First Drive Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart
This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Aaron Robinson of Car and Driver
America's love for sedans is, like a lot of American quirks, not universally embraced beyond our borders. More practical five-door hatchbacks are the rage in Europe and Asia, and as such, Mitsubishi had to build one to be competitive overseas with its Lancer compact sedan. The only question is whether that hatch should come to the U.S.
Well, whether it should or shouldn't be coming, it is. Sales of the 2010 Lancer Sportback wagon commence around September 1. The 168-hp GTS starts at $19,910 with a five-speed manual and $20,910 with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The 237-hp all-wheel-drive Ralliart with a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual starts at $28,310, just a couple hundred dollars higher than the sedan.
Sleek and Spacious
The Sportback's rear seats are comfortable and spacious, and they conveniently fold flat via release handles in the trunk area. It's no Buick Estate Wagon back there, but the loading hole is large, and there's room for bulky items with the seats folded. For additional volume, the GTS has a removable cargo floor hiding a bin, but a taller muffler rearranges the floor layout to prevent it in the Ralliart.
Not an Evolution
Running a mountain twisty, the Sportback proved it's a good balance of ride comfort and handling, even better than the WRX, which skews to rather soft and roll prone. Corners are attacked with a tangibly stronger connection through the wheel and more confidence in the grip, and there's no discernible added flex from the giant hole cut for the hatchback.
Still the Precision Instrument
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):