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>> Take Mitsubishi's bread and butter car, give it a little rat motor, and just about the coolest gear box made. That's the Lancer Ralliart. Not quite an Evo, but it still makes us want to check the tech.
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This little beast is made for the person who wants to pretend they're a rally driver on public roads. So not a huge amount of tech, especially on our particular car, which doesn't have any options. Hmm. So imagine, if you will. This is the base audio unit: single-slot CD right there; AM FM; auxiliary in, but notice how interesting that is. Instead of using an aux jack, they decided to make it complicated and give you a pair of RCAs, red and white. Now, I don't see the advantage to that, although it's a little more sturdy of a connector. But that's just weird. Oh, tricky thing about getting your aux jack to actually come up. Do you see an aux button anywhere? Take a look. No, I didn't, either. Consulting the manual tells me you stand on these CD MP3 buttons for two seconds. Beep, and there's your aux coming up. No HD radio, no iPod adapter, no USB connection. There's no hard drive in this unit. Now, if you do option up the navigation rig, there is a 40-gig hard drive in there and a music server. So that would be nice. This unit has 140 watts. It's got six speakers around the cabin. It's fine. You've got a fair amount of DSP functions here. You've got your usual bass, mid, treble, fader, and balance. But, then, if you go to this first menu, you do have these DSP profiles. And for a middle ground between this base unit and the full-blown nav hard drive unit, you can get this in a six-disk internal. So a modest improvement there. And it does play MP3 disks as well as standard audio CDs. The Lancer Ralliart come standard with Bluetooth Hands Free, which should be baseline on any car above twenty grand these days. So, luckily, it does have it. This is the gear box. It looks kind of like an automatic, kind of like a manual, because it's kind of both. It's one of their twin clutch SST gear boxes. Mitsubishi does these dual clutch automated manuals really well. You've got a standard gate. On the left side here you can select your gear individually. And, of course, when you're in drive, you've got your paddles up here, which feel like metal. In fact, they tell us they're magnesium. Now, why, I don't know. But it's kind of cool. Two other buttons down here and part of the allure of this car, this little silver rocker is your sport or normal selector. That's going to reshape the behavior of the engine transmission combo. And then, right here, you've got your active center differential control. This is a real Mitsubishi thing. You've got three modes there that show up on the display. Tarmac is pavement, of course, in this continent. And you've got a gravel mode and a snow mode. What that does is reshape the behavior of a very sophisticated center differential in this car that is hydraulically and electronically operated, picking up censor input from all around the drive train: wheel spin, yaw, steering wheel angle, all of that kind of information and telling the car how to bias the power front to rear. Now, graciously enough, Mitsubishi provides this lovely buffet table back here [knock, knock, knock]. And, unfortunately, it's standard. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. This is kind of a prosaic looking car, kind of like for, you know, the person who has to have a family sedan but wants a little sports car. But do they really want this thing past the age of 20? I don't know. This little motor's got a lot of work to do. 3500-pound car being pushed around by a 2-liter inline 4. But, of course, it's turbocharged with an inner cooler. You can see the turbo back there by the exhaust, some of your plumbing to get to the inner cooler right here. 237 horsepower, 253-foot pounds of torque. Pretty good. But, again, kind of a heavy car. Nonetheless, 0 to 60 happens in 5.8. And the mileage is pretty good: 17 25.
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On the road, the Lancer Ralliart rewards you taking charge. If you leave it in normal mode and standard drive, you're reminded all the time this is basically a putt putt motor with a turbo. But get into sport mode and or shift it yourself to keep things all spooled up and this car is transformed into a great big toy. Mitsu's TC-SST, twin clutch automated manual, is so far my favorite gear box of that type. It has virtually none of the weird bulkiness you find in virtually every other carmaker's automated manual and just plain super sharp shifts. No, they don't all to that. It's almost funny how high strung this car gets in sport mode. It just about refuses to come down below three grand RPM and is eager to do one of those little automated throttle blip downshifts at the least provocation. Yeah, you'll be grinning like an idiot. And this one has the shift paddles in the right place, nailed to the steering column. ^*Okay. Let's price our little Lancer Ralliart: about 26,600 base. Kind of a not so cheap date. Navigation system with the hard drive, the 40-gig drive and the music server is 2,000 more. 2750 is your other consideration for the Recaro package. That will get you the Rockford Fosgate audio, six-disk CD. You also get the high-intensity discharge headlights and the Recaro seats, of course. That's that weird mixed bag.
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