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Cars Worth Noting – 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

If you had your heart set on owing a Lancer EVO VII, would you settle for the Ralliart? If you’re someone who wants a quick, great handling small sedan without sacrificing the utility of a daily driver, you would.

Those who aren’t into the sport of World Rally won’t recognize the name Ralliart (the name of Mitsu’s rally team) and those not familiar with the west coast tuner scene may have trouble thinking of a Mitsubishi as a performance car. (The star of the movie Fast and Furious was a much-modified Mitsubishi Eclipse).

The Ralliart is a modern-day muscle car version of the standard Lancer sedan. The standard 2.0L four is replaced by a 162 hp 2.4L SOHC 16- valve powerplant with Mitsubishi’s MIVEC variable-valve timing and our test vehicle was equipped with a 5-speed manual that borrows the short-throw sport shifter from the EVO.

Bolted to a stiffer unibody is a performancetuned suspension, (MacPhersons up front, multilink out back) with stiffer spring rates and bigger stabilizer bars.

What you get as a bonus to a competent daily driver is a car with a great throaty exhaust note and stomach-tickling acceleration. A firm driver’s seat, short shift throws and good pedal placement add to the party. The Ralliart asks to be driven hard. Turn-in is sharp, steering precise and the car exhibits very little body roll.

While the Lancer Ralliart may not turn heads like the EVO does, the new fascia, body side moldings, rear wing and 5-spoke 16-inch alloys do set it apart from the plain-Jane sedan crowd.

And even with an optional 315 watt Infinity sound system and power sun roof, you can still have a Mitsu muscle car with room for you and three friends for under $20,000.

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