The Mitsubishi Lancer was available in the United States from the 2002 through 2017 model years, and nearly all of those cars were four-door sedans. The exception was the Lancer Sportback, a name first applied to a 2004-only wagon version and then to a hatchback Lancer sold for the 2010-2014 model years. I’m always looking for unusual Mitsubishis during my junkyard travels, be they obscure examples of badge engineering, long-forgotten marketplace failures or confusing special editions. Here’s a 2010 Lancer Sportback, found in a Denver self-service yard recently.
The Lancer name has a lengthy history in the United States, but all of it during the 20th century involved Dodge models. For 1955 through 1959, the Lancer name was applied to hardtop versions of Dodge’s Royal, Custom and Coronet. Then it was used for the Dodge-badged version of the Plymouth Valiant for 1961 and 1962, with the Dart name gradually squeezing the Lancer name to the side during that second year. Lancers returned to American Dodge showrooms as members of the extended K-Car family, with rebadged Chrysler LeBaron GTSs sold here for the 1985 through 1989 model years.
Mitsubishi began building its own Lancers all the way back in 1973, and some of those cars were sold here during the 1970s and 1980s as Dodge Colts, Dodge Challengers, Plymouth Sapporos and Plymouth Arrows.
Plenty of manufacturers have used variations of the “Sportback” designation over the decades, with one of the earliest being the Nissan Pulsar NX Sportbak. Buick sold Regal Sportbacks as recently as 2020, and Audi still uses the term here today. The “Liftback” name enjoyed prominence for quite a while but has faded from mainstream use in recent years, while the “Wagonback” appellation never caught on despite Geo’s best efforts.
The 2010 Lancer Sportback was available in two trim levels: GTS and Ralliart. The Ralliart got a turbocharged engine, all-wheel-drive and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic shared with the Evo; the GTS had front-wheel-drive and a five-speed manual as base equipment (this car has the optional CVT with paddle shifters).
The engine is a 2.4-liter straight-four rated at 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque; the Ralliart had 237 horses and 253 pound-feet.
The MSRP for the 2010 Lancer Sportback GTS was $19,190, or about $27,193 in 2023 dollars.
This one appears to have endured some lean times during its final months or years on the road, with several field-expedient repairs performed with tape. I’ve seen worse in junkyards, of course.
Do not refer to the owner of a Lancer Sportback as “Ma’am!”