Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart – AskMen

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart – AskMen
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback



Price: $28,335

MPG / LPG: 17 city; 25 hwy

Our week with the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart had the potential to be a great one. A wagon version of the standard Lancer Ralliart, which itself is a detuned Lancer Evolution X, the Lancer Sportback Ralliart is more than capable of fulfilling whatever road rally fantasies we had.

Being a detuned Evo, the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart doesn’t get the fancy aluminum body and suspension pieces, the extra chassis braces or all the differentials and traction assist systems of its Evo brother — but there is a lot of good stuff to be found here. Take a quick glance at this rally wagon and you’ll find a turbocharged 4B11T engine (detuned to 237-horsepower), a six-speed TC-SST dual clutch transmission, a full-time all-wheel drive system with Active Yaw Control, and a more aggressive suspension and tire package.

Outside of a slight bit of turbo lag now and again, the Sportback Ralliart’s acceleration is best described as immediate and brutal. Necks struggle to keep heads upright as the Ralliart gains speed, moving ever faster as the paddle-shift, dual-clutch gearbox swaps cogs in the blink of an eye.

The steering is so communicative as to be telepathic, encouraging drivers to repeatedly attack corners and relish the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart’s seemingly endless levels of grip. Stop-right-now brakes bring things to an abrupt and safe halt should things somehow get out of control.

The Lancer Sportback Ralliart is happiest when it’s running at full speed and, on the flip side, it’s miserable when it’s forced to slow down. Turbo lag increases, the too-sensitive steering gets tiresome and the suspension becomes jarring and uncomfortable. Most noticeably, the TC-SST transmission seems to lose all sense of logic and will change gears as if it still had its learner’s permit.

Sometimes the transmission will shift up way too early, taking the engine out of its powerband; other times it won’t shift at all, letting the engine bang on the rev limiter.

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

With its dropped, road-hugging stance and shark-like nose, the Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a mean-looking vehicle when viewed from the front. It’s not a bad-looking vehicle when viewed in profile either, but look at the vehicle from any other angle and it seems as if Mitsubishi’s designers got lazy and just erased the boot lid from the standard Lancer. The car looks unfinished, keeping a good car from looking great.

But that deck-less back does have its advantages; its fifth door allows the Lancer to swallow cargo its sedan siblings can’t. Boot space is reasonable when the back seats are up, but fold everything down and the Sportback can swallow up to 49.2 cubic feet of stuff.

The hard core sporting nature of the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart’s performance extends to the cabin. Gearheads will find a lot to get excited about in here. Our test car had the optional, aggressively bolstered Recaro seats (the same ones found in the Evo), steering-column mounted magnesium paddle shifters and leather-wrapped steering wheel and ball shifter.

All the driver interface points felt solid, robust and purposeful, and as drivers who always complain about seats being too shallow and wide, the tight and narrow Recaros were more than welcome.

But those who could care less about performance will find much to complain about. Not everyone wants to get squished by (or can fit in) a racing seat. The dash has a decent design and seems to be put together well, but given the fact that the Ralliart is a $28,000 car, the plastics and fit still look a bit cheap in places.

The cabin itself is noisy, and during those times when our car’s optional subwoofer was turned off, the cockpit was overpowered by road and engine noise.

With its harshness, noise and lack of refinement, it’s hard to recommend the Lancer Sportback Ralliart to almost anyone. It’s a car for those who want the Evo experience but need more space, or more likely, can’t afford the $10K premium. But for those in search of a good time mixed with a dash of practicality, it’s hard to find better.

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

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