2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Review
Chris Miller road tests and reviews the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart has been around for a couple of years now, and with the recent onslaught of small performance models from other manufacturers, the little Mitsubishi hasn’t been grabbing the headlines it probably deserves.
Essentially the Lancer Ralliart is a slightly watered down version of the iconic and rather manic Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. The watering down is actually a good thing, unless you’re planning to use the car exclusively for track days.
Whilst the Evo is a spectacularly fast car with endless grip, living with the Evo is a bone jarring experience that requires 100% concentration 100% of the time. The Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart on the other hand offers almost the same thrills as the Evo, but in a softer, less tiresome package that is much easier to live with.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.0 litre turbo charged engine as you find in the Evo, just in a lesser state of tune. It develops a healthy 177kW and 343Nm that is put to the ground via the same 6-Speed Dual Clutch gearbox as found in the Evo.
At slow speeds the gearbox isn’t the smoothest around, at speed though the changes are lightning fast, and left to its own devices, the transmission always manages to be in the right gear at the right time.
The all wheel drive system provides endless grip regardless of whether the roads are wet or dry. The way it slingshots itself out of corners is breathtaking. It just keeps piling on the speed, and if things start to get a little out of shape, it’s as simple as lifting the right foot and the Lancer Ralliart will quickly compose itself.
Riding on 18 inch alloys wrapped in low profile 215/45 tyres, in combination with the front Macpherson struts and rear multi-link suspension, the ride is firm without being harsh. The Lancer Ralliart can be unsettled by mid-corner bumps, but it is predictable in the way it responds. The steering is sharp and offers plenty of feedback, and there’s little evidence of body roll with the Ralliart cornering almost flat regardless of the pace.
Inside there is no hiding the humble origins of the Lancer Ralliart. You’ll find touches of piano black, leather trims and a big central screen for the thumping Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio system and sat-nav control, but everything else is almost identical to what you’d find in the $20,390 garden variety Lancer.
The design is beginning to look a little dated, and some of the hard plastics feel a bit on the cheap side, but it’s in no way offensive and the layout is logical and functional. The driving position is good offering decent visibility all round, the seats are reasonably supportive and in the back there’s enough room for it not to be uncomfortable.
The boot is generous enough for a set of golf clubs, and there’s more than enough room for a trip to Bunnings, although the big sub woofer does eat a bit of the available space.
One of the highlights of the Lancer Ralliart is the Rockford Fosgate 9 speaker sound system; other standard items include auto headlights & wipers, key-less entry and start, Climate control and Bluetooth streaming for your phone & iPod.
While there is a lot to like about the Lancer Ralliart it does have a couple of issues. Firstly it is undoubtedly showing its age with a look that is dated inside and out. The biggest issues though are more than cosmetic; it’s all about fuel economy and servicing. Despite Mitsubishi’s claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 9.6 litres of premium unleaded per 100km, the best I could manage was 13.8 litres per 100km and it wasn’t unusual to see figures north of 17 litres per 100km.
Worse still, just like the Evo, the Lancer Ralliart must be serviced every 5000km. Sure there is a capped price servicing program and the services themselves are priced fairly reasonably, but the inconvenience of making a trip to the dealer every 5000km would quickly become tiresome.
List price for the Lancer Ralliart is $39,990, the good news is dealers are keen to move stock and I have heard of brand new, 2013 plate Lancer Ralliart’s leaving dealerships for as little as $31,000 - and at that price it is a genuine bargain.
Competing at full retail price though the Mitsubishi falls well short of VW’s Golf GTi and the brilliant new Subaru WRX. If you can get a deal on the Ralliart go for it, if not, be sure to drive the others before parting with your hard earned dollars.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo petrol producing 177kW and 343Nm
Transmission: Six-Speed Dual Clutch
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited kilometres
Price: From $39,990