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 Tinytot (MO) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned my 2008 Lancer ES since they first came out. I have had only a few minor maintenance issues. The warranty covered them all. It is a very dependable vehicle. I get better gas mileage then they say this car's average is. Maybe it is because mine is a manual and I drive for the most part normal to conservative. I drive a mixture of in town and on the highways, and I consistently get 28-32 mpg. The best I have ever gotten was on a back country road with my speed ranging 50-60 mph was 38 mpg. I am very happy with my car and never giving it up! :)"
By mrbigglesworth (WA) on Sunday, May 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "cornering, acceleration, wet weather handling"
Cons: "cheaper interior materials, not as sleek as bmw"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I used to have a Mini Cooper S, A4, and test drove the BMW 335. Hands down, the Evo MR is the most fun to drive. It's pretty much like a race car but mine's loaded with all the options so I don't feel like it's a huge step down from my A4 (except for the cheaper interior materials and lack of power seats). My next car will need to be an M3 otherwise anything else feels like a step down in performance!"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Zbrose (FL) on Friday, May 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Will put the biggest smile on your face :D"
Cons: "Spark plugs and clutch are weak."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Perfect car for those looking for performance. This car makes you feel like a real race car driver. The power and handling is like nothing on the road, for the price range. I plan on keeping this one for a very long time. A simple boost controler and tune will scare the living heck out of your passengers. With that and a few bolt ons its easy to get into the 350-360 awhp range."
By EVO Owner (OH) on Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, traction/stability, performance"
Cons: "Poor mpg, uncomfortable for long trips."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I should probably start out by saying that I've been obsessed with the EVO X ever since its debut in 2008. I didn't care too much for the previous models because of how "boxy" they looked (same applies to the STI, although with the STI, they're no longer boxy, but the EVO X styling just did something for me). But I've always had a huge amount of respect everytime I would drive by an older gen EVO or STI knowing how much power is just waiting to be unleashed under the hood. Finally in 2011, I built up the courage to pursue my dream car. I found a wicked white EVO X with heated leather seats, moonroof, and navigation. Granted this is pretty much fully loaded, it was still very rare to find this combination. Prior to this I had test drove a used 2008 with 50000 miles on it and I was very impressed with the feel and responsiveness. Shortly before that, I had the opportunity to drive a BMW 330xi with the 300 hp twin turbo engine. Needless to say, I preferred the EVO X. I've had the car for about a year and a half now and I'll list the pros and cons that I've found in the sections below. Pros: - Amazing handling: This car handles like a dream. Nice tight steering and it feels like you're very much "one" with the car at all times. - S-AWC: The traction/stability control on this thing is out of this world. Let's just say it saved my life one time when I was taking a curved ramp a little too fast and it was wet from rain. My tail end started to lose grip and just as I thought I was about to wipe out and crash, it was as if the car knew exactly what was happening and it fixed itself. Within half a second, I had regained traction and avoided what could've been a miserable accident. - Performance: With the 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, the accelerator is just begging to be floored. Sometimes I really have to constrain myself from driving like a maniac. Cons: - MPG: Unfortunately with any performance vehicle, that performance comes with a price and typically it's less than desirable gas mileage. I average about 20 mpg and with having to use premium fuel, I end up coughing up quite a bit to keep this car going, especially since this is my daily driver. - Comfort: Again, just about any high performance vehicle will be equipped with a sports suspension, which is quite a bit tighter than the average suspension. So with that you tend to feel every bump in the road. Add to that the hardened recaro bucket seats (which I love by the way, but they just make you feel every bump even more), than this car becomes less then ideal for long-distance driving. Overall, I bought this car fully aware of the cons, but to me the pros greatly out-weigh the cons and to me it was worth every penny. I plan on keeping this car for a long long time."
By bolshevik (International) on Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Only that it is a pretty car"
Cons: "Almost everything about it is bad"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car used with little mileage, so far I had to spent over a thousand dollars in fixes. The mechanics of the car are true low-quality Mitsubishi; I had to replace an engine valve, do engine clean-up, injection cleaning, and the car is still failing. I've replaced the tires, had it aligned and balanced and the car vibrates over 60Mph and has strange metallic noises and instability. I also have a Toyota Yaris 2008, over 115K miles on it and I haven't had to put a SINGLE dollar on the car except for the oil and tire maintenance. It makes me feel that Mitsubishi has even worse quality than American cars. This car is so bad that I'm willing to go on a negative loan, lose all I've paid and put the remaining of the Lancer on a new loan even if I have to pay double what I pay now. It is very likely what I will end up doing."
By ghost (NY) on Thursday, February 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, performance, price"
Cons: "Interior, ride comfort, cabin noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Price and performance are always my main 2 concerns. This car delivers in leaps and bounds. Faster than it's competition, the STi (cheaper as well), more space than it's other competitions 370z/mustang/etc, and not to mention it's way better looking. Highly recommended"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful