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#30

in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,435 - $18,550
Original MSRP: $15,295 - $28,095
MPG: 24 City / 33 Hwy
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2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer gets the job done, but isn’t a class favorite. The automotive press prefers the more expensive GTS, Ralliart Sedan and Ralliart Sportback models for their fun driving experiences. The automotive press’ biggest complaint is the Lancer’s engine noise. 

  • "While the Lancer DE and ES are reasonably rewarding to drive, the GTS model is the clear choice for anyone looking for a more spirited driving experience. The new 2.4-liter engine has more low-end power and doesn't sound like a giant blender above 3,000 rpm, making for a friendlier drive whether you're on a twisty road or slogging through traffic." -- Edmunds
  • "Running a mountain twisty, the Sportback proved it's a good balance of ride comfort and handling, even better than the WRX, which skews to rather soft and roll prone." -- Car and Driver
  • "Wind noise is well-checked, but coarse-surface tire thrum is fairly high in all models. Lancer's crude engine note is a sore point. It's especially intrusive in rapid acceleration or at higher speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We drove through familiar mountains all day in a number of Lancers, and during the best section with the least traffic, we were in the Ralliart, so we were really able to open it up and toss it around. And while the extra power is appreciated, there seemed to be way too much roll, dive and squat for this to be a serious contender for performance buyers." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer DE and DS are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower. The DE and ES Lancers are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 152 horsepower, and the GTS has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 168 horsepower. The Ralliart Sportback model is offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that fires out 237 horsepower, a significant leap compared to its counterparts. Despite the obvious power differences between the engines, reviewers say the most significant difference in performance on is between transmissions. Test drivers prefer the light shifting of the standard manual transmission to the not-so-seamless continuously variable transmission. The GTS has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower.

The Lancer’s EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.0-liter automatic, 24/33 mpg for the 2.0-liter five-speed manual, 23/30 mpg for the 2.4-liter automatic and 22/31 mpg for the 2.4-liter five-speed manual. The 2.0-liter automatic with all-wheel drive has the lowest fuel economy: 17/25 mpg. This model also requires premium fuel.

  • "The 2.0-liter Lancers only have adequate pickup with manual transmission, and they're borderline sluggish with the CVT. GTS models with the 2.4-liter engine are stronger in all situations. All feel weakest when pulling away from a stop. Ralliart is robust once rolling." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Most folks will opt for the CVT, but the five-speed manual is a much better choice with its slick shifter and easily modulated clutch. With the base 2.0-liter mill in particular, the CVT tends to sap power, pairing with this already noisy engine to fill the cabin with shrill sounds reminiscent of irritated livestock." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the 2011 Lancer handles well, especially the Ralliart Sportback model. Reviewers say the 2011 Lancer DE and ES brake just fine for daily drivers, but they don’t handle as well as the GTS. Some reviewers note, however, that the ES is better for highway driving because it’s less aggressive and has a quieter ride. Reviewers prefer the Ralliart Sportback, which is confident, agile and has less body roll.

  • "The DE and ES exhibit decent grip in turns, but the steering is not especially direct or communicative. Though the brakes feel strong, nosedive is evident in quick stops. The tauter GTS is more agile and fun." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The laws of physics dictate that it's easier to make a small car handle well than it is to give it a smooth highway ride. Still, we were impressed with just how tenacious and composed the Lancer GTS proved to be on twisty roads. Out on the highway, we preferred the less-aggressive setup of the ES model, which resulted in a more comfortable and less noisy - but still not quiet - ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Corners are attacked with a tangibly stronger connection through the wheel and more confidence in the grip, and there's no discernible added flex from the giant hole cut for the hatchback." -- Car and Driver on the Ralliart Sportback Trim
  • "Run through tight turns, the Ralliart isn't as sharp as the Evo X, but it turns in quicker than the Lancer GTS and has significantly less body roll." -- Edmunds

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