Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart good match for its cousin

Appearance: The Ralliart is a five-door hatchback whose sleek styling is European-influenced and not unlike that of its more powerful brother, the Evo. The rear end slopes gently to the taillights with a rear wing spoiler perched high on the hatch. The gaping, sharklike grille dominates the front of the car and definitely is an acquired taste. Peter's wife dubbed it "the angry car." Functional scoops accent the hood.

Performance: The large, Sportronic paddle shifters are mounted on the steering column — thank you very much — so they don't turn with the steering wheel. The twin-clutch six-speed transmission shifts smoothly, but in the automatic mode we both felt it revved too high in the lower gears. And unlike front-wheel-drive sport compacts, there's no torque steer. The Ralliart's AWD and limited-slip differentials (front and rear) kept the car firmly planted on the pavement. The sports suspension is firm, but not uncomfortable. Lyra cruised up to Ocala and back without problem. The acceleration belies the car's 237 horsepower and there is almost no turbo lag.

Interior: Here's the potential deal-breaker, at least for Lyra. She thought the Recaro racing seats were, in a word, awful. There weren't enough adjustments to make it comfortable for a shorter driver. Elsewhere, the interior is a mix of plastics and faux carbon fiber, with easy-to-read sport gauges (white on black, with a sharp color screen in the middle) and a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The hatch opens to a spacious cargo area, which has a flat opening, no lip to hoist your groceries over. We both thought this was a neat feature: The angles of the head lamps can be adjusted with a button. And the nine-speaker Premium Rockford-Fosgate sound system has a volume control that automatically adjusts according to car speed. We both like keyless start, but wondered why the car has a knob and not a start button. The navigation system works well, and the screen is easy to read. The Ralliart has all the creature comforts, like an AC with micron filter, auto climate control, rear-heater floor ducts, power door locks and windows, and Bluetooth phone system.

The bottom line: Great car (and transmission) for those who need utility without sacrificing on performance, especially in city driving. We wish the price was closer to 25K than 30K, though. Skip the Recaro seats if you're short.

Mitsubishi's all-new Lancer Sportback Ralliart is a car that seeks to straddle performance and practicality, which is a tough task for any carmaker — especially at a price for under $30,000. Mitsubishi already has a giant-killer with its much-lauded Evolution (a.k.a. Evo). So how does this "hot hatch" cousin succeed in its goal?

Our 3 favorites

Color: How could you not love a name like Rotor Glow? This burnt orange color is stunning, worth the extra $150.

Cargo access: Open, so it's easy to load and unload.

Easy on the eyes: Crisp and easy-to-read gauges and displays.

Transmission: Big paddles, and smooth shifts in manual mode.

Color: It's bold without being outlandish.

Acceleration: Not much off the line, but do you need to zip through traffic? Check.

Peter Couture

Lyra Solochek

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart

Price: $27,590 base, $31,210 as tested

Powertrain: 2.0-liter I-4 MIVEC turbo with Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift transmission, AWD.

Horsepower: 237 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 253 pound-

feet at 2,500-4,750 rpm

Curb weight: 3,573 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 103.7

Length, 180.4

Width, 69.4

Fuel economy:

17 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway

Safety features: Air bags and curtains, front crumple zones, adjustable rear headrests, daytime running lights, active stability control, traction control.

Other trim levels: Lancer (four trims), Lancer Sportback GTS, Lancer Evolution (three trims)

Options worth considering: Recaro front seats, Rockford-Fosgate premium sound system, Sirius satellite radio.

Web site:

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart good match for its cousin 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bank of Tampa expanding into Sarasota


    TAMPA — The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota County. It opened a loan office this month in downtown Sarasota at 1858 Ringling Blvd., which will be converted to a full-service branch within the year, the company said in a release Monday.

    The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota. Charles Murphy, pictured, will lead the Sarasota branch. | [Courtesy of The Bank of Tampa]
  2. Tampa Bay home prices still climbing, though more slowly

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay home prices rose again in June, although the once-torrid pace of increases shows signs of slowing.

    This three story home in Port Richey's gated Harborpointe sold for $1.15 million in June, making it the top sale in Pasco County for the month.
[Penny Perry]
  3. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. Clearwater mansion that sold at record price is back on the market for $19.75 million

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Less than four months after it sold for a record $11.18 million, the waterfront Century Oaks estate is back on the market — for $19.75 million.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which sold for $11.18 million four months ago, is back on the market.
[Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group

  5. Tampa Bay gas prices jump nearly 10 cents over the week


    Gas prices in Tampa Bay are on the rise again.

    Tampa Bay gas prices jumped nearly 10 cents over the past week to an average of $2.15 per gallon. | [Times file photo]