Officially Official: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback on sale in U.S. this summer

Click above for high-res image gallery of the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart

Mitsubishi finally announced what we've known all along: the five-door Lancer Sportback is coming to the States for the 2010 model year and sales will begin this summer.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback builds on the already competent Lancer sedan, although the overall length is slightly longer to accommodate the new hatch. One-touch auto-folding rear seats split 60:40 to make room for "active lifestyle" parcels and Mitsubishi dropped the rear cargo area floor by three inches to create 52.7 cubic-feet of space when the rear thrones are folded flat.

The Sportback will be available in two trims, beginning in GTS form and equipped with Mitsubishi's 168 hp, 2.4-liter inline four mated to either a five-speed manual or CVT with six "virtual" ratios. More importantly, the Sportback will be offered in Ralliart guise, with the detuned Evolution X's turbocharged 4B11 2.0-liter four putting out 237 hp and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. Power will be doled out to all four wheels through Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control (AWC) system with Active Center Differential (ACD), and buyers can opt for either the six-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift transmission (TC-SST) or CVT gearbox, both of which are manipulated by a set of magnesium-alloy paddle shifters.

Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but once all the options boxes are ticked on the Ralliart, expect the price to still be under $30k. Make the jump for the press release.

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Mitsubishi Motors Brings Versatile New Five-Door Sportback To Award-Winning U.S. Lancer Lineup

Mitsubishi Motors North America today confirmed that the versatile all-new five-door Lancer Sportback will arrive in U.S. dealerships this summer for the 2010 model year. The Sportback will meld high performance and progressive design with an extra dose of utility to feed the most active lifestyles. The newest member of the multiple award-winning Lancer family is part of Mitsubishi's refocused efforts to introduce new models designed to meet evolving consumer demands. MSRP will be announced nearer to its summer on-sale date.

"American consumers are increasingly asking for fun, attractive, yet practical cars that complement their active and individual lifestyles," said Dan Kuhnert, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Motors North America. "The Lancer Sportback answers those calls with a heady mix of performance, aggressive styling and the bonus of greatly increased utility, and will be available in two versions - the economical GTS and high-performance Ralliart. The five-door platform has considerable upside potential in the domestic market."

Mitsubishi designers created a dynamic new shape for the Sportback that is instantly recognizable as a Lancer from the front, with its signature "jet fighter" grille, while being completely fresh from the C-pillar rearward. The key element is a sleekly sloping rear door with integrated "roof wing" that creates a visually distinctive shape while making the Lancer significantly more versatile. The door extends down to the rear bumper to make loading cumbersome objects like surfboards, camping gear and bicycles as easy as possible.

The Sportback's overall length is just slightly longer than the Lancer four-door sedan, yet it gains substantial cargo-carrying flexibility-especially when the 60:40-split rear seats are folded flat. One-touch auto-folding rear seats make the newfound space almost effortless to configure. To add still more volume, the rear cargo-area floor of the GTS version can be cleverly lowered three inches, yielding 52.7 cubic ft. maximum cargo space. The roof will also conveniently accommodate a plug-in Thule® Sport Rack for additional flexibility.

The Sportback's basic architecture, technical features and most optional equipment is shared with the Lancer sedan, a winner of several awards, including:
  • J.D. Power and Associates' 2008 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study, naming the touch-screen interface system an industry-leader and the first non-premium brand to ever capture the award
  • NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick
  • CNET Editors' Choice (Lancer Evolution)
  • MSN Top-10 New Cars
Sportback GTS models feature Mitsubishi's efficient 2.4-liter engine with 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed CVT automatic transmission.

The Sportback Ralliart is powered by a 2.0-liter MIVEC turbocharged engine that pumps out 237 horsepower and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. All-Wheel Control (AWC) with Active Center Differential (ACD) is standard, as is the quick-shifting six-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic® Shift Transmission (TC-SST) that it shares with the Lancer Evolution. Both the CVT and Twin-Clutch transmissions include magnesium-alloy paddle shifters.

Premium interior features like those found on the Lancer sedans are also part of the Sportback's resume. Key components in the Ralliart version include a standard 140-watt CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers or an available 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System, in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability, plus Sirius Satellite Radio. A hard disc-drive navigation system with Mitsubishi's exclusive Diamond Lane Guidance to provide route guidance is optional, as are Recaro sport seats that provide optimal support for the driver and front passenger.

The Lancer Sportback also formed the basis for Mitsubishi's 2009 Dakar Rally effort earlier this year. The Dakar is the most grueling rally race in the world and Mitsubishi vehicles have won the event 12 times since their first attempt in 1983.

As an important test bed for future technology, the Racing Lancers used at the Dakar reflected Mitsubishi's ongoing efforts to minimize the automobile's environmental footprint with such features as clean diesel power, bio-fuel capability and plant-based "green plastic" body components.

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