Road Test

Road Test: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

June 1, 2010

Mitsubishi Ralliart_01This Santorini Orange Lancer is called Ralliart and it is EVO’s new baby brother. Ralliart shares some components with the Evolution-model, but is available as a hatchback-model. At first the Ralliart looks the same as basic Lancer hatchback added with a big rear spoiler and 18” wheels. Then you notice the twin exhaust tail pipes, the bonnet vents and that little Ralliart logo in the front grille. This small logo has surprisingly big affect, because once you have noticed it, you always start staring at it when you look at the car.

It might look like a normal Lancer, but the technical features are mostly borrowed from the EVO-model. Ralliart’s 4B11 engine shares its lightweight aluminum cylinder head and block with the Evolution. Other shared features include chain driven camshafts, MIVEC variable valve timing which operates on both intake and exhaust valves, direct valve actuation for improved response and reliability and rearward-facing exhaust ports allowing the engine to be lowered by 10mm for a lower center of gravity. Power is boosted by a turbocharger coupled to a front-mounted intercooler.

As a result, the 2.0-litre turbo engine has 240 horsepower which might sound a bit shy next to the EVO’s 300, but it isn’t. Ralliart is surprisingly powerful and if you wouldn’t know, you would think there is even more power under the hood. Engine responses quickly and with even a gentle press on a gas pedal gets the car going so that it looks like you are trying to demonstrate Ralliart’s performance potential and all you are doing is a normal start.

It’s not just the engine which keeps this Mitsubishi ahead of the many other cars. As you would expect, Ralliart is 4WD and has technology to keep the car under control even in most demanding situations. M-ASTC (Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control) control the brakes and engine output to enable a smoother start on slick surfaces and stabilise the car, if sensors detect unstable movement. The AWC (All-Wheel Control) maintains overall control of the several advanced eelctronic and mechanical devices incorporated into the Ralliart’s full-time 4WD system, including the ACD (Active Centre Differential) and front and rear mechanical LSDs (Limited Slip Differentials) which regulate torque distribution between the wheels on either side of the car.

The AWC system’s ECU uses sensors to monitor wheel speed, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, yaw rate, throttle opening and engine torque/speed, and works seamlessly to keep the power under control. The ACD (Active Centre Differential) controls the limited slip torque and wheel speeds between front and rear via hydraulic multi-plate clutch, based on a 50:50 torque distribution through the centre differential, for enhanced steering response and traction. A switch on the centre console enables the operation of the ACD to be tailored to driving conditions. TARMAC, the normal setting for dry paved roads, GRAVEL for loose or wet surfaces and SNOW for very slippery or snow-covered roads. The selected mode is displayed in the instrument panel central monitor.

Ralliart is only available with TC-SST (Twin-Clutch Sport Shift Transmission) gearbox, which appeares like a conventional automatic. There are two pedals and a centre console mounted gearshift. However the six speed TC-SST gearbox has no torque converter making it more efficient than a normal automatic. Instead it uses two clutches, one to engage the gear in use, the other to pre-select the next gear required. That way, when the command for the next gear is given either by the driver or, in automatic mode, by the computer, the change takes place instantaneously. Gearbox has two control modes; Normal, which permits smoother gear changes at relatively low engine speeds for maximum comfort and economy; and Sport, which both quickens the shift and triggers gear changes at higher revs for more sprited driving where conditions allow. Mode selection between Normal and Sport is achieved by means of a switch located behind the gearshift on the centre floor console.

Ralliart adopts the same suspension design as the standard Lancer. At front McPherson struts and at rear multi-link suspension. Ralliart’s preformance handling is further enhanced by tightened spring rates combined with stronger damper force, a stiffened front stabiliser bar and reinforced rear suspension mountings. On the road Ralliart feels a bit softer than the EVO-model, but you can still take it pretty fast through the corners without a fraid of loosing control.

All in all, comparing to the EVO, Ralliart is a bit softer, not quite as powerful and much easier to live with. A more civilized version of a performance Lancer. But comparing to the other Lancer-models, Ralliart is a real beast in hatchback uniform. It has the performance potential that you wouldn’t know to expect just by the looks of the car. I myself, would be very happy with the Ralliart. It has powerful engine, fast TC-SST gearbox and 4WD. Enough features to enjoy fast driving and at the same time, it works well as a daily driver. The sensible choice. The only problem is that I have driven the EVO-model and loved it. Eventhough these two cars share much of the components, this just doesn’t feel quite the same.

Specification

Engine

  • petrol
  • 4-cylinder
  • 1998cc
  • turbo

Power

  • 177 kW ( 240 hp) / 6000rpm

Torque

  • 343 Nm / 2500-4750rpm

Transmission

  • 6-speed automatic
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 7.1 seconds

Top speed

  • 220 km/h / 136 mph

Fuel consumption

  • 10.2 l/100km / 27.7 mpg

CO2 emissions

  • 243 g/km

Mitsubishi Ralliart_02