2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart




2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart




2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart




2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart




2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart




2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

The Lancer lineup received a facelift for 2004, and while the general shape is still evident, there's a bit more swoop and sexy over the previous box-on-wheels. All Lancers, including Ralliart, are available in a four-door sedan, while Lancer LS and Ralliart can also be ordered as Sportback wagons. The O-Z Rally is still on board, and shares with Ralliart its white-faced gauges, carbon fibre look-alike dash panel (which is actually quite attractive), ground effects and rear spoiler. To that, Ralliart adds comfortable and supportive Sport front bucket seats, sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, 4-wheel discs with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, and a free-flow sport-tuned exhaust. The kicker is Ralliart's exclusive 2.4 litre SOHC 4-cylinder MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control - hey, I just report 'em, I don't name 'em) engine, which hits 162 twice - its horsepower at 5,750 rpm, and its lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Lancer ES, LS and O-Z Rally only carry 2.0-litre engines producing 120 horsepower. (LS Sportback gets a 2.4 that rates 160 horsepower.)



2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

The extra horses, along with the suspension, made my little sedan a fun little machine to pilot. Yet it's still within reach: a base $21,988 for the 5-speed, $23,008 for the 4-speed automatic, and $24,198 for the Sportback. Stuff every option into the automatic sedan and Ralliart tops out at $25,348. Even the base cars come with numerous features, including fog lamps, variable intermittent wipers, heated power mirrors, air, cruise, and power windows and locks. Mine came with the optional "Sun & Sound" package, which included a sunroof and a premium Mitsubishi/Infinity AM/FM/CD with six speakers and an eight-inch subwoofer in the trunk. It takes up some of the cargo space, but there's still enough room for a week's shopping. The throaty engine moves out with confidence. It's well-mannered enough to take to church, but downshift and hit the throttle, and those horses race smoothly through the close-coupled shifter, borrowed from the Lancer Evolution. It's a high-revver, and I averaged 11.2 litres/100 km. The reinforced unibody and three-point front strut-tower brace give it sports car rigidity, and the rack-and-pinion steering is quick and direct. Controls are simple and unobstructed, and the blast-furnace heater works so well that I actually had to turn it way down on a bitterly cold day - and me turning down a heater is like Cher turning down another farewell tour. On its own, the car is a good deal for the price tag, and offers decent performance in a practical package that will carry five people and their cargo.



2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

Most new cars are relatively reliable, but every manufacturer experiences the odd breakdown, and the thought of an automatic two-day wait for any repairs I'd need is not a comforting one. Mitsubishi is in a Catch-22 that has always affected freshly-established companies: it needs to sell cars to launch itself, but until it's firmly in place, it's tough to sell cars. With a performance Lancer that finally lives up to the hype, at least they're on the right track.







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