The Lancer Sportback is the long-awaited hatchback version of the Lancer. The Ralliart badge means it falls just short of the Lancer Evo X in running gear, although it does get the same cabin tech.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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The Lancer Sportback gets Mitsubishi's new, signature jet fighter intake grille. This car is also equipped with HID headlights as part of an optional package.

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The Ralliart engine is a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder, making 237 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. It falls sort of the Lancer Evo X's 295 horsepower.

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The nose and side windows on the Sportback are identical to the Lancer sedan. To achieve the hatchback, Mitsubishi merely stretched the C-pillars.

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With the Ralliart suspension, the Lancer Sportback has a stiff ride. Stabilizer bars help the car stay flat while cornering.

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The hatchback offers more versatility and space then the sedan for cargo.

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The Lancer cabins are nearly identical up and down the line, although the more sport-oriented cars get some performance touches.

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We like the feel of the leather-wrapped steering wheel. It delivers precise steering response.

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With the engine's large turbo and the manual shift mode of the dual-clutch transmission, we found ourselves frequently hitting redline on the tachometer.

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Mitsubishi's Sportshift Transmission (SST) is one of the best in the business, a dual-clutch manual that can be put into fully automatic mode.

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This all-wheel-drive button toggles through three different surface settings: Tarmac, Gravel, and Snow.

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The information section of the head unit offers interesting graphs, such as this one showing the car's height relative to sea level over the past 3 hours.

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The navigation system largely lacks advanced features, although it does use a hard drive, which means route calculation works quickly.

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Music sources include the onboard hard drive and satellite radio, but we would also like to see the iPod on this list.

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The onboard music storage offers a number of ways to peruse the library and will even compile a list of most frequently played tracks.

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