The year 2000 saw the release of the eighth-generation Lancer Cedia, (meaning - CENTURY DIAMOND, released at the brink of the new millennium) though in some markets the seventh generation Lancer continued (becoming increasingly uncompetitive), built at Mitsubishi's Thai plant. The new model was available in sedan and station wagon forms. The Mirage, apart from the export models, became a different car in Japan that was unrelated to the Lancer. In Europe, the Lancer was not offered in some countries, being too close to the size of the Dutch-built Carisma, so the Evo VII model sold there bore the Carisma name.
For North America, facelifts for the Lancer Cedia (known simply as Lancer in the US) occurred in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years. In 2004, the front facia was changed and brought it into line with the Mitsubishi corporate look. In 2005, the grille was changed to include more fins to reflect a closer similarity to the North American Galant. For 2006, the facia was changed again from a bridged facia to one with an open vent after Mitsubishi received complaints from current owners regarding its similarity in appearance to General Motors Division Pontiac's corporate look, and to bring the appearance closer to its bigger brother, the Evolution. As of 2006, the Mitsubishi Lancer wagon is now exclusively sold in Canada and Australia.
In Pakistan, this variant was launched in 2005 with cosmetic changes from the front and the back. Thai production was switched to the new model, and in all markets except for India the seventh-generation model was no longer imported, four years after the Cedia's introduction. India received the new Lancer in 2006.
North America received two additional models to the Lancer line in 2004. The Lancer Cedia station wagon was introduced as the Lancer Sportback, and the Lancer Ralliart, a high level equipment package for the sedan that allowed the car was also introduced. Both of these cars came equipped with Mitsubishi's 4G69 engine (rated at 160 hp/162ftÂ·lbf for the Sportback, and 162 hp/162ftÂ·lbf for the Ralliart), included a new, stiffer suspension package that improved handling and lowered the cars stance by 1 centimeter, 16" alloy wheels, front bucket seats borrowed from Japan's Mitsubishi Evolution GT-A, Fog Lamps, and a new aerodynamic ground package. The Ralliart also came equipped with a cosmetic rear deck spoiler, and clear rear tail lights. The Sportback was equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission, with no option for a manual transmission, while the Ralliart came with a 5-speed manual transmission with an option for the 4-speed automatic. Due to Mitsubishi's deteriorating financial situation and slow sales, the Lancer Sportback wagon was cancelled one year after its release.
In Australia, the eighth generation Lancer was released in July 2002 with the 2.0L 4G94 engine. It was available in ES, LS, VR-X and Exceed trim levels. As with the US and other markets, it underwent a facelift for the 2004 model year. In August 2005, all Lancers were upgraded to a 2.4L 'MIVEC' engine, producing 115 Kw (154hp). The upgraded engine also saw a change in trim levels and upgraded equipment. The current lineup now consists of ES, LS (15" alloys, more luxurious interior) and VR-X (similar to US Ralliart) models.
In some European markets, the Lancer began to take the place of the Carisma in 2004. It is powered by a 1.3l SOHC 4G13, 1.6l SOHC 4G18 engine and a 2.0l DOHC 4G63 (normal-aspirated version of the engine used in Lancer Evolution).