Since the debut of the Lancer Evolution back in 2006, we have seen the popularity of Mitsubishi’s all wheel drive sports sedan increase, however, it has always maintained the original 4 door sedan platform. This has allowed other automakers, like Subaru and Mazda, the opportunity to introduce a sport back version of their popular sport sedans with very good results. Last year, we saw the introduction of the Evolution MR and were intrigued when a rumor about a sport back version of the Lancer was in the works. With the success of the Lancer RALLIART edition last year, it was only logical for Mitsubishi to develop a Sport back version of the affordable sport sedan to compete in a market that is currently dominated by other Japanese automakers. The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer RALLIART Sport back edition features a combination of the ever popular Lancer sedan and the Lancer Evolution, bridging the gap between the track and the daily driven roads.
Follow the jump for the full review.
The Lancer RALLIART Sport back’s interior is equipped with Recaro bucket seats that feature 6 way manual adjustments with built in airbags for both driver and passenger. The RALLIART package also features a Rockford Fosgate sound system that is equipped with a 140 watt CD/MP3, six speakers, and a subwoofer that is tastefully integrated into the rear compartment area. The rear compartment is unscathed by the subwoofer integration allowing for a maximum cargo capacity of 52.7 cubic feet with the aid of 60/40 split fold down rear seats providing even more cargo flexibility. There is also an option to get a 40GB HDD Navigation system that includes a hard drive based map database with a feature that searches for HOV lanes (in case you happen to be in charge of the carpool on the commute to work). Both sound systems can be controlled through the sport steering wheel that, along with the shift knob and emergency brake handle, is wrapped in leather to create a sportier look for the Lancer’s cabin.
There are also added conveniences in the Lancer RALLIART Sport back edition that you would not expect to find in a car in this class such as: the Bluetooth hands free phone system with built in voice command recognition, electronic keyless starting and entry system, tilt adjustable steering column, aluminum sport pedals, privacy cover for the rear hatch, floor mats with the “RALLIART” logo embroidered on them, and an LCD color information display located in the center of the gauge cluster. Other trims feature comfortable bucket seats that come standard with cloth upholstery and manual adjustments, automatic climate control with a micron air filtration system, and center console storage with covered cup holders in all of its models. The GTS model adds Mitsubishi’s Sports Fabric, a more supportive side bolster with power seat adjustment, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, and cruise control. With the Touring Package, you get leather interior with built-in heaters for the front seats as well as power options.
The exterior of the 2010 Lancer has a very aggressive front end that gives plenty of character to the Sport back. This is then complimented with sleek and stylish lines that go all the way through the mid section, allowing the Lancer Sport back to maintain a sporty look that stands out well. The design of the rear hatch has clean integrated tail lights and blends in smoothly with the lines of the Lancer Sedan. Other features that contribute to the Lancer’s RALLIART aggressive look include the Mitsubishi Evolution mesh grille and chrome trim. However, the most visible exterior feature that the Lancer Sport back RALLIART has is the lightweight aluminum hood that it inherits from the Evolution. The good thing about the hood is that it is not a cosmetic feature; it improves weight distribution on the front end and lowers the center of gravity by allowing air though the vents and into the engine compartment to improve power and reliability. Other features that can be found on the exterior of the Lancer Sport back include parabolic fog lights, rear spoiler, and standard 18 inch ten spoke alloy wheels for the RALLIART package that are wrapped on Yokohama Advan summer tires for a better grip on the road.
The Lancer Sport back is equipped with an all aluminum engine that features a Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) and Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC). Pair this engine with a turbo system and front mount intercooler system and you end up with a 237hp for the Lancer RALLIART when compared to the 168 hp 2.4 liter MIVEC engine that is found under the hood of the regular Lancer sedan. The Lancer Sportback RALLIART is also equipped with All-Wheel Control (AWC), which transfers torque from front to rear axles depending on the condition of the road. The transmission is equipped with a Twin Clutch Sportronic Shifter that can be controlled through the paddles behind the steering wheel or through the shifter on the center console. The shifter will switch gears faster than most drivers, keeping all that turbo power flowing between shifts. There is also an optional 5 speed manual transmission available.
Lancer Sport back’s RALLIART suspension is composed of McPherson struts up front and an independent multi link system that is paired with a flat front sub frame. This does away with flex inducing bends which keeps the RALLIART Sport back glued to the road while maintaining a smooth and comfortable ride. Every Lancer Sport back is equipped with large disc brakes at each wheel, is controlled by an Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and has electronic brake force distribution. Electronic brake force distribution adjusts braking force between front and rear axles to help reduce stopping distance while the ABS helps prevent individual wheels from locking up under hard braking. The Lancer Sport back comes with a very complete airbag system that includes a standard airbag under the driver’s dash, something that Mitsubishi claims is not a feature one would find in most competitor vehicles of its class. The purpose of the “knee” airbag is to keep the driver’s legs and lower body stabilized in case of front end collision.
It took a while to get used to the paddle shifters but once I got the hang of it (took only minutes), I loved the convenience that they created when it came to take off and downshifting. The fuel economy is 17 mpg city and 22mpg highway which is not bad for an all-wheel drive. Overall, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer RALLIART truly delivers and, unlike its sportier counterpart (Evolution MR), still maintains its rally roots as a driver’s car. This vehicle gives the ultimate experience of the road with the comfort of a sedan and the cargo room of a sport wagon. The all-wheel drive and engine are up to par on city and highway thanks to the aid of a great turbocharged setup that is generous on the wallet when it comes to the pump. An added incentive is the peace of mind that consumers will have knowing that Mitsubishi installed the air bag equipped Recaro sports seats allowing you to keep the sporty look and safety factor in check. This is a welcomed bonus that was not expected. Indeed, at the 31K price tag, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sport back RALLIART deserves some serious consideration in a class where Subaru stood alone at one time. This edition gives consumers the opportunity to look to Mitsubishi for a great car at an exceptional value.