San Francisco: There
are several cars on the market now that deliver exciting performance and
are still affordable for the young buyers who want them. One of these is
the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, named for Mitsubishiís performance wing.
The Ralliart boasts 162 horsepower from 2.4 liters,
much more energy than the 120 horsepower of the standard Lancer, and
competitive with offerings from Dodge, Honda, Mazda, and others. Fuel
mileage is 23 City, 29 highway.
My Graphite Gray test car looked serious about its
mission in life. The Lancer is a pleasantly styled, modestly
proportioned four-door sedan. In standard form it doesnít stand out in
traffic, but the Ralliart model gets body side ground effects panels
with a spoiler in back and jaunty fog lamps. Low profile 16-inch rims
are standard, and special badging identifies the Ralliart model. You
even get Ralliart logos on the floormats!
To help you stop from the more spirited driving you
will surely do, the front disc brakes are bigger than the standard car,
and the rear brakes are discs, not drums. You also get antilock brakes
and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which electronically assesses
the carís stopping needs and proportions the braking force to the front
or back wheels as needed.
The Ralliartís short-throw five-speed manual
transmission feels solid and connected to the drivetrain. If youíre not
the sporting type, you should probably be looking at a different
vehicle, but you can order the optional four-speed automatic if you
really want to. It uses adaptive shift control, which learns a driverís
style and remembers it afterwards, shifting at the right points to
please him or her.
Mitsubishiís engineers tightened up the steering by
increasing the diameter of the steering rack, giving the car a better
road feel and sense of control. Increased shock damping keeps the
Ralliart more stable during quick turns. Increased spring rates and
larger front and rear sway bars give the car precise handling without
making it too harsh. Some road noise makes its way into the cabin on
freeways, but overall the car is pleasant to drive.
Inside, deeply bolstered racing seats are the
biggest hint that the Ralliart is above the ordinary. A strip of pseudo
carbon fiber trim on the dash complements a metallic center section.
Both contrast with the all-business black working area. The leather
wrapped tilt-adjustable steering wheel and baseball-stitched leather
shift knob add a sporty feeling.
Despite the Ralliartís modest size, its 102.4-inch
wheelbase keeps it from becoming too confining for four or even five
folks to travel in. Its 11.3 cubic feet of trunk space will accommodate
a weekís worth of groceries.
Every Lancer comes with air conditioning; power
windows, locks and mirrors; electric window defroster, 140-watt CD
player with four speakers, and an eight-way adjustable drivers seat.
Moving to the Ralliart gets you the added looks and performance, but
still starts at just $18,199. My tester had the Sun & Sound package
($1,500), which includes a power sunroof and a thumping 315-watt
Infinity CD sound system, including a subwoofer that takes up some trunk
space. It also had the Rally Package ($131), which includes niceties
like a trunk cargo net, scuff plate, and chrome exhaust tip. My tester
came to $20,405.
If the Ralliart isnít enough, you can opt for the
mighty Evolution model. The Evo adds boldly expressive body cladding and
wings and 271 horsepower from just 2.0 liters. But at $28,499, the
Evolution is well out of the reach for many buyers who would love to own
On the opposite end of the spectrum, starting at
just $14,299, the economical and unassuming Lancer ES and the slightly
more lavishly equipped LS models are good transportation.
Mitsubishi offers a generous 10-year/100,000 mile,
Powertrain Limited Warranty, as well as a five-year/60,000 mile New
Vehicle Limited Warranty and seven-year Anti-Corrosion Perforation
Limited Warranty. This is meant to reduce your worries about what might
happen after you drive one of these cars home.
I enjoyed the youthful feeling of zipping back and
forth to work in the Lancer Ralliart. I would be happier without the
mammoth spoiler on the trunk, but otherwise the little sedan acquitted
itself beautifully. By
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Mitsubishi Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
named for Mitsubishiís performance wing
2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
The 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer
Mitsubishi Internet Media
2005 - 18
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2005 Mitsubishi Lancer
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