Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart / Sportback Ralliart

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picture: Mitsubishi

Hot hatches and performance compacts have been on the rise in recent years. It’s kind of surprising considering most buyers don’t seem to care about driving something fun. There is a new one GTI/Golf Rand Hyundai will sell you a 275hp car with one of the best sounding stock exhausts ever, either a three-door hatch, a four-door compact car or a compact crossover. Even Toyota got into the game and gave us the 300hp GR Corolla, something We didn’t think the US would ever get it. Mitsubishi, a company so far from all fun, it threw up a story JDM nameplate on a crossover, used to give us a great performance with his Lancer Evolution. And eventually when you couldn’t get an Evo, they offered an Evo lite in the form of the Lancer Ralliart.

Welcome to Forgotten Cars where we briefly go over the history and background of some models that you may not remember. Accompany us on an automotive journey into the past.

Yes, Mitsubishi used to do cool stuff. From the Galant VR-4 to the 3000GT, the company had some track records, mainly from its WRC (World Rally Championship) experience. Enter Ralliart, Mitsubishi’s performance and racing division established in 1984. Ralliart used Lancers and Lancer Evolutions from 1993 to 2007. This racing know-how gave the world the Lancer Evolution and, to a lesser extent, the Lancer Ralliart.

Image for article titled Forgotten Cars: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart/Sportback Ralliart

picture: Mitsubishi

The Lancer Ralliart was based on the ninth generation Lancer that debuted in 2007. It rode on the GS platform jointly developed by Mitsubishi and Chrysler. As well as the Lancer, Mitsubishi used the platform for the Outlander and still uses it today on the ill-fated Eclipse Cross. (At Daimler Chrysler, everything from the Dodge Caliber to the Jeep Compass rode on this platform, which was terrible at the time.)

Image for article titled Forgotten Cars: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart/Sportback Ralliart

picture: Mitsubishi

The Lancer Ralliart debuted in 2009, which was an unfortunate time for a car company to launch a sporty product. The world economy was on the verge of collapse due to the Great Recession, and automakers were kill remaining models and right to save money. But Mitsubishi continued with the Lancer Ralliart. While it was available in a sedan, you didn’t want these. The one you wanted was the Ralliart Sportback.

Image for article titled Forgotten Cars: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart/Sportback Ralliart

picture: Mitsubishi

What made the Ralliart so special? It really was an Evo lite. If you chose the Ralliart, you received a detuned version of the 4B11 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 used in the Evo. in Ralliart, it produced 237 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque; an AWD drive system that was a simplified version of the setup used in the Evolution X. Even the gearbox was lifted from the Evo. During simple corolla and citizenstruggling Lancers had a choice of a five-speed manual or a dreadful CVT (that Mitsubishi had the nerve to give paddle shifters on GTS trims), The Lancer Ralliart received the same TC-SST six-speed dual-clutch transmission as the Evo X. The only difference between the two cars was that the Ralliart had two transmission modes (Normal, Sport) versus the Evo’s three (Normal, Sport, S- Sports).

Image for article titled Forgotten Cars: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart/Sportback Ralliart

picture: Mitsubishi

All these EvoSourcing Goodies Are Cool, But How Has It Proven? Not bad, actually. While it wasn’t light (it was nearly £3,600 in Sportback Ralliart trim), it was actually faster than a WRX. Addicted At What she read60 mph came in either 5.4 or 5.7 seconds. And the engine had a sweet spot, like our own Andrew Stoy wrote back in ’08:

The 235 hp MIVEC 2.0 is all base Lancer below about 2,800 rpm, after which the torque shows; it’s not intrusive, nor is it the dreaded “on/off” turbo switch, but the car subtly changes character. Mitsu lit says 253 ft-lb is available from 2,500 to 4,750 rpm — and that’s pretty much the only place it’s available. Luckily, the twin-clutch SST lets you play in that sweet spot all day.

Mitsubishi even gave you Recaros as a gift!

Mitsubishi even gave you Recaros as a gift!
picture: Mitsubishi

None of this broke the bank either. Prices for the Lancer Ralliart ranged from just $28,000 to just over $31,000 for a loaded Sportback Ralliart. Unfortunately, the Lancer Ralliart didn’t last long. Mitsubishi and Ralliart were not immune to the recession. Mitsubishi announced that Ralliart ended operations in early 2010 and the Lancer Sportback was killed in 2014. Somehow the Lancer made it until 2017. And not many were made. Production numbers are hard to come by, but I’ve only found two for sale across the country. While Mitsubishi is only a shadow of what it once was in the performance department, we can at least look back at models like the Lancer Ralliart to see that the company once actually tried.

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