Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart used car reviewMotor Reviews Used Car Reviews Motor News
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.
- CJ MY11
- Badge Description
- Ralliart Sportback TC-SST
- Sports Automatic Dual Clutch
- Engine Configuration Description
- Gear Num
- Build Country Origin Description
- Overall Green Star Rating
- Fuel Type Description
- Petrol - Premium ULP
- Drive Description
- Four Wheel Drive
- Warranty KM
Mitsubishi’s Lancer-based Evo models have always had a hard-core following, largely because of the marketing based on the company’s Would Championship Rallying exploits, but also because the Lancer Evo has always been a ripper car.
But it was also, thanks to limited numbers, an expensive car and that ruled the thing out for many buyers. Back in 2008, for example, the then-brand-new Lancer Evo 10 was a cool $64,490 in its cheapest guise and it was entirely possible to spend north of $72,000 by the time you had the range-topping MR version on the road.
Which is partly why Subaru was selling so many of its WRX models which had all but the same cachet as the Mitsubishi, but a sub-$40,000 starting price.
True, the basic WRX didn’t have the same performance as the Evo 10, but it was still a quick, fun car and it was still selling pretty well.
Enter the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart which offered three-quarters of the Evo 10 experience at closer to two-thirds the price.
Crucially, the Ralliart was still a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive tarmac terror, so it wasn’t simply dismissed by the target market and was definitely taken seriously.
To get the price down, Mitsubishi went ratting through its parts-bin, swapping the Evo 10’s twin-scroll turbocharger for a simpler (and cheaper) single-scroll unit.
Beyond that, the two motors were pretty similar, but the simplified turbocharger pegged power at 177kW (40kW down on the Evo 10) and torque at 343Nm (just 17Nm down).
The big news in the Ralliart was that it got the six-speed double-clutch transmission as standard.
It could work OK, especially when you wanted to punt it along. But in traffic and around town it could be a temperamental unit with jerky and sometimes inconsistent changes.
If you wanted a conventional manual, it wasn’t available in the Ralliart.
Backing up the value-for-money equation was the fact that, like the Evo 10, the Ralliart got an active centre differential with three driver-selectable modes (tarmac, gravel and snow) with more torque sent to the rear wheels in gravel mode.
The 18-inch alloy wheels from the VRX Lancer were used on the Ralliart, and the latter got its own, specific spring rates.
Add it all up and you were looking at a pretty serious piece of hardware that suddenly gave would-be Subaru WRX buyers something to think about.
That desirability was added to by the fact that the Ralliart Lancer could be had as both a sedan as the Evo 10 was, or in the five-door hatch form of the Sportback.
It was a fun little car to drive, too, with sharp dynamics and more than enough urge to be entertaining.
The engine could feel a bit harsh and plenty of noise made it into the cabin and, like the Evo 10 it tried so hard to imitate, the ride quality could be pretty awful over less than perfect surfaces.
Frankly, there are more soothing cars to drive over a long distance, but if there’s a twisty road in your future, the Ralliart Lancer could be good fun on a budget.
Fuel costs, however, might be slightly higher than you might have anticipated.
The all-wheel-drive system adds weight and mechanical drag to the package, increasing its thirst a little and the Ralliart prefers the more expensive premium unleaded.
Things to watch for include the ever-present danger that the car you’re looking at is stolen.
For some reason, the baddies love the late-model Lancer so be sure to check the car’s VIN with the authorities to determine whether it’s ever been stolen, written-off or has finance still owing on it.
Licensed car dealers must provide these guarantees as part of the deal, but private sellers are not subject to the same checks and measures, so you need to do your own legwork in buying privately. At the very least get an independent report from someone like carhistory.com.au
The other thing to watch for is a car purporting to be a Ralliart but is actually a Lancer with a body kit and the correct decals and badges.
Again, plenty of cooking-model Lancers have been turned into Evo clones over the years and while the practice is widespread, it should also be pretty easy to spot.
Compare the Ralliart spec sheet with the car on offer and you’ll soon know whether it’s a real one or a fake.
Even a Ralliart, of course, can be the victim of the fiddlers and any car that has had its engine output boosted should be treated with extreme caution.
Some tuners can get it right, but they’re not all created equal – and any mods will naturally go stressing components that maybe weren’t engineered for such duties. Don’t buy a ticking time-bomb by accident.
And let’s face it, if you need more performance than the Ralliart offers, maybe you should be shopping for an Evo 10 in the first place.
Dodgy sellers aside, the Lancer mechanical package has proven itself to be pretty robust with Mitsubishi even offering a 10-year warranty on the driveline.
Sadly, this was only available to the original purchaser and is not carried forward to any subsequent owners.
But the factory five-year warranty on the driveline and the rest of the car certainly is, so most Ralliarts will still have some of that five-year cover remaining.
The catch is that the car in question must have a full service record – and not be modified - if you expect Mitsubishi to honour the warranty.
A car that has been neglected with skipped services is not only vastly more likely to give trouble, it’s also cause for the company to reject any warranty claims down the track.
If the owner can’t provide an up-to-date service handbook, we’d be looking elsewhere.
For a car so obviously targeted at younger drivers, the Lancer Ralliart makes a good fist of keeping them safe.
Standard safety gear includes seven air-bags including a knee-bag for the driver and three-point seat-belts in all seating positions.
There’s also stability-control and the full suite of braking aids as well as the grip inherent in the all-wheel-drive layout.
All up, the Ralliart Lancer might not have the street cred of its Evo 10 brother, but it’s still a heck of a lot of car for the money and an entertaining drive into the bargain.
Our rating: 3.5/5
Nuts and bolts
Engine/s: 2.0 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmissions: 6-speed twin-clutch automatic
Fuel economy (combined): 9.8 litres per 100km
Safety rating (courtesy of www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au): 5 stars
- Most of the Evo experience at two-thirds the price.
- Six-speed twin-clutch transmission could shift briskly.
- Cheaper to insure than the Evo version.
- Lots of street cred.
- Some have been butchered in the name of performance.
- Many have a dubious past.
- 10-year driveline cover doesn’t extend beyond first owner.
- Will always live in the shadow of the Evo 10.
- Auto transmission could be clunky around town.
Subaru WRX – The popular choice in this market segment, but later models grew fatter and softer. Still gets along if you persist, however. Bland interior. 3.5/5
VW Golf R – All-wheel-drive and hot-shot turbo-motor gives the GTi the edge on a lot of rivals. Build and quality materials finish the job. Expensive, but probably worth the extra. 4/5
Mitsubishi Evo 10 – The Ralliart’s stablemate and a mighty performance car. Harsh and uncompromising, but brutally fast. Expensive, too, despite plasticky interior. 4/5
What to pay (courtesy of Glass’s Guide):
Model Year New Now
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2008 $42,490 $18,000
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2009 $43,890 $20,700
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2010 $43,890 $23,100
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2011 $43,890 $25,100
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2012 $44,490 $28,800
Mitsubishi Ralliart sedan 2013 $44,490 $30,700
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2008 $42,490 $18,000
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2009 $43,890 $20,700
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2010 $43,890 $23,100
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2011 $43,890 $25,100
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2012 $44,490 $28,800
Mitsubishi Ralliart sportback 2013 $44,490 $30,700