It’s been a while since we’ve heard about Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution and Ralliart models, so it comes as no surprise that there have been few updates to the cars since the launch of the current generation Lancer back in 2007.
That doesn’t mean the Lancer models aren’t worth a close look as they still offer loads of performance for relatively little money. Yes, the Mitsubishis are considered performance legends to many, especially those in the tuner scene.
For example, take the Lancer Evolution, or Evo as it’s known to fans. Now in its 10th generation, the car is based on Mitsubishi’s former world rally car and packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine spitting out 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. This potent engine is matched to either a standard six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch unit, and thanks to all-wheel-drive traction can propel the Lancer Evolution from 0-60 mph in under 5.0 seconds.
The lesser Lancer Ralliart isn’t far behind, offering up 237 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque from what is essentially a detuned version of the engine found in the Evo. The Lancer Ralliart also comes with all-wheel-drive and with its available dual-clutch transmission offers a very unique option in this segment.
The only downside is that both cars are based on the humble Mitsubishi Lancer, with which they share most of their styling and interior parts. Interior appointments are, to be blunt and honest, very disappointing in the Ralliart and Evolution. With a proliferation of hollow, hard plastics - and some of the same pieces and panels from the $15,000 Lancer - it's a letdown in a $28,000 Ralliart, let alone in a $44,000 loaded Evo.
Their direct rivals are the Subaru Impreza WRX and Impreza WRX STI, which also offer powerful yet fuel-efficient four-cylinder turbo engines and rally-bred all-wheel-drive technology, but come with nicer cabins.
If you go with a Mitsubishi, our pick would have to be the 2012 Lancer Evolution MR. This model brings an especially high-performance package that ranks above the base GSR and adds track-ready Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs, giving it tremendous tractability and poise.
Both models handle crisply, though more discerning drivers will find the Evo to be more nimble (and precise) because of its exclusive, enhanced body structure, with many of the steel body panels replaced with lightweight aluminum. The ride in either can also be a bit harsh to those not used to performance cars.
For the full review on the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Evolution, head over our sister site The Car Connection