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LANCER SPORTBACK IS FOR PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED DRIVERS By NITISH S. RELE
Performance-oriented enthusiasts: Your rev-happy ride has arrived. All new for 2010, the four-door, five-passenger Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart shares its Super-All Wheel Control with the Evo. S-AWC distributes torque between the front and rear wheels. 0 to 60 mph is achieved in just around 5.5 seconds. Need we say more?
A 2.0-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engine blasts off 237 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 253 pounds-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. Mated to the power-at-all-times engine is an accurate 6-speed twin-clutch sportmatic transmission. The sport-tuned suspension of MacPherson front strut and rear multilink system can be driven on tarmac, gravel or snow. A rack-and-pinion hydraulic power steering is linear and precise.
Abundant power is just a throttle (and a switch!) away. All you got to do is switch to sport mode and you will find yourself maneuvering traffic with ease and confidence. Fear not about stopping or slowdown, thanks to robust 11.6-inch ventilated front and 11.9-inch solid rear disc brakes.
The noticeable hood scoop does serve a purpose: it delivers cool air to the turbocharger and vents engine heat. The bold exterior is further decked up by a jet-fighter chrome grille, halogen headlights, dual exhaust with finishers, rear wing spoiler and chrome lower-side molding.
The well-lit and spacious cabin gets standard automatic air-conditioning, comfortable and supportive 6-way adjustable driver and 4-way front-passenger seats, three-spoke leather steering wheel, aluminum pedals and footrest, and a clear-cut display of the instrument panel. The magnesium paddle shifters boost the athletic ride. Opt for the $2,750 Recaro Sport Package, which will fetch you front Recaro seats, HID headlights, 710-watt Rockford-Fostage sound system and Sirius satellite radio.
Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, driverís side knee airbag, traction and stability control, front/rear stabilizer bars and limited-slip differentials.
The Sportback is a welcome and long-due addition to the Lancer stable. While displaying remarkable nimbleness and quick response, the peppy car delivers a fun and energetic ride.
LANCER SPORTBACK RALLIART
Wheelbase: 103.7 inches
Length: 180.4 inches
Weight: 3,572 pounds
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gallons
City: 17 mpg
Highway: 25 mpg
Base price: $27,590