To say Ralliart Lancer is far from perfect would be an unusual way to start a review but on the other hand while it wasn’t perfect the Ralliart Lancer was one of the most rewarding cars to drive that I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing.
The Ralliart model sits in middle of the Lancer range and breaches the gap in the line up between the regular naturally aspirated models and the range topping psycho EVO model.
From the outside you can tell the Ralliart does mean business the aggressive front styling coupled with the vented bonnet, foglights, body kit, charcoal grey alloys, twin exhaust and rear wing combine well to make sure the Ralliart stands out from your normal Lancer. Of course the whole package was really set off nicely on this particular car by the beautiful metallic red paint work.
In the inside is the Ralliart does seem a touch under done, while the fit and finish was great this model Lancer has been on the market since 2008 so it does look a touch out dated when put next to the newer models in its class and really there’s not much on the inside to differentiate it from normal Lancers.
The cloth seats while comfortable could of used a touch more lateral support when cornering which was also a touch disappointing, rear seating is comfortable and offers decent enough leg room.
The leather bound steering wheel which it shares with the Evo was comfortable to hold and had buttons for the cruise, audio system and phone as well paddle shifters for the transmission.
The dash is a mass of hard plastics really and really there’s much to set it apart from lower model Lancers in the range. The instrument panel is well set up and the dials are easy to read in the between them is a lcd screen which displays info such fuel economy, distance to empty etc.
The centre stack contains the 6.0inch touch screen of the Mitsubishi Entertainment System, and while the system offers great sounds thanks to the myriad of speakers and the big sub woofer in the boot. The system is not as easy to use as others on the market. What seems to be a problem I’ve found with this system in just about every Mitsubishi I’ve driven with it. The system doesn’t like USB sticks, because I’m in and out of review car all the time the easiest way for me to take my music with me is to have it on a USB stick. The system will quite regularly disconnect my USB stick quite often in the middle of a song, It comes up a message USB not connected then go through the process of reconnecting the USB stick while doing this though any play list I’ve set up gets lost.
I found the bluetooth connectivity very easy to use and the voice recognition worked a treat but the constant disconnections of my USB was extremely frustrating and meant the system which promises a lot was a big let down.
Under the bonnet the Ralliart is fitted was same 2.0L Turbo 4 cyl engine the Evo gets but in a detuned form (it has a single scroll turbo instead of the Evo’s twin scroll) pushing out 177kW and 343nM of torque and really that was part of reason this car was so rewarding to drive.
The engine is a little pearler while there is a small amount of lag of the line the engine really starts to haul in a big way as the revs build, yet it’s tractable enough to tool around in traffic day to day.
Fuel economy is real mixed the trip computer works out average economy per trip so it’s really hard to good ave at times on the school sitting there in bumper traffic the fuel economy read out would go up to 27 or 28l/100km however it also did say the ave speed for the trip was 9km/h. On the freeway though it was a different story and the Ralliart returns reasonable figures and just really lopes along in 6th gear.
For the week I did manage 400 odd km from the tank which of course could be bettered if you drove it with economy in mind but you have such sweet turbo engine under the bonnet its extremely hard to do that.
The engine is backed by Mitsubishi s excellent SST’ twin-clutch transmission, which like all dual clutch transmissions can be a touch jerky in bumper to bumper traffic when you are on and off the accelerator pedal (I will add though that the Mitsubishi’s transmission is better then a lot of the other twin clutch transmissions on the market).
But it well and truly makes up for it the shifts crisp and lightning fast, it has 2 modes normal and sport when driven in normal the Ralliart is very sedate and not really what you’d expect from a car of this nature.
Flick to switch to sport and that really wakes the Ralliart right up and transforms the Ralliart not only does it feel more responsive but it will also hold the longer before changing gears, the transmission will also blimp the throttle on down changes which adds to the driving experience.
Helping get the power to the ground is Mitsubishi’s awesome all wheel drive system which is one of the best on the market, the Ralliart also gets the Evo active centre diff which has 3 selectable modes for tarmac, gravel and snow.
On the road is another bit that’s a bit of a let down while it has massive levels of grip the Ralliart receives basically the same suspension as the VRX Lancer and while it handles the bumps rather well in normal everyday driving, should you want to explore the power and grip levels a bit more then you find that the suspension can’t quite cope with it so you get a bit of body roll coming into the corner and a bit of understeer on exit the rear end also doesn’t feel as planted when your pushing it.
The steering while not to bad lacks feel and sharpness , while this car was one of the most rewarding cars to drive mainly because of the driveline and the AWD grip I expected the steering to be sharper which did put a bit of a downer on the drive for me.
Safety wise and the Ralliart has bags of safety features including driver and front passenger airbags, side and curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, ASC, Active Traction Control (ATC), ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Override System, rear parking sensors and it gets bonus points for having a rear view camera.
Over all I really liked the Ralliart Lancer actually I liked it a lot like I said in the beginning there were some things that made it far from perfect, but in saying that the drivetrain is so good I kept forgetting about the the bits I didn’t like.
I absolutely loved the Ralliart, it has a perfect mix of power, safety its reasonably comfortable and it’s extremely fun to drive.
Simply put there is no automatic AWD drive cars under $40,000 that offer this amount of performance for the price, the Ralliart would be perfect for somebody wanting a sedan which has enough room to drive the family around during the week and can be a play toy on the weekend.
If your looking for a great AWD turbo sedan then really you should take a Ralliart Lancer for a test drive.
For more info on the Ralliart Lancer or more vehicles in Mitsubishi’s range check out their website http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/