Got my 2004 Sportback Ralliart in 2009 with 26,000 miles. This car has been fantastic and is affectionately referred to as my Swiss army car. Now at 106,000 it has had nothing buy routine maintenance. Engine is still strong, interior held up very well with no rattles or squeaks from rubbing components. The cargo space is great including the gear storage tray under the boot floor, which has been the permanent home for tools, climbing gear, misc. camping supplies and all those small things you should have brought but always forgot. I can fold down the seats and fit my ski's and 29er Mt. bike or throw in some blankets and camp for the night with my 150 pound Rottie by my side. It's no speed demon but certainly no slouch either. Yearly 10-12 hour trips to the Carolinas have been comfortable and stable averaging 85 mph. I can pass at high speed with ease & jump into highway traffic from a stop without concern. The only cons I have experienced are the following: 1) The cooling fan has always run intermittently, even 2-5 minutes after the car is turned off. From what the forums say, this is known but never recalled for a fix. 2) I have had consistent uneven wearing of the break pads? 3) Factory replacement parts are stupid expensive from the dealer! OEM exhaust was $1300 + & only one company makes a aftermarket stainless steel replacement for the down pipe (Eastern Aluminum) at roughly $375 with CAT+ $400 (+/-) for the magnaflow CAT Back in stainless steel. While the aftermarket stainless Steel down pipe is less expensive, the flexible bend before the CAT turns to [non-permissible content removed] after a year of harsh NEPA winter driving and was replaced 2 times under the 1 year Mfg. warranty. 4) Factory paint job was crap!! Bare spots around hood edges and sun fading on all surfaces. The only place the Ralli red color held was the plastic bumpers. With only 3000 or so imported to UAS in 2004 it's definitely a rare animal to see around town.
Buying this car was a major improvement for me, and I previously owned a luxury sedan. The Lancer is extremely practical, I can easily sit five people and maintain ample comfort room, and in back I can store a great amount of groceries and packages (one of the many pros of having a wagon). I am around 112k miles and the Lancer hasn't failed me once, even when missing an oil change every now and then. Aside from the common Lancer issue with the climate control knob breaking, I haven't had to put much money into the car. Thanks to the reliability of my Mitsubishi I am definitely going to look into purchasing another from this company! (:
Dashboard and interface are clean and sleek and shifting gears is extremely smooth!
The seating in the car as a driver can be a bit uncomfortable if you are a bit shorter in stature, as they aren't necessarily ergonomic to that body type, but sitting as a passenger is perfectly fine.
I just turned over 155,000 miles in my Sportback, bought new in 2004. Have to say that I still love this car! I've kept up with the annual maintenance, use fully synthetic oil and high-test gas, and it runs great. Smooth and quiet. One major repair -- the A/C -- in all this time. Everything else has just been regular maintenance. Love that it has good pick-up when I need it to and that it's got enough power to handle mountainous roads. Even after 10 years and 155K miles, I still get 25 MPG city / 31 MPG hwy.
Great interior space.
I use the far-back cargo space for hauling my large dog, but even the back-seat legroom is not too bad.
I test-drove the 2004 Outlander at the same time, but ultimately chose the Sportback because it handled like a smaller car, which I liked.
Also like that the driver's seat is height-adjustable, which picks me up off the road and makes the car easier to get in and out of.
Could wish that it had a bit more external style and flair, but it's an economy car, so the plainness is not objectionable.
This sports wagon is perfect for me. It has everything I want and none of what I don't.
I wanted; a used, fun-to-drive, reasonably priced, reliable, roomy, comfy, fuel efficient, wagon with great visibility, low insurance and a compromise between sporty handling and good ride quality.
I didn't want; expensive repairs & maintenance, electric leather seats, a sunroof, climate control (A/C button & dials are best), paying extra for a badge, a boring vehicle, an SUV.
The Lancer Ralliart wagon has all of this and more. It's a great car for; commuting, driving spiritedly (it's not fast but sporty and rewarding), highway cruising, moving furniture, grocery shopping, carrying sports equipment.
I have only had the car 2 years and it's been fantastic. This review may sound redundant after reading all the others but here goes;
Excellent build quality (reliable so far), tons of
fun to drive, interior space is deceivingly large, decent fuel economy, well programmed auto trans., outstanding visibility (newer cars are terrible in this aspect), seats are amazingly comfortable in short and long trips, cloth (cool in Summer, neutral in Winter) and hold me firmly in spirited driving, engine is torquey at low revs and once it hits 3500 rpm it races to the redline, throaty exhaust sound but not buzzy while cruising, nice sound system (replaced head unit w ipod input), simple ergonomics.
Make it again so I can buy a (newer) used one that has depreciated significantly when mine dies. The new Ralliarts are hatchbacks, not wagons.
The auto is great but I would have liked to try one with a manual transmission.
Slightly higher ride height (1 inch) and sometimes I wish the suspension was a little less firm (only when I drive on some of the abominations that are referred to as "roads" in the Mid-West).
Hit the industry with a marketing campaign similar to one that made small hatchbacks cool again. Wagons should be the future, they perform as cars but can have as much space as SUVs. Hopefully higher fuel prices will push us in the direction of Europe, where wagons outsell cars.