models, ABS and side airbags not available on all models, small trunk in sedans.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A midpack player until now, the introduction of the more powerful and fun-to-drive Sportback and Ralliart models gives the Lancer the boost it needs to compete with the class leaders.

2004 Highlights

The Lancer Sportback wagon joins the lineup, along with performance-oriented Ralliart versions of both the sedan and wagon. All Sportback wagons as well as the Ralliart sedans get a new 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 160 horsepower (162 hp in Ralliart form). The entire Lancer line gets a redesigned front fascia with Mitsubishi's corporate grille design, plus new integrated bumpers, halogen headlamps and a relocated rear license plate.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A Great Sportswagon
This sports wagon is perfect for me. It has everything I want and none of what I don't. I wanted; a used, fun-to-drive, reasonably priced, reliable, roomy, comfy, fuel efficient, wagon with great visibility, low insurance and a compromise between sporty handling and good ride quality. I didn't want; expensive repairs & maintenance, electric leather seats, a sunroof, climate control (A/C button & dials are best), paying extra for a badge, a boring vehicle, an SUV. The Lancer Ralliart wagon has all of this and more. It's a great car for; commuting, driving spiritedly (it's not fast but sporty and rewarding), highway cruising, moving furniture, grocery shopping, carrying sports equipment.
Buy it if it is cheap
MD driver,03/04/2010
When you need a cargo space, there is no better choice than this car, really. Mivech works great and runs surprisingly good for a wagon. In reliability and built quality, this car will not be as good as any other major Japanese makers, but again, this car got cargo space that no other matches, at least with good gas mileage of a car instead of an SUV. So, there is only 2 reason to buy this car, cargo space, cheaper price, at least in used market, Mitsubishi goes way cheaper than Toyota or Honda. If money and cargo space is important to you, this car is for you.
A sporty commuter that'll make you smile
This is such a big change from driving my '00 Corolla. There's more space, the interior layout and design is far more stylish and I absolutely am in love with the sleek and boxy body. Wind has little impact on this substantial vehicle when traveling on the highway and you'll often feel like you're going faster than you really are. The seats manage to be firm, yet comfortable and provide the necessary support during highway trips. The interior looks classy and feels pretty sturdy and not altogether cheap. You won't mistake it for a luxury car but you won't mistake it for an economy car either. The engine delivers spirited performance overall and gaining speed in the highway or city is easy.
Update 10-12-06
My Lancer Sportback LS now has 63,000 mostly highway miles on it and is still going strong. It's been a much better car then my Ford Focus was, although I miss the handling from the Focus and I still prefer manual shifting. But this is a pretty good automatic and the 2.4 liter 160 hp 4-cylinder runs strong. My '89 Acura Legend was only 160 hp and it was a V6 that was 2.7 liters in displacement! A very enjoyable little wagon that has been very reliable and rather fun.
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Features & Specs

20 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
160 hp @ 5750 rpm
20 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
162 hp @ 5750 rpm
See all Used 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback features & specs
More about the 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
More About This Model

Just the word "wagon" used to be enough to make a cool high school student shudder with dread. After years of dreaming about your first car, you finally earn your driver license only to discover that you've been relegated to piloting the family station wagon instead of a sporty new Ford Mustang. When you're 16 years old and full of illusions of coolness, a wagon can be a real blow to your adolescent ego.

For decades, station wagons have proliferated family stigma, but no more. These days, consumers, both old and young, lead more active lifestyles and therefore recognize the convenience of transporting athletic gear and other such necessities by small wagon, instead of trying to jam a hockey stick into the trunk of a once coveted Mustang.

The current market already provides several compact wagon options, and for 2004, Mitsubishi has added its own sporty front-wheel-drive adaptation to the mix.

In 2002 Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer sedan as a replacement for its aging Mirage sedan. Based on the Lancer, the Lancer Sportback wagon is intended to preserve the driving characteristics of a sedan, while adding the utility of a wagon.

The Lancer Sportback comes in two trim levels — entry-level LS and sport-model Ralliart. Ralliart is Mitsubishi's international performance brand, engineered by those responsible for Mitsubishi's high-performance Lancer Evolution. In addition to the Sportback, the Ralliart name is also expected to appear on other Mitsubishi models in the future, including the Lancer sedan.

Both Sportback models are powered by a new 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine tuned to produce 160 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque in LS trim and 162 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque in the Ralliart version. That's 30 more horses than sport wagon competitors Ford Focus and Mazda Protegé5, but 20 hp less than Toyota's Matrix XRS. Although the Sportback's fuel mileage figures have not yet been determined, Mitsubishi tells us that the new engine is designed to also reduce exhaust emissions and raise fuel economy.

Only one transmission is available in both Sportback models — an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with driver-adaptive control. While we found the current transmission satisfactory, we would cast our vote for a manual option as well — especially in the Ralliart model.

The Sportback shares all of its chassis components with the Lancer sedan, though everything has been tightened up a bit for 2004. A structural ring encircles the cargo door opening, adding stiffness to the body. All Sportbacks get a fully independent front/rear multilink suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, plus speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering. The performance Ralliart model gets a full-on sport suspension which includes 20-percent stiffer spring rates, 150-percent firmer front shock damping and 85-percent firmer rear shock damping. Tighter bushings, a stiffer steering rack and a three-point front strut tower brace also help fine-tune the Sportback Ralliart's handling characteristics.

Additional Ralliart modifications include larger 16-inch tires on unique alloy wheels, standard antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and a tuned exhaust system that is opened up to send off a sportier exhaust note, while increasing horsepower a bit.

Outside, the Sportback displays new front and rear fascias similar to those on other Mitsubishi models. They are designed to tie together the entire Mitsubishi lineup, with the intention of providing passers-by with instant brand recognition. Comparing both Sportback models side by side, the Sportback Ralliart is immediately distinguishable from its LS sibling. Both cars have a long, low roofline, but a rally-style body kit that includes front, side and rear air dams; a unique grille; tinted headlamp lenses; and projector-beam foglights set the Ralliart apart from the meeker LS model at first glance. The Ralliart is also over an inch lower than the LS with the lower center of gravity improving handling.

Inside the Sportback LS, the accommodations are basic, yet functional with black wood-grain trim accents, a white-faced gauge cluster and cloth upholstery. The sporty Ralliart provides an all-black interior with carbon-fiberlike accents and sport bucket front seats. A six-way manually adjustable driver seat is standard on both the LS and Ralliart, while the front passenger gets a four-way manually adjustable seat. Both models receive a 140-watt stereo system with an in-dash CD player, but with no option to upgrade. The only additions LS buyers can make to the standard wagon are the Preferred Equipment package (that includes roof rails, color-keyed sideview mirrors and 15-inch alloy wheels) plus cruise control and a cargo area tonneau cover.

At 181.3 inches long, the Sportback is 10 inches longer than the Matrix and almost 11 inches longer than the Protegé5. Most of the additional length is used in its cargo area, as the Sportback's front legroom is just less than an inch-and-a-half larger than the Matrix, an inch greater than the Protegé5 and right on par with the Ford Focus. A winner in rear legroom is too close to call with most competitors reporting measurements close to the Sportback's 36.6 inches.

Cargo capacity is a vast 60.7 cubic feet if you fold down the 60/40-split reclining rear seats, which compared to the Matrix's 53.2 cubic feet is a sizable advantage. The wagon bed also has under floor and side storage compartments, as well as four cargo tie-down points to keep your gear from rolling around.

Pricing for the Lancer Sportback has yet to be announced, but Mitsubishi tells us to expect a ballpark figure of $17,000 for the Sportback LS and $19,000 for the Ralliart version. For an additional two grand, we'd take the Ralliart over the LS any day of the week. Its improved ride and handling make it a wagon worth driving. With Ralliart pricing similar to the Matrix, we'd prefer the sleeker, less beefy look of the Mitsubishi as compared to the Toyota. But even with drivability and design aside, the Sportback should remain on your wagon shopping list — if only for its cavernous cargo area.

Used 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Overview

The Used 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is offered in the following submodels: Lancer Sportback Wagon. Available styles include LS 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and Ralliart 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A).

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Should I lease or buy a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mitsubishi lease specials
Check out Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback lease specials