DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

DRIVE the Lancer Ral­liart and you won­der why any per­for­mance fan would bother with a man­ual gear­box.

The TC-SST trans­mis­sion, sim­i­lar to Porsche’s PDK twin-clutch, is a joy to use and pro­vides enough ex­cite­ment in ‘‘sports’’ mode to keep all but a diehard turbo hot-rod­der en­gaged.

The six-speed gear­box is smooth around town, seam­lessly pre­s­e­lect­ing gears.

It mates well with the turbo four but things do not re­ally start hap­pen­ing un­til you’re be­yond 2500 revs.

This may have some­thing to do with the move to a sin­gle scroll tur­bocharger in place of the Evo’s twin-scroll unit be­cause in full au­to­matic op­er­a­tion, the Lancer needs some revs to give its best.

Once above 2500 revs, though, the bells and whis­tles start sin­gin’ and ringin’ in the sweet-revving four.

Set­tle down to some high­way cruis­ing, though, and the car is sta­ble, sure­footed and quiet in­side.

Only some wind-rush from the ex­te­rior mir­rors in­ter­rupts the cabin’s am­bi­ence.

In the twisty bits, there is plenty of steer­ing feed­back and re­as­sur­ing turn-in. Both the sedan and hatch re­main neu­tral whether un­der full power or brakes.

Vis­ually, both the Ral­liart sedan and hatch are tidy cars and an ex­er­cise in dis­cre­tion.

The body kit is sub­dued, the air in­takes blend into the bon­net and the 18-inch al­loys, shared with the VRX, look good.

Only the sedan’s high-set spoiler up­sets the vis­ual har­mony. It also re­stricts rear vis­i­bil­ity.

Over­all, the Lancer Ral­liart has a well-sorted chas­sis.

In some re­spects it is more live­able than the full-blown Evo and more ex­cit­ing than the gar­den-va­ri­ety VRX.

Which is what Mit­subishi set out to achieve.

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