The Lancer's styling was focused on keeping the car as aerodynamic as possible: it had a long 'aero' nose which gave the car the car superior drag resistance. It had a tumblehome (a narrowing of the body in the upper parts for greater stability) and a turn under, or curvature towards the underside. It used a monocoque body structure for strength. It was the first car in 1973 to be certified by the US Environment Protection Agency as having a low-pollution engine.
With its strong, lightweight body, it quickly became a sensation on the world rally scene. It 1974 it won its debut Safari Rally and thereafter continued to notch up victory after victory.