We purchased this 2004 car new from the dealer back at the end of 2005 with 46 miles on it. Mitsubishi had done no promotion of it and it sat unloved for almost a year at the dealer. We were replacing our 2001 Honda Odyssey after it was totaled by a bad/unfocused driver on the highway. We test drove nearly 70 new vehicles before we drove this one. It grips the road and the driver feels very connected without being beaten by it. It lacks many bells and whistles, but there is something so pure about the experience that it is hard to explain. There are faster and better MPG cars all around, but few can haul as much and look so unique doing it. I get thumbs up and comments from EVO guys all the time. It is like a secret held between those that know. I had a guy follow us into a parking lot to ask about it. He first thought it was a Volvo C70 wagon that had been chopped. When I have it waxed and shining, it still looks good. PROS: It can haul nearly as much as our Honda Odyssey did, but it is smaller. It sounds tough (the kid in me likes that). It has enough zip to get you moving as needed. It grips the road and the sway bars make the curves fun. This is a very mechanical car making it feel very connected to the road, in a good way. CONS: Parts are difficult to find for this car and they are moderately expensive. It has some EVO parts, some Lancer parts and some Ralliart parts. The AC blew and it took two weeks to get some new and second hand parts to fix it. I hit a huge pool of water during a nasty storm and now we have squeaking from the shock bushings. The shocks are still good, but I may have to replace them. OVERALL: I would buy this car again without hesitation. I know a day will come when finding parts becomes too painful and I will have to sell it. I hope it will go to someone that loves it as much as we do.
Got my 2004 Sportback Ralliart in 2009 with 26,000 miles. This car has been fantastic and is affectionately referred to as my Swiss army car. Now at 106,000 it has had nothing buy routine maintenance. Engine is still strong, interior held up very well with no rattles or squeaks from rubbing components. The cargo space is great including the gear storage tray under the boot floor, which has been the permanent home for tools, climbing gear, misc. camping supplies and all those small things you should have brought but always forgot. I can fold down the seats and fit my ski's and 29er Mt. bike or throw in some blankets and camp for the night with my 150 pound Rottie by my side. It's no speed demon but certainly no slouch either. Yearly 10-12 hour trips to the Carolinas have been comfortable and stable averaging 85 mph. I can pass at high speed with ease & jump into highway traffic from a stop without concern. The only cons I have experienced are the following: 1) The cooling fan has always run intermittently, even 2-5 minutes after the car is turned off. From what the forums say, this is known but never recalled for a fix. 2) I have had consistent uneven wearing of the break pads? 3) Factory replacement parts are stupid expensive from the dealer! OEM exhaust was $1300 + & only one company makes a aftermarket stainless steel replacement for the down pipe (Eastern Aluminum) at roughly $375 with CAT+ $400 (+/-) for the magnaflow CAT Back in stainless steel. While the aftermarket stainless Steel down pipe is less expensive, the flexible bend before the CAT turns to [non-permissible content removed] after a year of harsh NEPA winter driving and was replaced 2 times under the 1 year Mfg. warranty. 4) Factory paint job was crap!! Bare spots around hood edges and sun fading on all surfaces. The only place the Ralli red color held was the plastic bumpers. With only 3000 or so imported to UAS in 2004 it's definitely a rare animal to see around town.
Buying this car was a major improvement for me, and I previously owned a luxury sedan. The Lancer is extremely practical, I can easily sit five people and maintain ample comfort room, and in back I can store a great amount of groceries and packages (one of the many pros of having a wagon). I am around 112k miles and the Lancer hasn't failed me once, even when missing an oil change every now and then. Aside from the common Lancer issue with the climate control knob breaking, I haven't had to put much money into the car. Thanks to the reliability of my Mitsubishi I am definitely going to look into purchasing another from this company! (:
Dashboard and interface are clean and sleek and shifting gears is extremely smooth!
The seating in the car as a driver can be a bit uncomfortable if you are a bit shorter in stature, as they aren't necessarily ergonomic to that body type, but sitting as a passenger is perfectly fine.
I just turned over 155,000 miles in my Sportback, bought new in 2004. Have to say that I still love this car! I've kept up with the annual maintenance, use fully synthetic oil and high-test gas, and it runs great. Smooth and quiet. One major repair -- the A/C -- in all this time. Everything else has just been regular maintenance. Love that it has good pick-up when I need it to and that it's got enough power to handle mountainous roads. Even after 10 years and 155K miles, I still get 25 MPG city / 31 MPG hwy.
Great interior space.
I use the far-back cargo space for hauling my large dog, but even the back-seat legroom is not too bad.
I test-drove the 2004 Outlander at the same time, but ultimately chose the Sportback because it handled like a smaller car, which I liked.
Also like that the driver's seat is height-adjustable, which picks me up off the road and makes the car easier to get in and out of.
Could wish that it had a bit more external style and flair, but it's an economy car, so the plainness is not objectionable.