For those buyers that love the Mitsubishi Evolution, but can’t quite afford its $34k price tag, but want more performance than the standard Lancer offers, Mitsubishi offers the Lancer Ralliart. The Lancer Ralliart is powered by a turbocharged 237 horsepower 2.0L four-cylinder engine, which is 54 horsepower less than the Evo, but a nice 89 horsepower more than is offered in the standard Lancer models. Think of the Lancer Ralliart as a direct competitor to the Subaru WRX. On paper the Lancer Ralliart packs more than enough power to satisfy enthusiasts and with its $28k starting price it’s a bit more attainable than the Evolution, but is it worth it?

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On the outside the Lancer Ralliart looks pretty similar to the lesser powered Lancer models, with the biggest differences being the addition of the Evolution’s aluminum hood, a more aggressive front bumper, dual exhaust and different alloy wheels. A few years ago the Lancer’s shark-like fascia stood out in the segment and while its still more aggressive than other models in the segment, it’s beginning to show its age.

Inside the changes are even smaller. The Lancer Ralliart’s interior is so close to that of the standard Lancer, that it doesn’t give any performance hints to what lies underneath the skin. Buyers can choose between cloth or leather seats, but the overall feel of the seats won’t really make you feel like you just jumped behind the wheel of a “performance” sedan. The overall layout of the interior is pretty straightforward with everything being laid out exactly where it should be, but its minimalistic layout felt more economy car like than a sedan costing almost $30k.

While the Lancer Ralliart’s interior doesn’t really bring more to the table than the standard Lancer models and its exterior is showing its age, what really matters is what is under the hood. The Lancer Ralliart is powered by a detuned version of the Lancer Evolution’s 2.0L engine. With 237 horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque the Lancer Ralliart deserves its “performance” car label. Even better the 2.0L is mated to a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission and the Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system. Push the pedal to the floor and the 2.0L engine packs more than enough low and mid range power and has smoother power delivery than the more powerful Evolution. The Lancer Ralliart’s dual-clutch transmission shifts are quick and the standard all-wheel-drive system provides more than enough confidence.

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Driving around the crowded streets of Manhattan we were able to find a few faults with the Lancer Ralliart’s powertrain. On wide open roads and highways the powertrain excels, but around town where speeds barely exceed 30 mph we found the transmission’s shifts a bit harsh and the transmission would be a bit reluctant at times to up shift, which made the experience more harsh than we expected. Selecting “sport” mode made it even harsher making us wish that Mitsubishi offered a manual transmission on the Ralliart. The Ralliart’s suspension was also a bit harsh and overall the interior was louder than we would expect for a car with a final price tag around $34k. Also if you were hoping that the Lancer Ralliart would still be a bit frugal at the pump, think again. With an average 18-19 mpg, the Lancer Ralliart seemed more like an SUV than a compact sedan.

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With its quick steering and smooth 237 horsepower 2.0L engine, the Lancer Ralliart definitely provides more fun and smiles than the base Lancer. Its standard Super All-Wheel Control and Active Center Differential are confidence inspiring and you can also select between three drive modes: Tarmac, Snow and Gravel. But with a final out the door price at $34k, a fully loaded Ralliart costs about the same as a base Evolution. Even with its leather seats, navigation system, HID headlamps and the 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system, its price seemed a bit too high. At $34k you still don’t get power front seats and the hard plastic interior bits felt a bit too cheap.

At the end of the day we walked away from the Lancer Ralliart wishing for more. Many of the Ralliart’s short comings are due to the current model’s age, but a manual transmission, a bit more sound deadening and a lower price would go along way.

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
Base Price: $28,890
Price as Tested: $34,885