Track Tested: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback vs. 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan


ralliart-vs-wrxblog.jpg

Like all good grudge matches, this one goes on and on. One day Mitsubishi is on top, the next day it's Subaru winning the drag races, or rally stages or whatever event you want to throw these all-wheel drive, turbocharged twins into.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback is an all-new addition to the lineup. Its hatchback configuration makes it a little more practical without losing any of the Ralliart sedan's sharp design. Some say it might even be better looking, and it only adds 122 pounds in the process.

On the Subaru side, the Impreza WRX hatchback would be the obvious choice for a direct head-to-head battle. Problem is, we haven't tested an '09 hatch yet, so we figured the 2009 sedan would be a good stand-in. It has the new, more powerful boxer motor and all the same mechanical parts, its slightly lighter weight the only real advantage.

So how do these middleweights stack up on the track? Check out the stats after the jump.


Mitsubishi  Subaru



0-30 (sec):   2.4 1.9
0-45 (sec): 3.9 3.5
0-60 (sec):   6.1 5.2
0-75 (sec):   9.0 7.9
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.4 @ 95.0 13.7 @ 98.7
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.8 5.0
30-0 (ft):   33.0 27.0
60-0 (ft): 129.0 107.0
Slalom (mph): 63.3 68.5
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g):   0.79 0.87

Vehicle: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback
Odometer: 2228
Date: 7/14/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: N/A

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998cc (122 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):  237 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 253 @ 3,000
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc   
Brake Type (rear): Disc
Steering System: Speed-sensitive, hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs, semi-trailing arms and stab. bar
Tire Size (front): 215/45R18 89W
Tire Size (rear): 215/45R18 89W
Tire Brand:  Yokohama
Tire Model: Advan A10
Tire Type: Summer
Wheel Size: 18-by-7.5 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,584

Test Results:
0-30 (sec):  2.4
0-45 (sec): 3.9
0-60 (sec):  6.1
0-75 (sec):  9.0
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.4 @ 95.0
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.8
30-0 (ft):  33
60-0 (ft): 129
Braking Rating: Poor
Slalom (mph): 63.3
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.79 
Handling Rating:  Average
Db @ Idle:  45.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 78.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise:  70.9

Acceleration Comments: A dramatic difference between default Drive and wooding it versus brake-torquing it in Sport Drive -- about 0.7 second to 60 mph). That said, it's a rather unconventional ride with very quick, slightly harsh shifts.

Braking Comments: Started mediocre and got worse from there in terms of distances. It's a shame, really, because the pedal feel is quite good. Easy to modulate with linear progression -- but 10 feet between first and second stop? Yikes.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: I was hoping the Ralliart would be more receptive to throttle input/output on the skid pad. Truth is, it's only slightly biased to oversteer when ASR is off and you "overdrive" it. Squealing tires are a giveaway to its less-than-Evo status. Slalom: Just like the Ralliart sedan, this car feels more capable than it truly is. I kept trying to make it go through faster than the tires and suspension would allow. Dropping my entry speed, then gradually feeding throttle worked well. Also, the fact that the speeds were nearly identical with the stability control on and off means it has quite low limits.

Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan
Odometer: 5,592
Date: 11/4/08
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $28,160

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged horizontally-opposed four-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,457cc (150 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 265 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 244 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Disc
Steering System: Engine speed-sensitive, hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent double wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/45R17 91W
Tire Size (rear): 225/45R17 91W
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: Sport 01
Tire Type: Summer
Wheel Size: 17-by-7.0 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,229

Test Results:
0-30 (sec):  1.9
0-45 (sec):  3.5
0-60 (sec):  5.2
0-75 (sec):  7.9 
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.7 @ 98.7
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0
30-0 (ft):  27
60-0 (ft): 107
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 68.5
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 
Handling Rating:  Excellent
Db @ Idle: 46.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise:  67.5

Acceleration Comments: It's been years since we've enjoyed an aggressive launch with at least some wheelspin from a WRX, and this year is no different. The best launch was a bit of a bogger with an aggressive clutch drop, but it didn't feel good. Attempts at slipping the clutch were not rewarded. Shifter feels far more positive and smoother than before, and power delivery feels broader.

Braking Comments: Despite a little wiggle in the rear of the car, brakes felt powerful and trustworthy. No ABS flutter and little evidence of fade. Pedal feel, though, was a little mushy -- otherwise, excellent brakes.

Handling Comments: Slalom: Mediocre turn-in and slightly "doughy" feel to the steering is obviously due to long-travel suspension, but there's plenty of compliance and grip, too. Though not as sharp as it could be, there's an ability to rotate off-throttle and leap for the exit on-throttle with the front tires grabbing/pulling the nose where it's pointed. Whatever "it" was, Subaru put "it" back this time around.

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