Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart is hot, but pricey 5-door hatch

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart

When Subaru updated the Impreza (the basis for the WRX and WRX STI) in 2008, it included a hatchback version of the popular sedan. It is no surprise then that Mitsubishi would follow suit with its Lancer (the basis for the EVO and Ralliart) in hatchback variant, given the intense competition between the two cars.

The design of the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is one that seems pretty easy to either love or hate. Much of the front of the vehicle remains unchanged from the sedan, including the front fascia, and everything between the A- and B-pillars. It seems when looking at the car, as if Mitsubishi focused solely on changing the back design by simply widening it to support the hatchback, sport-back, or whatever you wish to call it. Nonetheless, the redesign does add the functionality of a hatchback with more room for cargo with 60/40-split rear seats.

The 2010 Lancer Sportback comes in two trim-levels; the GTS and high-performance Ralliart. Our review will focus on the Ralliart edition, as that is the car we were given to test.

Click through to read more and to view our high-res image gallery (at the bottom of the post).

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart:

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart Specifications:

  • Base Price: $28,335.
  • Price as Tested: $28,335.
  • Engine: 2.0 turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder ““ 237-hp / 253 lb-ft of torque.
  • Transmission: 6-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (paddle-shifters).
  • Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 5.6 seconds.
  • Top Speed: 144 mph.
  • Fuel-Economy (city/highway): 17/25 mpg.

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart


The exterior design hints at an attempt by designers to create a distinct, aggressive silhouette for the Sportback, while keeping it instantly recognizable as a Lancer; the Lancer”s signature fighter-jet grille on the front is balanced nicely against the new aggressive rear-end.

The key element to the Sportback is the sloping rear door that starts from the C-pillar and works back. The “˜roof” wing being integrated into the back door offers great versatility for loading and unloading large items such as surfboards, camping gear, and bicycles.

The Sportback Ralliart definitely borrows many elements from other Mitsubishi models; the front bumper, rear bumper cover, and dual-outlet exhaust are all borrowed from the Ralliart sedan, and the lightweight aluminum hood, which helps deliver cool air to the turbocharger and vents engine heat, is borrowed from the Evo. All Sportback models sport bright silver 18-inch ten spoke alloy wheels that visually pop. The Ralliart wraps Yokohama Advan summer tires around them for better gripping of road surfaces.

Though it”s not offensive to the eyes, we have to be honest and say that the Sportback Ralliart is far from the best looking 5-door hatchback on the market.

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart


The interior of this car screams of the standard Lancer sedan. However, being hatchbacks, both Sportbacks offer spacious interior with one-touch auto-folding 60/40 split rear seats that fold completely flat, thus maximizing cargo space; 46.6 cubic feet of cargo space are available with the seats down, and 13.8 when the seats are up.

The Evo”s leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with audio and cruise control switches is also featured in the Sportback. Standard technological features include Mitsubishi”s FAST Key hands-free entry system, Bluetooth HFP system with voice recognition for hands-free calling, and auxiliary input jack – unfortunately, iPod connectivity is not available.

The Ralliart carries the option of adding the Recaro Sport Package for $2,750. That package includes Recaro sport front bucket seats, Xenon HID headlamps, and a Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system with Punk control and nine speakers, 6-CD/Mp3 in-dash changer, and Sirius satellite radio with 3-months of free service. For $2,000 a 40GB HDD with Music Server and single CD/Mp3/DVD head unit and Diamond Lane Guidance navigation can be added. Bear in mind however, that adding those two options brings the MSRP to $33,084. This may be a deterrent when considering you would be paying premium money for a car that doesn”t offer convenience features like heated leather seats (available for $1,629), and backup sensors.

Even without the Recaro and Navigation packages, you still face a $28,335 MSRP, which we feel is steep for a vehicle that provides you with a base Lancer interior.

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart


The bottom of the lineup starts with the Lancer Sportback GTS, which is powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. The Sportback Ralliart we tested has almost the same DNA as the Evo and adapts the powertrain and AWD technology from the high-performance Lancer. The Ralliart is powered by the 4B11 T/C turbo-charged/intercooled 2.0L DOHC MIVEC engine that powers the Evo. The engine makes for 237-hp at 6,000 rpm and 253 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm ““ just like it does in the Lancer Ralliart, which is one step down from the 291-hp Evo.

The engine is mated to a Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST), on loan from the Evo MR. The driver has the option of automatic operation, or manual shifting using the console shifter or Sportronic steering column-mounted magnesium-alloy paddle shifters. The TC-SST unit also features Normal and Sport shifting modes. We”d like to point out that in either modes the Sportback Ralliart revs very high even at low speeds, so you may want to switch gears yourself.

As for downright performance figures – 0-60 mph comes in a respectable 5.6 seconds with a top speed of 144 mph. Those figures are right in range with the five-door Subaru Impreza WRX.

Buyer beware however, because the Ralliart requires premium unleaded fuel (93 oct. min) and returns an EPA estimated fuel-economy of 17/25 mpg (city/highway) or 20 mpg combined economy.

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart


The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart definitely stands out for its performance ability, especially with the double-clutch transmission and smart all-wheel-drive system taken into consideration. That being said, the car looks too much like a sedan in hatchback clothing, and the lack of iPod or USB connectivity and poor balance of comfort and sport handling certainly detract from the Sportback Ralliart.

Overall, it can be said that the Sportback Ralliart delivers a very enthusiastic driving dynamic and Evo-inspired performance. MSRP starts at $28,335, compared to the Subaru Impreza WRX, which carries a starting tag of $25,715. At the end of the day it all comes down to brand loyalty.

Oh, before we wrap this up – we’d just like to tell Mitsubishi we’re definitely looking forward to a Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Evolution.

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart:

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

– By: Stephen Calogera