Compact sedans and other vehicle models are beginning to make a true impact on the automotive market. Earlier, the compact was frowned upon because: a) it didn’t offer drivers enough power, b) most were front-wheel drive only, c) they compromised class and comfort with crunch, and nobody likes being crunched.
The 2012 Lancer Ralliart debunks all three of the above reasons why most people do not buy compact vehicles. The Ralliart is a high-performance compact sedan and comes with what they call, all wheel control (AWC), providing drivers with more grip and control of their vehicle in slipper weather conditions. The electronic all-wheel drive system left us starstruck by how far technology has come along. You are able to calibrate the AWD for certain road conditions, let it be gravel, snow, or hardtop. More specifically the all-wheel drive Lancer Ralliart is the high-performance trim of the Lancer model-lineup. The Ralliart comes with an inter-cooled turbocharged 2.0 liter engine that surprises a lot of people by pushing nearly 240 horsepower. That’s not all, the Ralliart comes with Yokohama speed tires, and a 6-speed Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission. Say what? A tongue-twister, but it gives the driver an incredibly sporty feel.
Power is one thing, but how does it handle? The Lancer Ralliart took to the corners as we expected any high-performance compact would, tight, hugging the line for dear life, and with us white-knuckling the wheel. The Ralliart was a thrilling ride, one of the sportiest compact sedans we have driven in a while. The new Sportronic transmission provided great up-shift and downshift around town – even more so when we accelerated onto the highway to open it up.
After our rally-car like experience with the Ralliart, we decided to stop over at The Firkins Automotive Group to give the Lancer SE a spin. Even with the spoiled experience we had with the Ralliart, the SE still offered a lot of torque for a compact sedan. The throttle hums beautifully, and if we hadn’t played with the sportier Ralliart, we both agreed that the Lancer SE offered much more than you would anticipate for such a small car. The SE or the Ralliart, either way the Lancer did not disappoint.
Last week at the New York Auto Show we saw the debut of the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Dubbed an entry-level compact cross over, the Outlander Sport is built for those looking for performance without sacrificing utility. Mitsubishi even goes on to claim the 2011 Outlander Sport is racing inspired, but I’m not so sure.
Some of the SUV’s high points are it’s ability to maintina 30+ miles per gallon and offer a plethora of options. Mitsubishi is betting on consumers loving the 2011 Outlander Sport, so much that it will surpass standard Outlander sales, becoming a volume leader. But when others were focusing on a greener vehicle, will this sport SUV be able to compete?
I’m not sure what kind of racing the guys at Mitsubishi are watching, but if the Outlander Sport is race inspired, why only a 148 horsepower 4 cyilnder? It’s appeal and I’d call it a gimmick, is the fact that it will be equipped with paddle shifters. I guess having the luxury of shifting gears with your fingers, without having to take your hand off the steering wheel, makes you feel like an F1 Driver. Who cares if you are trudging along with groceries in the back on the way to soccer practice. It’s a gimmick.
No price was announced at the show last week, but we should start seeing Outlander Sports on the show room sometime in November.
Over the summer I reported on Mitsubishi working on an all electric mini car that would be competing in the Asian market. The i-MiEV was going to be a zero emissions, 100 mpg, electric car. These have been around for decades and they are more commonly known as golf carts. But I digress.
Mitsubishi has now announced that they are attempting to bring the i-MiEV to the US market, a full 18 months ahead of schedule. However, they do not intend for it to be competing on the same block that it is currently in the Asian market, meaning this little sled will be gas powered. Sorry 15 mile commuters, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, if it makes it to the US early, will only be an electric hybrid and not a full electric car.
The implications of releasing the Mitsubishi i-MiEV gas vehicle in the US early is that it may be successful. If it does become popular you can probably kiss the all electric version good bye, unless you are doing your own car importing.
Even by luxury golf cart standards the current offering of the i-MiEV in Japan is expensive, expect MSRP to be around $16,000.
Mitsubishi announced that it would be releasing it’s iMiEV Electric car and is hoping to get some chargers throughout Japan. Specifically Mitsubishi is trying to get EV chargers in parking lots and any public spaces where these cars may frequent. Electric cars have a limited range, so parking lots would be a good place for people on longer trips to stop by and charge up before heading home.
Furthermore it would show the cars success if more chargers were placed throughout the country. If everywhere you looked there was a charge station for an EV vehicle, wouldn’t you want one? As it stands now, the only place people will be charging the Mitsubishi iMiEV will be in their own garages and driveways while they sleep.
Mitsubishi is working on entering the plug-in electric hybrid car market with a big (or little) bang. The Mitsubishi i MiEV is the latest creation in smart car technology that is promising the sky in terms of gas mileage at a whopping 100 mpg. But let’s look at what it means to get this kind of eco friendly transportation.
First of all, getting 100 mpg is just an arbitrary number. You may remember me reporting back a few days ago about a Raser Hummer that was created to get 100 mpg. Essentially these smart plug-in style hybrids are technically getting infinity miles per gallon, if you stay within the battery’s charge range. However, the efficiency of the tiny motors become more realistic after the charge has worn out. The idea however, with the i MiEV is that most consumers don’t drive over 40 miles per day, so the battery limitation is no problem.
Another kind of half truth is that the Mitsubishi iMiEV emits zero emissions, which is true, again if you stay within the cars battery charge radius. Once the Mitsubishi battery is used up, the tiny motor is used to push it down the road and then the emissions start up just like any other internal combustion motorized vehicle.
Lastly, the price tag for this car or oversized bicycle is a whopping $45,000. Depending on which side of the green fence you are on, this may or may not be worth the investment. How long and how many miles would it take before this car starts paying for itself? Well, if you only drive less than 40 miles per day, as the target market should, then you are looking at a looonnnggg time.
It’s fine if you want to buy green vehicles and especially brawny golf carts, just make sure you buy them for the right reason. I can just see the complaints and lawsuits rolling in once people realize it’s not exactly as advertised.
Video of the Mitsubishi i MiEV Hybrid in action. Short clip from the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show and driving on a test track.