The Lancer was never as popular of a compact car as the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla. But the car had a dedicated community of enthusiasts behind it. The styling of the Lancer was always out of the box, and the performance of the Lancer was excellent (via Readers Digest).
The Lancer was discontinued after the sales numbers dropped. There were better options in the compact car segment than the Lancer. The final incarnation of the Lancer had a radical new design at first, but the hype surrounding the car quickly faded away.