By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. It competes with the Subaru Impreza WRX and the Volkswagen GLI.
(upbeat rock music) <v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Joe Wisenfelder of cars.com. I'm here with a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Now the Lancer came along a few years ago, kind of down here, entry level.
And then they jumped right up to the Evolution, which is their super performance one, leaving this area in the middle, kind of empty. This area here, where this is now, this is the Ralliart, which is in the middle. Ralliart used to mean just cosmetic differences. Now performance upgrades too. Mitsubishi says that the rally art is not a de-tuned Evolution. It's more of an up tuned Lancer, but the engine is the same as the Evolution. It's a two liter four cylinder excepted as a single scroll instead of a double scroll turbocharger. It has smaller diameter plumbing and a smaller intercooler. Now the nose is distinctive here on the Ralliart. It's more like the Evolution in that has a large grill, has an intake in the hood here, but it is its own front end. The body itself is based more on the Lancer than the Evolution and the all wheel drive system, which is standard comes from a ninth generation Evolution, instead of the 10th. It has front rear and center limited slip differentials, real ones, not just this antilock brake stuff, makes it a much more durable system. And 18 inch wheels are standard on the Ralliart instead of 16. Now here again with the rear end, a little more aggressive looking than the regular Lancer. Not as full-blown as the Evolution though, the dual exhausts pretty much come from the Evolution. The wing here kind of big to my eye, but it's actually the smaller of two wings available. And the trunk, the regular Lancer is a little bit bigger. It's about 12 cubic feet. This one is about 10 cubic feet and the Evolution is seven. It's basically because of the bracing that they use for the performance they want under the car. Once again, we're right in the middle. Now here's the problem I have with the car. These Recaro optional, Recaro sports seats. They are, how do I describe this? Terrible. They're terrible. Everyone that's been in this car from cars.com doesn't like them. It's hard to get in and out just because the bolsters are so high, not comfortable. You can't adjust the height, but again, fortunately, because it's an option, you can get a more adjustable, more comfortable seat. Now, again, in terms of the driving experience, they're not messing around. This really is different between the regular Lancer and the Evolution. It has slightly stronger brakes on the regular Lancer. It has a firmer suspension than the regular Lancer, but not too from like the Evolution, all good stuff. Now, one bummer about the Ralliart. You can't get a regular stick transmission. What you do get though is a twin clutch automated manual instead of the regular Lancer's CVT, which is nice. It has really quick upshifts and downshifts. You can do it with the paddles if that's your thing. But what impresses me about this one is when it's in drive mode, it seems to read your mind. It knows based on when you're breaking, when you're accelerating, whether you want to upshift or downshift does it for you. Just like so many other aspects, when it comes to price the Ralliart's right in the middle, you start with a Lancer, then you've got the Ralliart and then the Evolution, and for the money, you're getting a lot of real differences. It's not just cosmetic anymore. You've got brakes, you've got suspension. You've got a different engine with different horsepower, different interior, basically everything is right in the middle. We're pretty impressed with it. (upbeat rock music) <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com for our blog, kicking tires.net.