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Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) will launch the five-door Lancer Sportback next summer as 2010 model.

The model was launched recently in the UK and Europe and is also sold widely in Asia-Pacific region markets. It marked Mitsubishi’s return to the European C-segment five-door hatchback market after a 15-year absence.

California-based MMNA said the launch was part of “refocused efforts to introduce new models designed to meet evolving consumer demands”.

“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 at MMNA.
Mitsubishi said the car would be “instantly recognisable” as a Lancer from the front, while being completely fresh from the C-pillar rearward. The design includes a sloping rear door with integrated “roof wing”.

The Sportback’s overall length is just slightly longer than the Lancer four-door sedan, and includes one-touch auto-folding rear seats. To add still more volume, the rear cargo floor of the GTS version can be lowered three inches (75mm), yielding 52.7cu ft maximum cargo space. The roof will also conveniently accommodate a plug-in Thule Sport Rack for additional flexibility.

Sportback GTS models feature Mitsubishi’s 168hp 2.4-litre I4 petrol engine that develops 167lb ft of torque, with either five-speed manual or six-speed CVT automatic transmission.

The Sportback Ralliart has a 237hp two-litre MIVEC turbocharged engine with 253 lb ft of torque.