In 2001, Mitsubishi Motors introduced the Lancer to North America. It was a small, sporty car that quickly gained popularity for its fuel efficiency and low price tag. This popularity continued on to the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer and for good reason.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer had four models: the ES, LS, OZ-Rally, and Evolution. All the models have a two-liter, four-cylinder engine with the ES, LS, and OZ-Rally delivering 120 horsepower. The Evolution has a 271 horsepower turbo four-cylinder engine and is all-wheel drive.
When considering purchasing a vehicle, the Mitsubishi Lancer should definitely be on your list of cars. This editorial will cover the different models, their safety features, and driving performance. Read on to discover more about the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Model Range
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer was available in four models: the ES, LS, OZ-Rally, and the iconic Lancer Evolution. Each model had its unique traits, and the ES was the entry-level priced option, while the LS was the luxury variant. The OZ-Rally had some exterior modifications, and the Evolution was the road-legal rally car that boy racer wanted.
The 2003 Lancers were powered by a 2.0-liter Four-Cylinder engine, with an output of 120 bhp to the front wheels. The engine received a turbocharger for the Evolution model. The turbocharger increased the power of the Evolution to 271 bhp to all four wheels, and various other performance components derived from their rally car.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES
The ES model was relatively priced at $14,017 when released in 2003 and only offered a reasonable amount of standard equipment. These included air-conditioning, a tachometer, CD player, power windows, and power door locks.
Transmission options were either a standard five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Mitsubishi offered a few LS model features as optional upgrades for the ES.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer LS
The LS was the luxury model and retailed for $16,047; it offered cruise control, central locking doors, cup holders, armrests, split rear seats, floor mats, front and rear speaker system, and intermitted windshield wipers.
The LS was not just equipped with a load of interior extras, as Mitsubishi made some exterior upgrades, too. These were body-colored door handles, mirrors, and 15-inch alloy wheels. Mitsubishi only offered a four-speed automatic transmission in the LS model.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ-Rally
The OZ-Rally retailed for $15,747 when it launched and was a sportier-looking version of the ES model. The bodywork package was inspired by the competition rally car of the 2003 season; these were front and rear bumper extensions with side skirts, not forgetting the 15-inch OZ alloy racing wheels.
The car’s interior was given a black and aluminum finish with white-backed gauges, all adding to the car’s sporty theme. Mitsubishi also offered several luxury LS models upgrades for the OZ-Rally.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
The Evolution was the ultimate performance car of 2003 and retailed at $28,987. The vehicle was revolutionized completely compared to the base model ES and received upgrades like new differentials, suspension, all-wheel drive, 17”wheels, and a 2-liter turbo engine.
The Evolution boasted a unique rear wing, new fascia, and racing seats. The 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution was, in essence, a U.S. version of the Japanese EVO VIII.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Exterior
The Mitsubishi ES and LS have a stylish exterior, making it stand out against its other compact sedan competitors. The box shape of the vehicle with its wide stance gives an impression of stability, and the bumpers complement the body design. The front grille is chrome, with the headlamps slightly oversized. The vehicle’s overall look is tame and does not ooze performance but rather a look of practicality.
The OZ-Rally is slightly more stylish than the base models, with its high rear spoiler, bumper extensions, side skirts, and OZ alloy wheels. It gives the impression that it wants to be looked at, and people will do just that.
The Evolution resembles a rally car. The hood has functional cut-out screened vents, and the intercooler is visible through the large front air dam. The fenders are more flared than the OZ-Rally, and the enormous rear wing of the vehicle will be a talking point! The car looks intimidating and race-ready and will fuel the racer in you.
The Mitsubishi Lancer has independent suspension and a rigid unibody giving a comfortable ride in town or motorway. The Lancer corners easily with minimal body roll, thanks to its wide stance and low center of gravity.
The 120 horsepower 2-liter engine is defiantly not the most powerful in the segment, but it works well with the vehicle. There is sufficient power for driving at highway speed, with enough reserve to easily overtake when required. The automatic transmission is a little sluggish, but that is usual with this amount of power.
The OZ-Rally drives driving performance is similar to the ES and LS models, except the gear lever is shorter, allowing for quicker shifts and a sportier feel while driving.
As expected, the Evolution is a whole different beast; with all-wheel drive and 271 horsepower, it will do 0 to 60mph in a little over 5 seconds. The ride is hard, and you can feel everything the car is doing, but it corners sharply, and accelerating out of a turn is thrilling. The vehicle will constantly remind you of its rally heritage every time it starts up.
Mitsubishi Lancer Problems
The Mitsubishi Lancer is a reliable car that requires little to no extra maintenance. The car has received a 4.5/5 rating for reliability from Edmunds. The 2003 Lancer’s have received six recalls over the years, with 5 of them pertaining to lights or reflectors and one for a lower control arm rusting issue. Before purchasing, consult the service manual to confirm if the vehicle has been inspected and repaired.
2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Specs
Below is a table listing the Specs:
|Transmission||5-Speed Manual /4-speed Automatic||5-Speed Manual /4-speed Automatic||5-Speed Manual /4-speed Automatic||5-Speed Manual|
|Drive Type||Front-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive|
|Cylinders||Inline 4||Inline 4||Inline 4||Turbo Inline 4|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded||Regular Unleaded||Regular Unleaded||Premium Unleaded|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||13.2||13.2||13.2||14|
|Gross Weight lbs.||3,638 lbs||3,638 lbs||3,638 lbs||4,222 lbs|
|Wheel Size inch||14”||15”||15” OZ Alloy||17”|
|Brakes||Front Disk/ rear drum||Front Disk/ rear drum||Front Disk/ rear drum||Disks|
2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Safety Features
Here is a list of the safety features, equipped as standard on the 2003 Lancer models:
|Driver Air Bag||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
NCAP 5-Star Crash Test and Rollover Safety
Below is the NCAP rating for the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer:
|NCAP||Driver Front||Passenger Front||Driver Side||Passenger Side|
|2003 Mitsubishi Lance 4-Door||4/5||4/5||2/5||4/5|
Our Verdict on the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer comes in four models, the ES, LS, OZ-Rally, and the Evolution. The car has proven itself to be very reliable since its release in 2003 and has since only received minor recalls. The Lancer has a classy look with its sleek exterior design and will not become outdated. The engine has sufficient power, and its low MPG is ideal for my daily commute.
With its sporty look, the Oz-Rally is well-equipped and will turn heads, but the ultimate Lancer, for me, is the Evolution for its power and rally heritage. Overall, all the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancers are well worth viewing if you are interested in purchasing a reliable vehicle.