The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution certainly lives up to its predecessors on the track. But it's pricey, and it definitely makes some comfort sacrifices in the name of performance. Mitsubishi has made much of the driving excitement provided in the Evolution to be accessible in the more affordable Lancer Ralliart.
A 291-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the Evolution. A five-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed Twin-Clutch automated manual is available; it allows manual gear selection through paddle shifters alongside the steering wheel or in automatic mode. There's also an S-sport mode for maximum performance. The Ralliart picks up a lower-boost, 237-hp version of the same engine. The results are impressive with the Twin-Clutch transmission, but some reviews read by TheCarConnection.com lament the lack of a manual transmission option.
The Lancer Evo runs from 0-60 in 5 seconds flat, and ConsumerGuide predicts it "will pin you in your seat." Regarding the Ralliart, Motor Trend says it's "modestly defanged (say, one incisor)," and features just "a single-scroll turbocharger (instead of the twin-jobber)." Despite the drop in output, Edmunds still reports that "power delivery is surprisingly solid throughout the rev range," thanks to the fact that "the torque curve is so broad and flat, delivering nearly the maximum 253 pound-feet from about 2,500 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm." Jalopnik, however, notes "that's pretty much the only place it's available." In terms of acceleration times, Edmunds testers clock the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart with "a 14.8-second run at 94.6 mph" through the quarter-mile.
Car and Driver contends that the Ralliart Sportback isn't quite as sprightly as the Ralliart sedan or WRX hatchback because of a lower power-to-weight ratio: "At 237 hp, it’s notably down on power compared with the 265-hp WRX and feels it, partly because of the Sportback’s higher curb weight."
The feature that draws the greatest praise is the fantastic new semi-automatic transmission in the Evolution MR and Lancer Ralliart. The software behind the automatic's gear selection is so good that Motor Trend claims, "the Evo has the best version of this kind of transmission to date," and finds that it "always seems to be in the right gear." Automobile Magazine notes that "the various clutch packs, differentials, and hydraulic pumps work seamlessly to make you look heroic." ConsumerGuide says that the "automated-manual transmission allows drivers to shift manually via steering-wheel paddles," but even when left in automatic mode, "the gearbox operates seamlessly." Edmunds raves that if you "put the transmission in Sport Drive mode...it'll run a real-time tutorial on how and when to shift gears."
While the Twin-Clutch transmission is about as slick and effective as automatics get, some enthusiasts will still pine for a center-mounted stick shift and third pedal—but that's only offered in the Evolution GSR model.
Both the Ralliart and Evo come with a sophisticated set of mechanical and electronic systems designed to transmit power smoothly to the pavement, even when the driver isn't using finesse or the conditions aren't ideal. Highlights include Super All-Wheel Control, an Active Center Differential, a helical gear front differential, and Active Yaw Control. Road & Track says that the Active Yaw system "makes the Evo X one of the best-handling sports sedans in the world." Motor Trend also praises the car's exceptional road-gripping abilities, declaring, "the action is light, accurate, and unnervingly fast at first." Compared to the Lancer Evolution, the setup in the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart is "notably more relaxed," with "far less tight" on-center steering feel, contends ConsumerGuide. Car and Driver reports that the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart "carves a road pleasantly with well-weighted steering [and] stout brakes," although the "main limitations are body roll, a trade-off for tolerable ride, and overwhelmed 215/45 Yokohama rubber mounted on 18-inch rims." The biggest performance complaint during TheCarConnection.com's surveys of automotive experts is in regard to the Ralliart's brakes, which Edmunds ventures are "borrowed from the Outlander SUV."