Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The Sportback (or ‘hatchback’ in non-Mitsubishi marketing talk) was launched here in October 2008, and features the same popular frontal styling of the sedan from the front door forward.

The ‘go fast’ Ralliart variant also features the same vented aluminum bonnet as the super-quick EVO sedan.
Not so good Most of us at Car Verdict prefer the styling of the Lancer sedan over the Sportback. The rear-end looks a bit ‘portly’ in contrast to the sleek, low front-end design and so overall, it’s definitely less of a looker. It could also benefit from more sound deadening material and the Lancer’s doors close with more of a tinny sound than the more desirable ‘thud’ of a number of competitors.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Stylish driver’s instrument dials, great looking steering wheel and clever ‘Smart’ key (standard on higher grades).

The interior space is a big improvement over previous generation Lancer’s, as is the amount of storage compartments. There’s sufficient rear legroom, useful rear parking sensors (as rear visibility can be difficult due to a rising exterior waistline and thick rear pillars).

Plus, the rear seats can be folded down to create a generous amount of cargo capacity.
Not so good Too much hard, dark plastic on show and not enough sound deadening means too much road noise when on the move. The steering wheel adjusts for tilt, but unfortunately not reach (in and out), and the Ralliart’s ‘sports’ seats could offer more support considering the power under the bonnet. With the rear seats up the Sportback makes do with significantly less cargo carrying capacity than the Lancer sedan (288L vs. 402L) and rear seat headroom is tight for those over 6 foot tall. Overall, it lacks that premium ‘solid’ feel of say…a Volkswagen Golf.
Performance

Performance

Good Top selling 2.0L Petrol grade’s engine trumps most of its competitors with 113kW of power. Ralliart’s 2.0L Turbo engine has impressive power (177kW) and torque (343Nm) figures, and its new ‘fancy’ dual-clutch sequential auto TC-SST transmission is very, very good – gear changes are super quick! The 2.4L engine in the VRX variants is sizeable for a small car and provides more than enough ‘get up and go’.
Not so good At almost 1,500kg (Ralliart TC-SST grade) this Hot Hatch contender is carrying too much weight.

There’s excessive engine noise in the cabin under high revs.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Ralliart’s ride is more cosseting than in big brother EVO (actually its ride & handling balance is our favourite of all the Lancer grades).

The Ralliart’s ‘active centre differential’ offers Tarmac, Gravel and Ice mode and when combined with All-Wheel Drive it provides confident grip no matter what the weather is; lower grades make do with Front-Wheel Drive, however still provide safe handling.
Not so good Ralliart’s steering could communicate more what is happening between the wheels and the road; it also lacks grip (could do with better tyres) and is prone to excessive understeer when pushed hard.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Good value for money (considering the equipment and technology on offer) plus, SEVEN airbags as standard on all Lancer grades!
Not so good Across the range fuel economy is no better than average.