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Mitsubishi Lancer

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 11:37am

Every time I get behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi, I forget how much I just enjoy driving them. The problem has always been that they were, uh, not pretty. With the new Lancer Sportback, that is obviously no longer a problem.

With a grill that looks much like the latest generation of Audis, the Lancer has been transformed from a homely, chunky sedan to a lovely, almost European performance package.

And then there’s the Ralliart edition. Let’s start with the name, which is just plain goofy. I mean, what does Ralliart mean? It is basically the in-house hot rod in the Lancer family, but frankly, I’ve never been completely sure how to even pronounce it.

No matter, the 2-liter, twin-cam, turbocharged engine cranks out 237-horsepower in a manner that is pretty much right now. Press the go-pedal and those ponies give your back a shove and leave you trying to utter the word “wow” but having trouble getting the sound out. The Lancer is just plain quick with 60 miles per hour coming up in 5.7-seconds and a top speed of 138 miles per hour. All wheel drive keeps everything planted as you play boy racer, which by the way is impossible to resist.

Inside is all very nice, very modern and nicely screwed together. Sportback is essentially another word for hatchback, and this one is pretty practical as these things go. But honestly, who cares.

The Lancer Ralliart is all about fun, stupid, fast, irresponsible fun, and with a mileage rating of 17 city, 25 highway, it’s sort of kind of semi-frugal, if you are feeling generous. Loaded u with just about everything including leather and adjustable headlamps, our Lancer came to just under $32,000.

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