The aging Mirage was finally replaced in 2002 by the Lancer, which would go on to become an iconic symbol of the brand, while the Mirage continued as a coupe only. In mid-2002, the popular rally edition would be unveiled, the Lancer Revolution, offering a beefed up engine that made 271 hp and boasted shiny 17 wheels. In 2004, the Lancer Sportback was introduced, bringing a whole new hatchback look to the popular Lancer lineup. The Lancer body style was redesigned from top to bottom with new bumpers, new fascias, powerful halogen headlights and a numerous other style updates.
In 2005, Mitsubishi discontinued the Sportback model and did away with the LS trim. New wheels were added to the O-Z Rally, and various updates were made to different trim levels and packages. New fascias, running lights, airbag sensors (front seats) and wheel covers were featured for 2006, with subtle updates made to trims and optional packages. The Lancer would careen through 07 unchanged, as the carmaker released a brand new design for 08. It offered improved driving, a new interior and exterior, and a laundry list of proprietary features. For 2009, the popular Ralliart model debuted, boasting 237 hp and sport-tuned equipment and sportier styling. Shuffling between options and trims took place as the company moved its new design onto the marketplace.
10 was the year for stylish tweaks to the new design, with a revamped and shortened antenna, sill extension improvements, upgraded tail lamps, and a new wagon body style. The electric-assist power steering was introduced in 11, as was brake regeneration technology, which now featured drum brakes. An optional backup camera was offered for the 12 model, with only minor changes being made throughout the 2013-2014 body years.