Way back in the mid-1980s, when your parents couldn’t get enough of Jump by Van Halen (the real Van Halen, with the smiley, stringy haired fella), Mitsubishi was busy exploring their more performance-minded side with their Ralliart sub-brand. Dedicated to upping the performance ante and off-road prowess of specific models in the automaker’s relatively affordable line up, it would continue for next two-and-a-half decades, carrying a legion of die-hard fans.
You probably recognize the Ralliart name from its association with perhaps Mitsubishi’s most beloved and missed offering, the Lancer Evolution. Prior to its demise, it served as a choice option for enthusiasts looking for elevated performance in user-friendly packaging. However, fans of rally racing and general off-road competition know the brand for its absolute dominance, including holding the record as the most successful manufacturer in Dakar Rally history.
As of early 2023, Mitsubishi says it’s bringing the Ralliart name back to the U.S., but before you rub your hands together with thoughts of snarling turbos and torquey jaunts that have all four wheels clawing at the tarmac as your stir a manual shifter, allow us to bring you back down to earth. Based on Mitsubishi’s bold change in direction years ago, you’re not witnessing a Lancer Evolution comeback, but rather an attempt to align a special edition vehicle with a well-respected and recognizable label. If this sounds eerily familiar to you (think Mustang SUV or Acura Integra), you’re not alone.
Mitsubishi reports that early next year, the Outlander, Outlander PHEV, Eclipse Cross, Outlander Sport, and Mirage will all get a taste of Ralliart styling cues in limited numbers. What do those cues entail? Well, claimed unique body effects and graphics along with “other rally-inspired touches,” are being promised. Each of the above will be made available in a Diamond white finish with a contrasting black roof.
You’re still coping with the idea that the once sporty Eclipse morphed into an SUV and that the Evo is long gone, and now you get hit with news that Ralliart is back, but instead of hotter performance it’s a sticker and body kit package. Yikes.
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