Many enthusiasts consider the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart a budget car, but the term is very relative—sure, compared to the big-brother Evolution or Subaru's mighty WRX STi it might be a bargain, but with an MSRP close to $30,000, this is no Honda Fit. The 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart falls slightly short of certain quality expectations in this price range, but overall vehicle comfort and practicality is par for the course.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart sedan will seat, like most sedans, a maximum of five occupants. Up front, ConsumerGuide testers assert that "headroom and legroom are sufficient for six-footers," who will find themselves perched atop "sport seats that hug tightly in fast corners." For those looking for a more authentic racing experience or perhaps just a little more support, Automobile Magazine reports that "the optional Recaro buckets, ported over from the Evo, are an acquired taste and produce a bit of back and thigh pain on longer drives." The Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's rear bench can get cramped, although ConsumerGuide contends that at least "the seat is supportive." Additionally, "space is cozy for two medium-size adults, let alone three," although overall the "headroom is good, as is legroom."
One of the appealing practical reasons to opt for the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart over the Evolution is that, unlike the Evo, the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart "comes with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat—a feature not available on the Evolution," says ConsumerGuide. It seems like this would be an easy cargo-space enhancement for the Evo, but the extra steel needed for the Evo's stiffer structure prohibits the split-folding seatbacks. In terms of storage space, Automobile Magazine claims that the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart offers "decent trunk space," and ConsumerGuide reports there is "useful cabin storage [that] includes large front-door map pockets with bottle holders."
The one area where TheCarConnection.com's research unearthed numerous complaints was quality of the interior, which is decidedly subpar. ConsumerGuide is disappointed with the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's "mediocre overall refinement," and while Autoblog claims that "the interior materials and amenities seem several notches above its base brethren," you certainly wouldn't know there is nearly a $10,000 difference between the two. Jalopnik chimes in that "the materials have decent texture, but they're mostly hard plastics with a dull sheen," and furthermore, the "doors close with a hollow metallic sound that reminds [them] of...[an] '82 Civic."
Cost-cutting in the quality department is clearly evident once you hit the pavement, where road noise is woefully loud. ConsumerGuide points out that the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's "crude engine note is a sore point" and there are "high noise levels" in nearly all driving situations.