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2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

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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. (See )

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 it.

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 © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 Ralliart, named for Mitsubishiís performance wing
 The 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
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Photo Caption: 
  The 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
Photo Credits:  
Mitsubishi Internet Media
Series #:   2005 - 18

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