Lancer is not better then Civic or Corolla overall, both cars have their very strong points, spares, service, resale and shape are concerns.
Lancer has a better build and interior but that will not matter in real world, after some months you will get use to it.
No car is reliable or unreliable (except Suzuki), If you will take care of the car, the car will take care of you (I learned that from Mr Jason Statham of Transporter 3, while he was driving his 150K $ A8 W12, talking on a 700$ Nokia 8800 and pushing the poor E class into a ravine).
Lancer's ride seems better because it has high profile tires, else the ride is not better then Civic.
Treat the Lancer like a Civic and you will know how expensive or reliable it can be.
Imports are only good if you are getting some extra features like active and passive safety, better engine/suspensions/gearbox or Sat Nav/leather/electric seats etc.