First drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.5 in UAE & Oman

First drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.5 in UAE & Oman


After a long break, I have finally decided to write another review in here. Think Mitsubishi Lancer; yeah, think! I bet the vast majority of you will now think of a silver-coloured bland-and-boring rental runner crying out loud in agony on the last lane of a motorway while trying with all its might to catch up with a Toyota delivery van! Get a manual variant and you may be able to get a glimpse of the delivery boy too. Yeah, that was what it was and that is what it still is! So why the review? Because what I am going to write is not about the Lancer, but its newer sibling, the Lancer EX.

The Mitsubishi Lancer EX, which debuted in the UAE markets in late 2007, comes with two engines – an economical 1.5-litre and an interesting 2.0-litre. The car I am reviewing here is the economical 1.5-litre variant, which a friend of mine used to own. It is the top-spec model in the 1.5-litre range which, apart from the usual power options, comes with sunroof, auto a/c, 16-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting system, a 6-CD changer head unit, rear spoiler and steering controls.

What hell of a difference the EX is from the regular Lancer, that visual disaster which every other driver in the UAE would have rented at least once in their lifetime. And that exactly was Mitsubishi’s intention when they completely redesigned the Lancer and came up with what can be called one of the best looking designs in its segment. Park it near an insanely-costlier Jetta, and the VW owner would be left in nothing but utter dismay. The shark face, Alfa-Romeo inspired tail lamps, high-in-the-air rear spoiler, and side skirts, all give it a real sporty look. However on the flip side, there are a few flaws one may have to pay in turn for the good looks; the rear spoiler in the car is so high that it actually blocks the rear view, adding to a back that sits high already. Amateurs may need parking sensors to make sure they do not bump into anything while reversing. Apart from the rear, outward visibility is fine.

Talking about the interior, it’s mostly hard plastics all around – but unlike some costlier Toyotas, the quality is significantly better, and the fit and finish is flawless. It has ample headroom and legroom for front driver and passenger; rear passengers do have large headroom, while the 6+ footers might find their knees touching the front seats. In terms of overall space, it easily goes past the Civic and Corolla. Seats are mildly bolstered and very comfortable too. Only gripe we had with the car’s interior design is the excessive reflection of the dashboard on the windscreen – and that becomes irritating sometimes as it tends to become a major distraction, especially during sunny afternoons.

The interior isn’t very silent either – with wind noise being heard at speeds over 100 kph, some tyre noise and engine noise at speeds above 140 kph; the engine noise becomes particularly audible under hard throttle, more than the Civic.

Once on the roll, the Lancer exhibits superb ride comfort with only slight firmness and excellent cornering limits. Though slightly firm it does soak bumps without being too harsh on the passengers. There is moderate body roll, but the road grip is admirable and it is probably the closest Japanese rival to the segment leader, the Focus. But once over the limit, the driver will be given a warm delight with what can be called, catastrophic understeer – and this is exactly when the difference between this Japanese shark and the European Ford become evident. Don’t get me wrong though, that warning is only for the ‘fast and furious’ amateurs who don’t have enough money for an Evo. Braking is linear and is aided by ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.

Among other passive safety features, it has the Adaptive Front Lighting system; generally found in higher end vehicles, it is a system that detects steering motion and lights up a turn as you approach it thus providing much better visibility in pitch darkness. And that helped us in areas like the Dibba – Masafi road in the UAE and the Adam-Thumrayt highway in Oman, where one would not find even a 5-watt bulb for street lighting. Add to it the bright bi-xenon headlamps covering a humungous area, and night driving is a breeze.

The new generation Lancer EX is propelled by a choice of two engines – a 2.0-litre motor putting out 152 hp and a 1.5-litre motor netting around 107 hp. Though the 2.0-litre motor is more than adequate, the 1.5-litre engine is severely underpowered for a rather heavy car. Mated to a basic 4-speed automatic gearbox, it takes a painful 13.2 seconds, with a/c off, to hit 100 kph and it tops out at 199 kph if you have the patience. Anyway, it does score good when it comes to fuel efficiency. The best mileage we have got till date from this machine is a tremendous 5.6 litres/100 km, covering well over 850 km from one single tank, and that was on our trip to Salalah. The usual trip computer readings hover around 6.8 litres/100 km in mixed driving conditions, which is again a very good figure for such a car. If what concerns you more is acceleration and speed, go for the bigger 2.0-litre engine mated to a CVT transmission which can hit 100 kph in about 8.9 seconds, a figure that makes some of the bigger boys in the game really sweat!

To summarise, the latest iteration of the iconic Lancer is indeed a move in the right direction by Mitsubishi after their long saga of cars with uninspiring designs and boring options. With very good options, fierce looks and neat pricing, the Lancer gives good competition to its rivals. Mitsubishis are known for excellent reliability too. But very weak after-sales support and sub-standard service quality from dealers still somewhat afflict its image. We ourselves have had some bad times with the dealers when it came to servicing the car. Add to that expensive maintenance and spare parts cost which is more than some of the European and American marques. People who drive Mitsubishis buy them solely because of brand image which the dealers are successfully dirtying as much as they can. And this car definitely would not add to the damage – it is a respite instead.

Story and photos by Vivek “Oberoi” Menon.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Vivz…
    I still remember tht time when we opened up the whole dashboard while trying to find the aux point beneath the dash built-in audio systems..

    My best memory with this car is the crazy Accord chase… Im sure tht fella wud never ever forget his whole life the shame of being beaten by a 1.5.. 😀

  2. Also, u forgot to mention the irritating thermostat.. which keeps cutting off the compressor when the A/C is on Auto mode & the car is idling or when parked!

  3. Oh yes..missed out the auto a/c mode thing…and that accord guy must’ve got rid of his accord the very next day..hehe..

  4. I totally agree ,i owned a outlander v6 ,with evey possible accessory in the book.I faced the same problems in terms of service .The last fight i had is still fresh in my mind after 2 years.The car was the best packaged one in the market for that price.But it wasnt powerful inspite being a V6 and weighing only 1.65 ton.It wasnt fuel efficent either and sometimes gave me shocking tank rangesSuprisingly my chevy trailblazer gives the same mileage with a 4.2 engine.Over and above the torque steer was apalling in the normal 2wd mode.Well they sorted the rest of it in the upgraded version.That said in the month of october 2007 when i got the outlander the lancer was my intial choice and mind you it was only 61 k F/o with the contract ,warranty blah.The 2 litre is actually a blast to drive .Mash please put the fuel efficency on the 2.0 litre as well ,just curious…

    • i forgot to add that fight scenes at the dealer service center is a very common sight 😀 :D…everytime I have gone there for service, I have witnessed a fight…

  5. I want to add one more thing if i remember correctly when i went to pick the outlander after i had crashed it , from their body shop in DIP i vaguely remember seeing the estimate.The cost of rear ending an armada at 10 kph speed was 32 k.BTW the the HID headlight assembly was a whopping 15 k a pair!!!i would like somebody to verify this .BTW the pajero HID light was cheaper, but i couldnt remember the value.Talk about expensive spares…

    • the cost of one HID headlamp unit for this one is around 5-6k if my memory is right..15k is heights; for sure atleast 75% of this is nothing but pure profit margin for habtoor!

  6. Mitsubishi Cancer

  7. Excellent review…

  8. ive driven the rent a car lancer 1.3(horribly slow) & 1.6 glx lancer.Mileage for the mitsubishi cars seems poor.

  9. Nice article. And Happy to here Vivek Oberoi is a DA member….. LOL 😛

  10. can you tell which route did you take to salalah and whether u halted in muscat or took the interior route?

    • never took the interior route since while going. and it was a straight drive, never halted anywhere. took the main roads where everything was marked clearly and we never really had to rely on our GPS. We crossed into Oman via the border at Hatta and then followed the road. I think you officially enter Muscat before taking a diversion to Nizwa, but the exit comes well before Seeb airport. After taking exit follow the winding roads for a long long time until you find an interchange exit to Salalah. Best thing to do is follow the signboards and you will never get lost :). Once you take the exit to Salalah, switch your gps on and make sure you refuel at every pump you find since there aren’t many pumps on the way – probably 1 every 300 kms until you hit Salalah.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      You could’ve made this more interesting by driving through Sohar.

    • i thought this route passes through Sohar..is there another one?? Or are we talking of the same roads?? 😀

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      …during a riot

  11. I dont work with dealers… Im sending my rides to my trusted mechanic… It saves me time, money and headache…

  12. i have a 2009 model of this 1.5 version, and i love it ! Excellent fuel economy (which is important to me)…however, yes its slow, but i don’t care, am more into quite and peaceful driving anyways 😀

    now, i have three things i need to mention here:

    1) the part about the dealer is…err…abit incorrect. I have regularily sent my Lancer to the dealer ever since 2009, every 5000 kms (now odo reads 29,980 kms) and the service, although its free for three years, their quality of work is very good, and i have never experienced a problem with them. My car feels so fresh after their magic. Yes i agree about the spare parts part, as they are expensive as hell…for no particular reason.

    I need someone who has this car to confirm or deny the following two comments:

    2) During winter, there is a strange kind of noise that comes from the front tyres over humps (like a squeeking sound of rubber, and/or rubber itself rubbing against some other rubbery thing)…this sound comes to complete mute during summer..has anyone experienced this ? My tyres are still the stock ones (the dunlop).

    3) Another kind of noise began to appear in the sunroof when i close the sunroof, and when i retract it closed from its tilting upwards position. Its a zzzzzzzzzzzz kind of sound, and its not audible while opening/tilting. Only closing…i tried to lubricate and grease the sliders…but no luck to mute it..i consulted the dealer and they said its a motor problem, and they will replace it, but the motor seems to be coming from Japan as they don’t have it in stocks. The last time i checked on them they said its gonna take time because of the recent hit of natural disaster in Japan. Its been two and a half weeks already and no one contacted me so am giving them a call tomorrow again for the second time…

    Other than the noise problems (which i seem to experience alot in my car hehehehe) my lancer is an amazing car, and am very happy with it..

    • Habtoor should be happy that they have one customer who is satisfied 😀 …seriously bro, you are the first one to tell me something good about Habtoor :)…anyway, enjoy the ownership :)…

  13. i had a kia picanto 1.0 and this korean car was much better then the f*** lancer that i drove 1 year back. its very noice on speed above 100 Kmhs and hard steering while, very indirect steering. But strange and surprisingly the kia picanto was very direct on the wheel (direct reaction) n it was fast/er as the lancer..even with ac and navigation system.

    but the lancer is almost 2x the price.

    now i have pajero lol

  14. Hi All, im one of mitsubishi fans ,and this car really much better than the old version of lancer,sure 1.5 model will be suitable for long type of journey,and it will save your money for petrol, you know guys mitshbishi is good and nice but for me i still believe that “the main dealer H. ” is the one who made people in UAE hate to buying this brand,(workshop need much improvments espically for parts prices and dealing), i wonder why there is NO evaluation place(in showrooms or workshop)
    the issue here, do they have any quality or excellance managment ?? i think no

    btw, I tried this car and if you own Mazda6,you will feel there is so much equal in power and preformance between them ,but LancerEX2.0 still much better

    that point, i think this model of lancer is not Totally japanese Made, its from Thailand !! same like Toyota fortuner

    some people from Oman they like to get subaru,because it stay well for them for a long long time, but here in UAE we face other problem , you know subaru is good and livable but, again!! the problem return about the main dealer and the part prices too…

  15. Lancer Evolution is the only lancer from bumper to bumper Made in japan , also the old Lancer , but LancerEX is not 100% from japan, same thing what people think about Mit.Eclipse, they thought it from JAP. but it came from USA

  16. thank you for the review Vivek…. wanted to know bout this car.

  17. Hi,
    Please advice me which 4w better to buy my budget is below 50,000. please tell me better to go for it.

  18. Great review Vivek. And the lovable part is I was one among the passengers when you were Driving a Test on the beauty

  19. BUT LANCER 1.3 GLX IS NOT THAT BAD, LAST MONTH I WENT FOR UMRA TO SAUDI ARABIA WITH MY LANCER 1.3 AND I ENJOYED THE JOURNEY AS ITS DONE ALMOST 55000 KMS ON THE CLOCK AND I JUST DROVE IT OFF WITHOUT CHECKING WITH ANY MECHANIC OR GARAGE,

    AND IT RUNS AROUND 480 – 510 KM’S PER TANK (WITHOUT THE RESERVE LIGHT)

    AND LANCER ARE HEAVIER THAN YARIS AND IS NOT SHAKING IN CROSS WINDS.

    IN LOW RANGE SEDAN CATEGORY I SUGGEST LANCET IS THE BEST CAR AND NEVER TRY TO COMPARE WITH KOREAN NEW BORN UNRELIABLE MODELS

    KOREA IS DESIGNING WELL BUT EVERYONE PREFER RELIABLITY ON GOOD LOOKS

    • 1. why dont you give others SPACE for improvement??
      2. how did you know others “unreliable” if you never own it or drove it for years??
      3. why that “new born unreliable” korean car won awards more than your “suggestion” best car for the past 2 years????
      Just for information, one of that korean car you mentioned actually using Mitsubishi technology for its engine and transmission, and start developed it till today. I suggest you “read” things in the first place before “write” comments
      suggesting people your misleading opinion 🙁

      Dont get me wrong, i own Lancer EX-GT and also own one of New “Korean” car you mentioned and i was JUST trying to tell you that both cars are good today 😀

  20. Hi,

    I would like to go for used Mitsubishi LancerEX GLS (2008-2010). I have some queries about the car. So any users of the same please help me out…

    1) Fuel Efficiency – approx.AED for full tank. (I have to run almost 200kms a day).
    2) Spare parts costs comparing other same range Japanese cars?
    3) Reliable? I mean, Will it have to take to the garage always?
    4) Habtoor abudhabi is giving good service (if anyone experienced)?
    5) Resale Value?

    Appreciated if you can give me honest feedback.

    Thanks

  21. Hey Thameem… i didnt see any kind of reply for ur queires… if u enquired regarding the queries since its almost 10 months now.. can u please let me know.. since i am planning to buy this car.. if possible both 1.5 and 2.0 engine.. i am also cocerned about all the 5 questions u asked..

  22. well..regarding fuel efficiency for the 1.5, read the review as I have explained it in detail. dunno abt the fuel efficiency of 2.0L. Spare parts cost is slightly on the higher side; however, the spare parts seem more durable than other cars in its segment. Reliable, is not a question you should be asking about a Mitsubishi; they are one of the most reliable machines ever produced from the land of rising sun! Habtoor Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Oman, Atlantic Ocean or wherever, they suck! They have loads of technicians who do not know what they are doing and do not care anyway. Just get your services done from some good A-grade garages outside and the car will run for as long as you want it to run. Resale value is above average, though not as good as Toyota.

  23. Does the Lancer EX 2011 beep on 120 km/hr continuously?? This might be crucial for my decision to rent it or not! Please advise.
    Thanks!

    • No It doesn’t beep continuously. I just purchased this car. It just gives beep for a second or two, then it stops. However, you’ll see a caution light blinking below your audio control unit.

  24. I’m planning to buy a used Lancer EX 2008 in Kuwait. Please advice me how can i find whether the car is a 2 or 1.5 litre. nothing written above the engine cover.. please help me… i prefer 2 litre only.
    Also can i get a owner’s manual online for that model??
    ThankYou.. TC

  25. It doesn’t beep but I went only couple of times above 120 till 160 only the red light in centre of the dash board blinks. Mileage is pretty good as it gives 5.6L to 6L/100KM in the high way if you keep you car under 100Kmph. This is with the base model 1.5 lts. I love it better then Toyota for the price and design

  26. Thinking of picking up a used 2L Lancer EX GT which has done around 40-50,000 kms.
    Is it a good choice, or should I go for a brand new car?
    In my perception, the car is still as good as new if its done around 40K kms.
    Suggestions?

  27. Well, out of my humble experience, and having to drive the 1.3 lancer for months before I opened a 2.4 accord then a 2.4 CRV then finally settling with a 3.5 dodge charger.
    I would say the price of the lancer suites a lot of budgets, but on long drives pushing her above 110 km/hr will cost you the same mileage of the charger !
    The 1.6 lancer that I got to rent for few weeks was way better than the 1.3 performance wise. However, I got friends who complained about their pajero’s being too heavy too.
    My point is the Mitsubishi models although well reputed and affordable, but the engines/ chassis combination is not always the best.
    However, although more pricey and expensive to operate, I did enjoy starting up the dodge every morning for 5 years straight, and never felt something is missing like the Mitsubishi.

  28. Hi Vivek- Love the website!! Im planning to buy a new car around 70-80k based on the blog you guise dont seem enthralled with the new Ex any suugestions on good hatchbacks or saloons at this price? What do u think about the Swift Sport ? Are Kia’s good on ROI?
    Thanks for the help guise!!:)

    • There is nothing much to be enthralled about the EX, even if its a nice car. Check out the Ford Focus n Kia Optima 2.4.

  29. Thanks – Focus 1.6 or 2.0 ?

    • 2.0 ofcourse..

    • I think the mid-spec Focus 2.0 will fit your budget. Not sure, but the last time I visited Al-Tayer, the top-spec Focus 2.0 called the Titanium was unofficially retailing for 82,000 Dhs – but that is after some talks. You get free service and free maintenance for 60,000 kms or 3 years, and this can be extended to 120,000 kms or more.

  30. Vivek i really like the Kia Optima – its nicely made with a powerful engine however every single person i have spoken to has told me not to go for it for it’s sheer resale value – ? You think this will be a problem 3 years down the line ?

    • First motto in your life should be, to ask doubts only the right people, and not to every single Tom, Dick and Harry. If you are very concerned about resale, stick to Toyota or Honda; people divert you from other brands only considering this factor. If you intend to sell the car off in 3 years, depending on the condition, mileage and service history of the car, it should fetch you anywhere between 35k – 45k Dhs. The rest depends on your luck and your selling skills.

  31. Thank you for the advise – much appreciated! No word on the Swift Sport i see ? Touch a nerve? When you guise road tested the Nissan Sentra you put it on your advisory list – is it still there ? Thanks for the help!!!

  32. Great!!! Finally, its like Vivek said id been asking the wrong people all this time!!! Thanks Faisal!!

  33. Thank you Vivek for the review , I needed to read one about the EX.

    I want to share something with you guys: I bought a a Lancer 1.3L GLS in 1997,since then, its mileage is almost 500 000 KM now, and I’m still driving it in Jordan. The car is reliable and it never let me down despite the fact that last time I serviced it at the dealer’s shop was more than I care to remember (I go to local mechanics)…

    The Lancer is a DURACELL especially in a country with relatively bad roads and a mountainous terrain like Jordan.

    Forgot to mention: My Lancer is stick shift . The 3rd gear is nothing short but fantastic!

  34. Hello Everyone

    I will be getting a new car in 2 weeks time. My budget is 50-55K. Al Habtoor is having some very good offers for Fortis 2014. I did try to find about this car but there isn’t much available on the net about it. Its built in Taiwan, I would like to know the maintenance costs and resale value, as I will be using it for 2-3 years. What do you think, is Fortis a good buy?

    Thanks,
    Mujeeb

  35. I didn’t expect so many comments for a Lancer EX, that’s gives you an idea how much fuzz & admiration the new car is making.
    I work as a warehouse supervisor for Nissan Oman, still it’s just a job I do and my favorite car is the new Lancer.
    That’s said I’ll enlighten you about the making of spareparts in general, even if the vehicle IS made in Japan, many parts inside the vehicle actually are from different countries (Spain, Korea, USA, England).
    And that goes for all car makers in the world not only Nissan or Mitsubishi
    So next time you see a new “made in Japan” car think how many parts in it is not Japanese!? 😉

    • Author

      Good say. Some of the parts are from other brands even. Kind of figured all that when I discovered parts from Volvo being used in my Ford as manufacturer standard, and Japanese parts from Nissan being extensively used in my European Renault!!

    • I have some Audi parts in my VW car.

  36. Good review,very fair and honest! Lancer 1.5 is a good car if you search for sporty look evo-style and have low budget on fuel. But remember the car drink a lot if you start to push(up to 9).With 16″ i figure out 4,5-5 l/100km at 120 cruising speed with a feather foot. I installed 18″ and you can’t feel any understeer on public road, trust me. It simple bite the road(Falken Tyres). Even thought the fuel consumption rise to 6,5-7,5 l/100km on average drive. If you like the style you will fall in love with her and fly over her minus point.
    To be fair she has orrible plastic(hard and easy to scratch). The engine rpm is not dropping fast when you drive(especially from 3 to 4th).The reverse is a bit tricky sometime(if it don’t engage you have to pass from first gear).The car is poor insulated. She’s an old school car project,you can’t compare with nowdays fancy car(na engine vs turbo). But i can fly over because the low price and the AWESOME Gundam design that stand out of the crown from any car of the segment. It make you feel like you are driving an exotic when you are in traffic.
    I don’t know there but here in Europe the price of Lancer drop consistenly,so you may stick with her till she dies.

  37. Hi, I was planning to buy a Renault Duster PE, but after going through the reviews from you all, I some how feel I would go for an equally priced Mitsubishi Lancer Ex F/O

    I went to see the car in Al Habtoor Motor Showroom in SZR. A sales guy named Emad Yousri was too bloody rude. He didnt even bother to show the car. All he did was that he told me the price of the car and the colors available. He did not bother to even provide me with the specs available. I asked him if I could get a test drive and he laughed at my face and said, “there are too many Lancer cars on the road can you not see they are happy???”. I wanted to speak to his supervisor / manager but they seemed to be too busy to speak to someone and shoved me aside. Inspite of the positive reviews about the car; I am a bit too skeptical about buying a Mitsubishi now as I wonder if this is pre-sales what would the after-sales be like!!!

    Also I have to drive almost a 100 kms every day and hence the question; which car should I go for? Should I still go Mitsubishi another try?

    Regards

    • **********there are too many Lancer cars on the road can you not see they are happy?********

      RE: that is so typical of a lazy sales man…..

      You are better of buying a corolla 2.0, they are quite powerful, quiet and comfortable for a 100 km a day journey.. avoid Al Futtaim motors and buy it from Dyna Trade they quiet reasonable for their service charges.

  38. The car is start to ageing. If you are the kind of guys that like the “last technology tool on the market” avoid it. Consider it if you love her style and want a cheap car to keep until she die.
    The salemas that you talked with was very rude. I’m very concern about their after-sell service.

  39. Great review Vivek! I was scrambling the WWW for reviews particularly the ones from the Mid-East and alas, I finally found it. Three days back though I got the 2015 Lancer EX 2.0L GLX. It is my first purchase and I smile every time I start it (though it doesn’t sound like the exotics) as I feel fulfilled to have my own car now.

    Just wanted to share my experience with the purchase: the sales agent, Mr. Anil Paul, from the showroom in Deira is very kind and accommodating. He guided me all throughout the process including the financing (the financing bank was the worst) up until the car’s delivery and even keeps in touch until today. I would highly recommend the guy to anyone planning to purchase a Mitsubishi. He even said that he will try to help me out with the service as they tend to “get busy.” After all the comments here, I’ll be keeping my hopes up and will try to update you with the 1000km service experience. Thanks Vivek and the guys here for the information!

    BTW: Anyone here knows a good but reasonable garage? I could really use one after the service package as the dealership does cost a lot. Thanks in advance guys!

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