Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
Ralliart is to Mitsubishi Motors what NISMO is to Nissan and ‘M’ is to BMW, a division which focuses on development of production models into high-performance variants and in many cases, participating in motorsports. For decades, Ralliart has had a high profile in the motorsports world with its vehicles winning WRC and Dakar events, and a measure of how successful it is can be seen by the way it has become a strong brand among enthusiasts.
Nevertheless, the Ralliart name is still kept alive and in Malaysia, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has used it on special editions of its popular models. The latest one, announced yesterday, is the Lancer Sportback RA Edition which will be available in just 100 units.
The RA Edition takes the already sporty package of the Lancer Sportback and adds Ralliart enhancements. These include an exclusive accessory package consisting of sporty full Nappa leather seats, 18-inch lightweight alloy rims with a gunmetal finish, rear diffuser, Ralliart scuff plates, stickers, a reverse camera, Ralliart front bumper foil, Ralliart front grille badge, Ralliart foglamp rings, and of course, the Ralliart emblem.
Priced at RM137,980 (on the road inclusive of insurance), this special edition is also imported as a CBU model from Japan. It is available in three colours – Lightning Blue, White Solid and Black Mica. A 3-year/100,000 km warranty as well as Mitsubishi's 2-year free scheduled maintenance package come with the car.
Launched in Malaysia late last year, the Lancer Sportback is a 5-door hatchback variant of Lancer sedan. Its 2.4-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder MIVEC engine, producing 170 ps/ 226 Nm, is mated to an advanced INVECS-II CVT which provides smooth shifting as well as helps in keeping revs low for fuel efficiency.
Sadly, the economic downturn that hit the auto industry in 2009 forced many carmakers to scale back their subsidiary operations and high-performance divisions were considered too expensive to support. Ralliart was one of those that were affected and in April last year, it ceased active operations.
Should I buy one?
Obviously the extra power is appealing though it does mean that fuel consumption is not as good as the 2-litre sedan’s. Some may see it as having a sporty image while others might regard it as a more versatile Lancer with the flexible cargo area. If you like everything about the Lancer Sedan but prefer something a bit more exclusive, pick the Sportback.
Price: RM135,000 (the normal one)
Tech Highlights: 2360 cc I4 MIVEC petrol engine, 170 ps at 6000 rpm, 226 Nm at 4100 rpm, 6-step CVT, 0 – 100 km/h 9.5 secs, top speed 200 km/h
Variants: Lightning Blue, White Solid and Black Mica.