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 dano on Sunday, September 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Car is fast and responsive in country or city. Fast excelleration to get off the the stop signs to main lanes quickly."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Ralliart2012 on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "listed above"
Cons: "listed above"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Car is exactly what you would expect from a small turbo compact. It has reallly low end torque, but at about 5th gear it begins to dog alittle. Sportronic shift is nice especially the multi-transmission mode. I don't use it much though. Eats up gas, disappointing especially in comparison to fuel milege on diesel turbo's out there. Don't be discouraged if insurance companies try to jack up your rates, there are insurance groups that will rate your car on your driving record alone, not just the stereotype of this car. Disappointed with the functional air scoops in the hood. Don't stand out like a WRX and are very restricted even though it looks open from the outside. 2 odd issues I have had, 1.) don't put your car keys in your pocket with Samsung S5 and expect to unlock the car with the keyless entry. The signal gets cancelled out. 2.) I lost all shift control of the odd gears after the car slid on an icy bridge and the antilock brakes went crazy. Had to restart the car to get 1,3,5 gears back. Overall great car, but if you are not used to driving a turbocharged engine, it takes some getting used to."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JHunt on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives great"
Cons: "Tinfoil doors, PDR guy becomes your best friend"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car is the best handling one in its class, do not even compare to those bland commuter mobiles with electric power steering. Advanced drivers appreciate the sharpness of steering, braking, and throttle response (no turbo lag). Manual transmission version (50 state emissions) of the GT has plenty of midrange power. No need to rev the engine. Being fast is more than just the 0-60 acceleration figure, its the cars ability to maintain the current velocity, braking for curves is many times optional with this car."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By KRE on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price and very reliable!"
Cons: "Tire pressure sensors no good."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The tire pressure sensors are no good in winter. Any time it is 20 degrees or less outside, they tell you your tires are low whether they are or not. You'll have to look at that warning on the screen until the weather warms up. Aside from that: great little car! Terrific mileage, and it has never not started for me no matter how cold it gets."
24 people out of 47 found this review helpful
By John on Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable, fun to drive, reliable, sporty"
Cons: "Poor interior, poor speaker quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I bought this car used with 22k miles, and the car now has 68k miles. I have not had to take the car to the shop for any reason other than maintenance. The engine is very reliable so far. I really enjoy the continuous transmission - the car never shifts and it feels really smooth. The road noise on this car is terrible. It is really, really loud on the highway on all the tires I have tried, unfortunately. I think that the molding on the car is just cheaply made, so a lot of sound gets through. That being said, unfortunately the interior is very poor quality. So many things have already broken. The fabric seats are very cheap and stain easily. If you as much as sit on it after swimming in a pool, the water stains will haunt you forever. Three out of the four vent adjustment knobs have broken, so we can't adjust which direction the air blows anymore. Also, the CD player broke as the car reached about 40k miles (radio works fine, though). Called the dealer and they said the warranty on it expired at 36k miles, though the warranty on the rest of the car doesn't expire until 60k. Bummer. Other than that, the car looks very nice and sporty on the outside. For the price, it is a great value. I would recommend that you spend a little more and get something much better, though."
19 people out of 38 found this review helpful
By E on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, good mileage, sporty look"
Cons: "issues with tire sensor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my first car and I love it. I love the mileage I get, I enjoy how cool it looks and the fact that I have a 5 speed manual that really picks up if I wanted to. It has a 6 cd changer which is cool and the Rockford Fosgate speakers that it came with makes it sound incredible. The only issue I have experienced is that my air stem for the tire broke and I had to buy a sensor for it. It fixed the problem although my car won't register that the sensor is fixed because the tpms service keeps coming up on my dashboard."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful