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Another One to Keep an Eye On…

July 5, 2007

You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that I used to rag on Mitsubishi.  Not that they didn’t deserve it.  At the time, their "Zero Zero Zero" marketing pitch had backfired, sales were tanking, and executives were dropping like flies.  Their hopes for some miraculous turnaround were pinned to the Raider, a warmed-over Dodge Dakota, and the redesigned Eclipse, which only a fool would imagine could do enough volume to actually save the company.

Then something happened.  Mitsu unveiled their new Lancer, a far more aggressive and appealing machine than the econobox it replaced.  I’ve seen a few running around the streets of Austin, and have to admit that they look pretty damn good in person.  And the rally-bred Evolution X looks even better.

Jdm_lancers_hi01

Of course, the variant that has piqued my interest hasn’t even shown its face yet, and may or may not even make its way to the United States. 

That variant would be the Lancer Ralliart Sportback.  It will strike a balance between the everyman Lancer and the "Dear God in Heaven" performance of the Evo X, all while doing away with the trunk in favor of a five-door design.  Not a wagon, mind you, but a far sleeker five-door with a sweeping roofline similar to what they showed with the Concept Sportback in late 2005.

1003big

While it’s all but certain that the Lancer Ralliart will be offered in the U.S., nothing is really known about the Sportback.  It’s a go for Europe, but automakers still hold to that ludicrous notion that Americans won’t but hatches, wagons, or five doors.

At this point, it’s wait and see.  But, if Mitsu is smart enough to bring the Sportback to our shores, it’ll certainly merit a look.

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