There was a time when Subaru's WRX line of turbocharged models was the uncontested king of budget road rockets, but that time has passed—for in 2009 Mitsubishi has reintroduced the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, a vehicle that slides right in between the standard Lancer lineup and the rally-ready Lancer Evolution.
TheCarConnection.com's research shows that automotive experts approve of the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's exterior styling, which is essentially a hybridization of the Lancer and the Evolution. ConsumerGuide notes that the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart is "meant to bridge the gap—both in price and performance—between lesser Lancer models and the line-topping Evolution," although the exterior is more likely to be confused with the top-end Evolution than the standard Lancer. Motor Trend reviewers feel that the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's "appearance is pleasantly less menacing" than the Evolution's, and the "face doesn't look quite as mouth-agape-rocket-sled-guy," while the "rear wing won't draw the FAA's attention." ConsumerGuide observes that the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart "wears the smooth-sided body panels of standard Lancers, but is dressed up with unique, Evo-like front and rear fascias and black taillight bezels instead of red." The Ralliart's hood is straight off the Evolution, and it features a functional hood scoop that is designed to keep the turbocharger well-fed and cooled. Overall, Jalopnik terms the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart "parts-bin engineering, but the good kind."
Inside, the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's cabin will be familiar to anyone who has spent time inside the Evolution. ConsumerGuide reports that the "interior shares several features with the Evolution models, including upgraded cloth upholstery, aluminum foot pedals, and a sport steering wheel," although unfortunately there's still an "less-legible electronic information display" than the kind found on competing models. ConsumerGuide also complains that "some testers find the audio controls to be an uncomfortable reach and its dashboard screen hard to read in sunny conditions." Despite these gripes, the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart's cabin is vastly more livable than the one found in the Evolution, as Jalopnik points out that the Ralliart "trades many of the Evo's all-out race compromises for a larger dose of convenience and comfort."