Driving a small car in heavy traffic daily means responsiveness and agility are top priority. The Lancer is much more responsive than similar cars I have driven and has never let me down.
I don't expect much out of entry-level cars but the base engine is 152 hp and performs great. Originally I thought the CVT engine was loud but it is still quieter than the Focus or Corolla. Accelerates great and easily gets around slow moving traffic.
I thought I was downsizing from a Forenza, but the Lancer is actually roomier than anything similar that I have driven. There is good visibility around the car and it is a comfortable drive.
The Lancer greatly improved their styling in 2008. The design is getting a little stale now but a big improvement over what I used to consider an unimpressive visual design prior to 2008. Looks like a sportscar but I can keep my 4 doors.
I picked this car out online and the local dealership made no fuss over my choice and setup the test drive right away. They did not try to sell me something else. The service department has been professional when I take it in for scheduled maintenance.