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Mitsubishi Adding Inexpensive All-Wheel-Drive Lancer SE: Report

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Even as Mistubishi's Lancer Evolution heads in a new direction for its next generation, the rest of the Lancer lineup is getting more in touch with its roots--or at least with the pavement, gaining a new all-wheel drive model, according to the latest report.

A new model, dubbed the Lancer SE, will get all-wheel drive like the Ralliart and Evo, but without the bigger price tags of the turbo models: it should start around $20,000, according to Automotive News.

That would make the Lancer SE the least-expensive all-wheel-drive model in the company's lineup and one of the least expensive all-wheel-drivers on the market.

The next Evolution, on the other hand, is likely to see market pressures change what we'll get from the highest-performance Lancer. In March, Mitsubishi chief Osamu Masuko said, "as the markets needs and demands change, Mitsubishi is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve. The new direction, the technologies involved, and corresponding products will be disclosed in due course."

Among those technologies is rumored to be a hybrid powertrain. We're still a good way out from the next Evolution, however, so things may yet change.

As for the Lancer SE: more affordable, fun-to-drive all-wheel-powered cars are always a good thing in our book. The Lancer SE is expected to launch this fall, likely as a 2012 model.

[Automotive News -- sub. req.]

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