By KBB.com Editors
Although the super-hot Lancer Evolution springs from the humble Lancer platform, its popularity and cult-like following haven't trickled down to its lesser siblings. Not that the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer is a poor choice - far from it. But, in an extremely competitive segment with such heavy hitters as the Honda Civic and new Ford Focus – not to mention the new 40-mpg Hyundai Elantra – the middle-of-the-road Lancer can easily be overlooked. After receiving a thorough makeover last year, Mitsubishi continues to load the Lancer with the high-tech features so important to today's younger buyers, but without raising the car's price. Keeping the Lancer's price in check is a smart move and one that might finally help the worthy Lancer finally get the notice it's due.
Those looking for a low-cost economy sedan that doesn't look like a low-cost economy sedan will find the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer an appealing choice. Its numerous variations range from timid to turbocharged, and feature lots of cool technology features, such as the FUSE hands-free voice control system.
While it may look solid from the outside, the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer just isn't built with the same attention to detail and materials found on such cars as the Mazda Mazda3, Honda Civic or Ford Focus. The interior is also a bit noisier than we're accustomed to.
Changes to the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer include an increase in fuel economy across all models, the addition of the FUSE hands-free link system to the GTS and Ralliart (it's optional on the ES), and the addition of electric-assist power steering on DE and ES models.
Driving Impressions In order to make a small car ride as well as it handles, engineers must sometimes manhandle the laws of physics; judging by our brief test drive in the 2011...Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, it would appear the engineers have won the battle. On twisting mountain roads, we were impressed by the GTS' composure, as well as its tenacious ability to cling to the pavement. Although Lancers equipped with manual transmissions are a second quicker to 60 mph than their automatic counterparts, we truly came to prefer the fast shifts afforded by the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When not tearing through unpopulated mountain passes, we found the smooth and considerably less noisy ES trim to be far more compatible with daily driving needs. Although the ES' cabin is less raucous than in the GTS, it still allows in a fair amount of wind and tire noise.
40-Gigabyte Hard Drive
Lancer's hard drive-based navigation system responds more quickly than more common DVD-based units. It also allows you to store up to six gigabytes of digital music taken directly from CDs, or about 1,200 songs.
Keyless Entry and Start
The available FAST Key system lets you unlock and start the Lancer without ever touching the key/transmitter.
If we had to describe the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer interior in two words, we'd choose minimalist and contemporary. Sure, the design is clean, but the abundance of mid-grade plastics is a bit of turn off, lacking in both richness (see Volkswagen) and refinement (see Mazda). Seat fabric, seat design and interior features vary by trim level, successively growing nicer as the dollar signs move upward. The GTS features the most appealing interior, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, deeply bolstered front seats, chrome interior door handles, and high-contrast gauge faces.Exterior
The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer distances itself from the common compact with its wide stance, tall roof, and rally car inspired styling. Mitsubishi says the massive front grille was inspired by the air intakes found on fighter jets - an interesting source of inspiration, but one that works quite nicely in this instance. While the base DE, with its black trim and 16-inch wheel covers, doesn't inspire much enthusiasm for driving, the ES projects a far more appealing image, wearing 16-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille and colored door handles and mirrors in place of the DE's black plastic. GTS and Ralliart trims stand out ever further, with 18-inch styled wheels, a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust outlets, and front and side body extensions.
A base Lancer DE includes a four-speaker, 140-watt CD/MP3 sound system, power windows, side-curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), tilt wheel and a trip computer. If the ES model is within your reach, we'd recommend taking that step up, as it adds air conditioning, power locks, steering wheel mounted controls for the cruise control and audio, pre-wiring for a Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity option, an auxiliary audio input jack and remote keyless entry. GTS models gain 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport suspension, bigger brakes, a 2.4-liter engine, automatic climate control, FUSE with Bluetooth hands-free communication, a USB port, and sport bucket seats. The Ralliart adds a 237-horsepower turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive and a six-speed twin-clutch Sportronic Shift automatic transmission.
Some of the Lancer's most desirable options are a hard drive-based navigation and audio system, and the Sun and Sound Package, which includes FAST Key keyless entry and start, a 710-Watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system, FUSE hands-free linking system and a sunroof. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) serves as the automatic transmission option.
For 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer DE and ES trims, the only powertrain decision facing a buyer is whether to stick with the five-speed manual or go for the continuously variable transmission (CVT). The GTS, however, gets a more robust 2.4-liter engine, which shows noticeable improvements over the 2.0-liter in the areas of vibration and low-end torque. The CVT-equipped GTS model includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and six simulated gears that effectively give the driver control of a quick-shifting manu-matic. The Ralliart trim gains a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 237 horsepower and all-wheel drive. Lancer DE and ES models sold in California are PZEV-rated and deliver 143 horsepower and 143 pound-feet of torque.
2.0-liter in-line 4
148 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
146 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 (manual), 25/33 (automatic)
2.4-liter in-line 4
168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 (manual), 23/30 (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged in-line 4
237 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
253 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500-4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
By Iain061 on Thursday, January 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, value, styling, rear leg room"
Cons: "on average gas mileage (but as good at the Golf)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"OK this car is not the latest and greatest in technology but who cares! The car is fun to drive (I have a MT), it looks great and I actually like the simple and sparse interior. I traded in a VW Golf and although these are highly rated the quality was poor, gas mileage not great and even changing a light bulb was a major issue. The Mitsu has more room, is cheaper, drives just as well, has a better warranty and according the UK site "Reliability Index" is the number one rated compact car. Not sure why the experts give this car such consistently mediocre reviews. I guess because it does not push the limits on the latest technology or engineering then it gets slated. Wait until all these cars with fancy electronics and CVT transmissions break down and my MT Mitsu will still be running."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By RFH on Thursday, January 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car to modify. fun to drive"
Cons: "Poor tire selection when new very bad in winter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Lancer GT is one of the secret little cars out there that most people ignore. test drive on the GT. If you're looking for a car with all the bells and whistles don't need to drive . Then look at some other automakers."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Adriel on Sunday, December 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,298overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive, Efficient, Comfortable, Reliable"
Cons: "Cheap Interior, A bit of tire and road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this car for the past 6 years and I love it. It may be a bit weird looking at the outside but its really comfortable for me and my family. The only thing that have happened to the car is that one (or more - really not sure) of the ABS sensors is damaged but it stills works except for the wheels that have the sensor damaged and that the Air Compressor died at 5 years of use but you can replace it only costed 140 dollars with my personal mechanic. One of the bad things of the Lancer is the interior because its pretty much of full hard plastics and that's not great but the car has been reliable comfortable and the best part the 2.4 liter with the 5 speed is an incredible combination and its fun to drive for being a family sedan so that's great and the best part is that the car is very fuel efficient for what it is (and how I drive)"
36 people out of 62 found this review helpful
By MadManAndrew on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, nimble, quick, intuitive, comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love almost everything about my lancer. It's quick, handles very well, definitely the most comfortable car I've ever been in, the display in the gauge cluster is very well thought out and the touch screen radio works flawlessly and is very intuitive. The voice control also works very well. Honestly, the only complaint I have is that it has several squeaks/rattles/etc., even at such low mileage. I have been able to track down a couple and wiggle/push/lube things to make them stop but some are just incurable it seems."
28 people out of 43 found this review helpful
By T. on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "warranty term, sporty look, awd"
Cons: "gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased this 2015 Lancer SE because it was the cheapest brand new AWD vehicle. The gas mileage isn't great but the car is perfect for someone who does a lot of traveling but wants the added security of AWD. I drive about 55 miles per day and avergae around 26mpg in this vehicle. You also can't beat the 5 year bumper to bumper warranty!"
38 people out of 71 found this review helpful
By jackie on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive,fast,turbo,AWD, mean looking"
Cons: "jerky transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have so much that I can say about this car, but I'll keep it short. If you want a car that can pick up speed fast when you're already going 70 mph, the Lancer Ralliart is awesome! If you frequently get stuck in stop and go traffic, you will likely get annoyed. This car is a little jerky in stop and go situations as it straddles between 1st and 2nd gear. You can feel the engine wishing it could just open up and GO! The interior is a mix of sporty and luxury, but more sporty. I drive 1-1/2 every day too and from work and this car makes it so much more enjoyable. You never get tired of hearing the turbo either. I've taken this car in off road situations and it handled really well. I live in AZ and there's soft dirt that 2wd cars get stuck in and that didn't happen with the ralliart. I probably won't get rid of this car until its repair bills are more than it's worth. I haven't had to do anything to it except regular maintenance (tires, brakes, oil) If you are thinking about getting a ralliart, DO IT ALREADY! !"
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful