• Jul 28th 2010 at 11:58AM
  • 72
2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart – Click above for high-res image gallery

There has always been a glaringly obvious gap in Mitsubishi's current Lancer lineup. On the bottom is the... Lancer, a biggish-for-its-class economy car that no one particularly likes – at least that's what the sales charts would indicate. It's slow, filled with cheap plastics and dull. It hasn't even proven to be all that reliable by Japanese small-car standards, but at least it looks good. At the top of the heap and on a wholly different plane sits the Lancer Evolution. It's the giant-slayer, David, the little car that humbles supercars. It's also the hottest of the rally-inspired all-wheel-drive turbocharged pocket rockets. The Evo's only real competition is the Subaru WRX STI and, let's be honest, the Evo has been the better car for years now (Subaru has just updated its warrior for 2011, so a new comparison is in order). Its handling is more precise, yet at the same time more insane. The Mitsu is rawer, rougher, tougher and most importantly faster, even though it's down half a liter on the WRX STI in terms of displacement. Don't read this wrong, the STI is a fine backroad killer. But the EVO is more homicidal.

It looks like a toned down Evo, which is exactly what Mitsubishi wants you to think.
Back to that gap. In the middle of its arch rival's portfolio has long lived the WRX, Subaru's Goldie Loxian sportster, which is very fast, very nimble, but very well priced (it still starts at under $25,000). The WRX has long threaded the needle between excellent all-around performance and the customer not being able to afford a higher monthly payment. Subaru, therefore, has sold a ton of them, for not only does the WRX offer all that power and rally-bred oomph at a low price, it can be had as a wagon. Mitsubishi had nothing until this year, when the Japanese industrial powerhouse brought over two new flavors of its hopped-up Lancer, the Ralliart and the Ralliart Sportback.

Today we're taking a look at the supposedly more practical of those two additions, the five-door Sportback. When the pictures of the Lancer Sportback Ralliart started spilling onto this here internet, Yours Truly was especially excited. The main reason being that for the past eight years, I've owned a WRX wagon in one form or another. Biased? You could say that, but at that same time, I've been driving Evos against STIs and have remained aware (perhaps painfully aware) that the Evo is the sharper blade. Perhaps, then, the Sportback Ralliart could be my next fast and furious wagon, or at least go wheel-to-wheel with its competition from Fuji Heavy Industries? Hop the jump to find out.

Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

The Sportback is most certainly that: Practicality has been traded away in favor of a devilishly raked rear liftgate that's almost comical. One could argue that the point of a five-door (you can argue amongst yourselves where a hatchback ends and a wagon picks up) is its versatility and cargo-swallowing capacity. Of course, we should point out that despite appearances, the Sportback Ralliart offers nearly 47 cubic feet of stowage, whereas the WRX gives you just 44. Specs not withstanding, our empirical observations suggest that it's easier to pack junk into the Subaru than it is the awkwardly proportioned Mitsubishi. That sharply sloping piece of glass will get your bigger bags almost every time.

As far as the rest of the car is concerned, it looks like a toned-down Evo, which is exactly what Mitsubishi wants you to think. Which is fine, as in many ways, the Sportback Ralliart is exactly that. Viewed from the front, you can plainly see that the tires are thinner, the intercooler is smaller and schnoz less aggressive. Viewed from the side, you can see the sills look a little tacked-on. Speaking of tacked-on, just imagine how strange the Sportback would look if you were to unbolt its rear wing – somewhere between the old Mazda 626 Touring and the Sterling 827? Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What's not in anyone's eye is the drab interior that Mitsubishi stuffed into the Sportback Ralliart. Filled with greasy plastics and almost no design of interest whatsoever (just look at the radio), the interior is where the Sportback Ralliart's econobox roots are most painfully apparent. The bargain-basement Lancer starts at $14,790 and features the exact same dash. Don't feel too bad, however, because unless you opt for the navigation system, the $33,590 EVO also comes with that same radio. You could make the argument that cheapo interiors are endemic to go-fast economy cars stuffed to the gills with fancy performance parts – the WRX's cabin is hardly a gift, after all. But then how to explain the Volkswagen GTI? Point is, overly and overtly lousy materials are no longer defensible in a car that starts at $27,590 plus delivery.

At least Mitsubishi gets the important bits right, and we mean really right. The paddle-shifters, for instance, are excellent, being big, metallic (magnesium, actually) and column mounted. There are lots of supposed luxury sports car out there that could only wish for such fine paddles. Then there's the meaty leather steering wheel and equally stout gear shifter. These are the sorts of materials required in a proper performance car. The metal-capped pedals are also quite nice. Again, the parts that matter for driving are, in fact, excellent.

There are a few buttons we have to mention before moving on. The first is the lonely looking AWC button. AWC stands for All-Wheel Control and pushing it changes the way the active central differential routes torque to the four wheels. Your choices are Tarmac, Gravel and Snow. We tried the different AWC settings in Gravel (we tested the car in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, so, sorry, no snow) and the grip does seem better on those types of roads with the setting engaged. That said, it was worlds more fun running Tarmac on a bunch of loose rocks, as the Sportback Ralliart slid around nicely under hard acceleration.

Then there's the SST selector, which will seem quite familiar to those of you who enjoy Guitar Hero, as it's the same as the little thingy you strum. This paddle switch changes the TC-SST dual-clutch six-speed transmission from Normal to Sport. As you might imagine, Normal is a laggard mode tailored for smoothness and fuel economy, where the transmission will happily shift itself up to sixth gear by the time you crest 40 mph. Sport is a pretty good middle ground, as the engine revs higher before the transmission changes gears. Unlike big-brother Evo, Sportback Ralliarts don't feature S-Sport mode, which would provide still higher revs before shifting. However, even in Sport, the TC-SST doesn't seem to shift at high rpm. Instead, you just buzz around near redline. Our preferred choice was to select Sport, but then do all the shifting ourselves via the sweet paddles. Either way, mileage is pretty bad – despite the EPA suggesting that you'll hit 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 out on the highway, expect high teens combined if you're having any fun at all.

Speaking of redline, this is a buzz-box of an engine. Fitted with a turbocharger, the 4B11T 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder is capable of producing 237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 253 pound-feet or torque at 3,000 rpm. The torque is most noticeable, as the Sportback Ralliart simply surges when you whack the go pedal. Not only does it feel like it's surging, it sounds like it, too. If shrieking four-bangers are your thing, you're going to love it. If not, you will notice that Mitsubishi sure didn't waste any money on soundproofing. Obviously, compared to the 265-hp WRX, the Ralliart is down in the horsepower department.

Worst of all, it feels it. While the initial take off is potent – brutal even – things seem to slow down a bit once you get above 45 mph. Now, while it still sounds like you're going faster as the engine keeps screaming and screaming, brazen, tire-shredding acceleration is not the Sportback Ralliart's forte. Case in point, the weirdly quick WRX can hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds (with an outlet or two clocking it at a silly 4.5), whereas the Sportback Ralliart takes a relatively leisurely 5.5 seconds to do the deed. Quick, sure, but not crazy quick.

If speed isn't the Sportback Ralliart's biggest virtue and selling point, surely handling is. And it is, to a point. Turn the wheel, and you're instantly filled with the sense that there's a whole lot of rally-heritage packed into the chassis. And there is. The chassis and most of the suspension pieces are from an Evo, though not the current one. The all-wheel-drive system in fact comes from the last generation Evo IX. Less pricey tires, too. The result is that while the car feels like a rally monster and consequently you feel like a rally hero, the limits are in fact pretty low. We imagine the sheer volume of noise in the cabin has something to do with this seeming conundrum.

Here's an example: You're hooning along your favorite road and here comes that one decreasing radius, rising elevation turn you know like the back of your Pilotis. You downshift, you turn in, you modulate the throttle, and man, listen to them tires squeal! Thing is, if you weren't so preoccupied with the task at hand, a quick glance down at the speedometer would reveal that you're not moving nearly as quickly as you thought you were. Lack of grip and a preference for understeer are the Sportback Ralliart's biggest handling shortcomings. Put another way, if numbers matter to you (skidpad, lap times), look elsewhere. However, if you just want a little wagon that feels great when the going gets twisty, this one isn't so bad.

While certainly not a bad car, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a compromised vehicle. In strict terms of the competition, I like it more than the twitchy MazdaSpeed3 but less than a Subaru WRX. While the Mazda has more power, the Mitsubishi's smart AWD system (last generation or not) lays the power down in a much more competent and satisfying way than the Speed3. The WRX, however, smokes the tires off of both. While the WRX is not the shockingly capable canyon carver it once was (blame the long travel suspension and re-packaged rear introduced in 2008), the Sportback Ralliart comes up short. Initial turn-in feels better, but that's about it. And the not-so-great WRX interior is actually a nicer place to sit. Then comes the real head scratcher: the price. More than $31,000 as tested for Sportback Ralliart is starting to creep dangerously close to Evo/STI territory. And the STI comes as a five-door...

Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      WHY would any American buy a Mitsubishi product ? They built the Zero,Kate, and Val.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "Let's be honest, the Evo is a better car than the STi"

      Uh, wait what? It might have a SLIGHT edge in response, but mitsubishi's questionable reliability makes the STi a clear winner. Mitsu DO NOT age well. At all. Stuff starts rattling apart and breaking in 3-7 years.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I experienced these cars first hand, myself - as in my money. I don't buy in to second hand, "my sister's brother's friend had one stuff." Sorry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow apparently I downranked for speaking the truth. Subaru reliability > mitsubishi. Rank me down all you want but that's the truth.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thinking about that a bit more, I'd be willing to wager a healthy sum that Mitsubishi's "poor reliability" rep in the States is mostly due to the fact that they're sold with discounts and 0% financing to people who really can't afford a car--and who can't afford to maintain them properly, either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with Tourian ... my Mitsubishi ownership has been faultless. When I traded my Galant in after 5 years and 90K miles, the engine was as whisper-quiet as it was the day I bought it. But then again, I serviced it regularly as I always do with any car. Cars will fall apart if they've been abused.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have had 4 Mitsubishis, two of them I sold with over 150,000 miles on them. I still see one of them driving around occasionally. Don't know where the other is. My current Evo and Eclipse are doing fine. So there's 4 more anecdotes for you

        Many forum horror stories come from ham fisted tooners who can get their first turbo car cheap in the form of a DSM (and now older Evos) and can't afford basic maintenance, but immediately put a $20 ebay BC on them and blow them up. These are the ones that complain the loudest. The thousands of people with non turbo Mitsus like Galants, Monteros, Mirages, Diamantes, regular Lancers that don't come to the boards that just quietly drive the cars and don't have many problems, you don't hear from. I met a bunch of them when I use to sell them. Its just easy to pick on someone when they are down, and thats why there's so many quick knee jerk "They suck" type comments to any Mitsu story.

        This car, I think - may not be the fastest, but it gives people another good solid choice in the market who might not like the looks of the WRX (should be plenty) and have to have AWD. It has plenty of amenities not common to cars of this class that this review doesn't talk about.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you looked at the Subaru boards lately around the country and the influx of blown motors on their cars?? There's a post on our local EVO board talking about this very thing. Suby's quality has taken a turn for the worse as well and we're not just talking about crappy interior plastics... They aren't the Subaru of yester-year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you sure the posts don't go something like this:

        "Yo, man, I reprogrammed my ECU in my basement so I could run 987983745987 lbs of boost and beat this Ferrari I always street race on Friday nights. I launched it at redline off the line and my engine shot the pistons through the hood, man, Subaru's engines suck!"

        Because I got to talking to a few people at a dealer, and they informed me people come in all the time wanting replacements under warranty after they've tuned the crap out of them and then exploded.

        Whoops, I was quoting Gen 8 Lancers and Evos hp figures, my bad. I agree with you to a certain extent that people should not overly tune/abuse their cars, but if you're building what pretty much equates to a road-legal rally car, it dang well better be able to handle anything I can throw at it within reason. Transmissions shouldn't be shredding or engines leaking oil with moderate SCCA solo use. Its the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that the car can handle anything it could run into on the road, otherwise it needs to limit the car's capabilities (which they already do to a certain extent)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Anecdotal evidence point: 2003 Galant rattling in every possible spot; struts/springs seem to be in need of replacement (including bushings and ball joints).

        On the other hand, as someone somewhere said (perhaps on this blog) - and I concur with this statement - after looking at many used WRXs/STIs and EVOs he decided against buying a used car because it wasn't wise to buy a used STI/EVO from the type of a person who would drive an STI/EVO. That's not a negative statement against the fans, but more of an observation that there is indeed that "man, I blew my engine after redlining it for 10 minutes, Subarus suck!" mentality.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you sure the posts don't go something like this:

        "Yo, man, I reprogrammed my ECU in my basement so I could run 987983745987 lbs of boost and beat this Ferrari I always street race on Friday nights. I launched it at redline off the line and my engine shot the pistons through the hood, man, Subaru's engines suck!"

        Because I got to talking to a few people at a dealer, and they informed me people come in all the time wanting replacements under warranty after they've tuned the crap out of them and then exploded.

        Umm no this is what I'm talking about... Stock Forester...

        A number of 08 and some early build 09 wrxs had issues with spun bearings. There is a big thread on nasioc (http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1695936). Most seemed to have happened at < 10,000 miles though.

        And this by one of the best tuners in the 5-state area...
        "Weird company, but people keep buying them. The factory tunes are total junk and the whole logic behind the ECUs are overly complicated for no reason. And since late 2006 the motors have been junk, I know people on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th 08 STi engines on 100% stock cars."
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Tourian

        Tell that to my girlfriend. She had a 2002 Lancer which was completely falling apart at 110,000 miles. Motor was trashed and burning oil, transmission was slipping and needed replacement, interior looked terrible. It was dealer maintained its entire life with a regular service schedule, she drives like any sane person would and the vehicle was well taken care of.

        Tell that to my co-worker who had a Galant that didn't even make it to 60,000 miles without catastrophic transmission failure.

        Tell that to my best friends sister had a 2002 Montero Sport with a slipping transmission and it burned oil. Interior rattled like crazy.

        Tell that to the thousands of people who own Mitsubishis where the clear coat is peeling off.

        Mitsubishi isn't even close to a top tier manufacturer and it really shows. Their best vehicles that they made, aren't being made anymore or cost too much. The Evo is the only Mitsubishi worth buying now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        you can thank the toyota overlords for subaru's the recent decline in reliability
        • 5 Years Ago
        Internationally, Mitsubishi has quite a stellar reputation for reliability.

        My personal experience with an Eclipse in the States bore this out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Questionable reliability? I owned an '02 Galant for five years and an '08 new-shape Lancer for three years. Both were utterly faultless. I haven't heard many Mitsubishi horror stories, even though the build quality on some Australian models was suspect.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi seems to be almost a dead brand in America.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's because the Evo is a *very* limited market, and the rest of the Mitsu lineup just doesn't sell like they need it to.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Everyone can agree the older evo's were awesome...they almost made you want to go out and buy a base lancer (almost!).

        But this Ralliart sportback is a failure. There is nothing abour this car that appeals to me over a GTI, MS3 or WRX. Theres no innovation here or class leading...anything. It doesnt even look good. Is mistubishi holding out for some all new designs and powertrains to come?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why, why, WHY did Mitsubishi build thousands of dollars' worth of flappy-paddle nonsense into this car's price tag--and then save a few hundred on crap tires?

        It's a no-brainer that the target market would prefer that money go into good-quality OEM rubber, with a cheaper traditional manual as standard.

        Mitsubishi seems bent on self-destruction at times. I only hope that, when finances force them to pull out of the NA market, the Evo lives on as a one-make brand, i.e. Corvette in Europe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is the kind of 5-door I could potentially consider. Their new CUV looks kind of attractive, too, if you like compact/mid-size CUVs.

        And frankly, although I greatly prefer the Subaru longitudinal boxer-engine driveline, compared to Mitsu's transverse vertical inline engine layout... I think the RalliArt and Evo, as well as this Sportback, are much more handsome than the 4 or 5 door impreza's aesthetics.

        Of all their cars, they let the Gallant and Diamante sink into the abyss. Those mainline sedans should have been kept up as a base-line. Their baseline is completely irrelevant, and compete with NOTHING.

        Then the new nice SUV, the Lancer, RA, and EVO, and a proper Eclipse, could build from there.

        Speaking of proper Eclipse... Why is that car not offered with a less bloated skin? Why no AWD option? Why no engine choice between the 3.8 V6, and the RalliArt's Turbo 4 at the very least? Why not a top end coupe with EVO drivetrain and engine?

        I like the 5-door bodystyle... but I like a good 3-door coupe even more. Concept RA was so close, yet not actually produced.

        Mitsubishi has the potential, especially allied with Kia and Hyundai to share engine tech. (they could share even more, like AWD tech, and a hungry approach to the market that Mitsu needs.)

        Much like Subaru's new blandness... Mitsu's irrelevance is mostly their own fault, and lack of drive to compete in the showroom, not only on car magazine covers or rally stages.

        That is what happens when enthusiasts, people who have a passion for cars, don't set the pace for the company, or at least the car-division within the larger company.

        Mainstream buyers will buy the cars that appeal to enthusiasts. Enthusiasts will not buy the cars that only appeal the the mainstream... or even fail to do that.

        The Sportback is a good step. Mitsu's new CUV is another. But they need to be RUNNING to keep up, not shuffling their feet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Which is really sad because i love my EVO IX mr. They need to start spending money and making better small cars if they want to keep up with the likes of Subaru, Toyota, and Ford in the States.

        They made good cars back in the day but then Truck-Gate hit them around the world and they went down-hill. I hope they can get back to where they once were because the US NEEDS the EVO!
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Much like Subaru's new blandness... Mitsu's irrelevance is mostly their own fault,"

        At least Subaru is getting record sales in the US. Mitsubishi doesnt have that to tout.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So you can shell out $31k (as tested price) for a car that gulps (premium?) gas, has an interior out of a 14K car, and revs annoyingly? Sounds like a winner.

      I drive a 2002 WRX wagon and it's great not only because of the bang-for-the-buck, but also because it's actually acceptable as a car you have to live with -- carry around your wife and kids, take a weekend trip, pick up people at the airport, take a road trip, commute and so on.

      I've driven Evos, STI's and other performance hardware (BMW's, RX-8, Corvettes) over the years. The Subarus often get dinged by people who don't have to live with them because they are "too soft", but people hold onto them for a while because the softness makes them easier to live with as you go from being a single male to a married one, and then a father. Driving a car set to "kill" (the Evo) at the track or on the twisties is a blast, to be sure -- but that 4K @ 70 MPH, no sound deadening and no cruise control is annoying as all hell on a 6 hour road trip. Or on a daily 1 hour commute, for that matter.

      On a complete and total tangent, my wife's minivan has AWD, 270 HP/tq, a really nice interior, seats 7, can hold a 4x8 sheet of plywood with the seats out, and gets better mileage than this thing on regular gas. The MSRP was lower, as well. Of course it can't keep up in the twisties, and yes, it is a minivan, but come on Mitsu, don't show up with a knife at a gun fight.
        • 5 Years Ago

        If performance is your only yardstick for buying a car, then yeah the Ralliart has a lot of competition that push it down from being anywhere near the top. But if you are a family man that needs something he can pack his familiy in to that lives in the NE and has a wife that can't drive stick then a Ralliart is going to be a lot closer to the top then a V6 manual Mustang will be.

        Honestly, I mean you guys really need to realize that there are buyers out there who don't have the same list of needs, wants and prioities that you do. It is just that simple.
        • 5 Years Ago
        that tangent is completely relevant to this discussion
        • 5 Years Ago
        In my mind, it's the Evo and STI that compete. And the STI gets the nod for "civility". Truth be told, when you get to Evo/STI prices nowadays you are competing against some formidable competition -- the BMW 335 or 135 come to mind, especially if you don't care about AWD and you can afford closer to the 40K. Then there are the spate of cars like the Mazdaspeed 3, GTI and offerings from the Koreans that come with a side of sport. That's if you can go more towards the 30K. Plus you have offerings like the 2011 Mustang or Camaro whose v6 engines are generating 300 HP and returning respectable fuel economy. Some of this is definitely apples to oranges, but the reality is that the sport compact market is packed with a lot of different choices, and this offering by Mitsubishi seems weak in comparison to other models that are available that offer more refinement, more power, or both. Heck, even the boring 4-banger compacts hanging out around 20K come with decent interior and amenities nowadays, and even the subcompacts can be optioned up with all sorts of things, too.

        I like having this problem, as opposed to 2002 when I bought my WRX and it was pretty much the only game in town. Competition is a good thing, and I like that more manufacturers are spending some money in the cabin and in their compact cars rather than pushing more and more trucks and crossovers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, some may criticize Mitsubishi, but at least their designs are original and modern; unlike the ridiculous trend amongst some car companies that went the silly retro route in some of their auto designs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car manages to cost $10G more than it should. I am always amazed when I see one on the street, granted I saw only 1-3 in past year.

      • 5 Years Ago
      In no way is this POS as good as a Mazdaspeed 3. AWD or not, Mazda would destroy this thing in any performance contest aside from a drag race.

      The WRX is a different story. It's around the same level as the Mazdaspeed. But too bad the Cobalt SS s**ts on all of them from a purely performance standpoint.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Metahugh76

        Where in the world did you see that?

        I've seen a few that were in the low 5 second range from reputable sources. Regardless, not everyone is doing AWD launches from stoplights, anything from a roll a stock MS3 would walk a Ralliart.

        AWD parasitic loss is no fun.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL! The Mazdaspeed 3 won't even break 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Finish wise its a nice car but not nearly as fast as a Mitsu.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Hadaz-- I am in the same boat-- I have had several talks with people about how cool some of the electronic/differential/AWD wizardry in the EVO and actually like the distinctive looks. The question inevitably follows, "So is that the next car you're going to buy?" And the answer is always the same: Hell No.

      Notoriety is not what I want a long-term, expensive automotive relationship to be based on. I want something which offers a more well-rounded package, because I don't always drive right at the very limits of speed, adhesion, and propriety. Even the STi is a better proposition because it is a saner car to live with on a day-to-day basis.

      The WRX, to me, is the "just-right" solution. It needs some suspension tweaking to achieve the proper balance between sharpness and liveability (too wallowy, too much body roll, needs thicker anti-roll bars to help with the understeer), but as it rolls out of the factory it is a much better value proposition because it can do more than one thing well. And the new body style has grown on me.

      Plus, I live where it snows, so the GTI and the Speed3 lose some of their appeal.

      I'd love to drive an Evo-- or even this Ralliart, but I'd never seriously consider buying one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car makes no sense....if you are going to throw down $30K, why not scrounge up a few more for the EVO GSR and get a proper manual trans? Hell just bring back the EVO IX and call it a day...until then I will keep watching for a good deal on a 05-07 WRX.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now that is one ugly car......Im sure some of you own this car or like this car but holy cow that is not a pretty machine.Who buys these things?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think on its own its a perfect car, It does have 237hp and does the 60 in 5.5 while every other econo box not targeted at the sport crowd does on average 0-60 in 7-8secs..

      as for the plastics in the inside, um have you been in a Kia? or a Corolla? pretty much the norm when it comes to econo..I think that debate is relative...

      With the level of tech this car comes with dual clutch I.E I think the price justifies the means..
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's like when everyone complains they have the boy racer look to these rally inspire cars...the only thing im thinking in my mind is are fing kiddin me? Thats their roots where they came from and got inspired...but people want to change them...Thats why i praise Ford for never changing it's Mustang roots and heritage...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Forte is relatively new to the scene...The Lancer without the gadgets and tech starts at 15K which is pretty much the norm in the field...Add dual clutch AWD and turbo for another 15K and it does justify the means; those are cost that you cannot just simply nickle and dime on..while everyone else compromises..The forte better interior but no where near the power level of this..The Mazda 3 Turbo had to compromise on AWD/normal manual trans to make it cheaper..Same goes for the Caliber SRT 4 which uses the same engine as the Lancer..

        All I know you can never please anyone..and everyone will always find something wrong with a car..thats why theres 101 flavors lol...Look what happen with the Impreza while trying to make a grown up car it lost it's cachet, up in till now they are bringing back the STI sedan which is the what put STI on the map...These cars are econo boxes with power trains suited for a performance car...but once you start trying to change them into an Audi A3 is when you start going wrong...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Level, you make some excellent points. The Ralliart looks very good on paper. However, go check out the new Kias-- the Soul, the Forte and the Koup. Their interior designs are much more organic, and the plastics -- while still economy-car-hard -- are of a much higher quality. They have tighter tolerances, better overall ergonomics and aesthetic design and lack that greasy sheen which attracts the dust and fuzz you can never get rid of. I have a preternatural loathing of most Toyota products, but again, you need to go and look at the interiors. The Corolla is designed and manufactured better than the Mitsubishi.

        Couple the creaky, greasy and just plain ugly interior with a lingering reputation for poor reliability and pricey maintenance, as well as a comparatively expensive purchase price, and the car becomes a very poor value proposition.

        I agree with you, however, that the transmission is slick. I just couldn't bring myself to buy the car as a whole solely for the transmission.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think I'd ever get this car, and probably not an EVO either just because it's too flamboyant for my tastes, but I really appreciate how despite the cheap plastics used in the interior, all the parts that matter for driving are of good quality. And by that I mean the steering wheel, pedals, and shift knob/paddle shifters, the three things that you use the most while driving.

      Personally, as crappy as the interior might be, if those three things are of good quality then that's more than enough for me.
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