We like quirky old wagons around here and today’s Autotrader Find is one that you don’t see every day. It’s a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback for sale in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. With an asking price of $3,795, this is one of the most interesting cars on Autotrader under $4,000.
What does Ralliart Sportback Mean?
We know the etymology of this car is a little confusing. This generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer was the first one in the U.S. It was a mostly forgettable compact car that replaced the Mirage and competed with the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The car came out in 2002 and got a facelift in 2004 which added a new trim called Ralliart and a new wagon body style that Mitsubishi called the Sportback.
The Ralliart trim was slotted between the base LS trim and the high-performance Evo model. Ralliart added a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, a mildly sporty body kit, front bucket seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a whopping 2 horsepower boost compared to the LS Sportback thanks to a revised muffler.
Luckily for enthusiasts, Mitsubishi had the good sense to offer a Ralliart Sportback model. That’s right, the sporty non-Evo Lancer could be had as a true wagon. It was even available in a couple of fun, bright colors, but the one you see here is an unassuming silver color. The lowered suspension and body kit of the Ralliart Sportback makes it still look pretty cool today and even the wheel design is aging nicely.
One of my favorite design elements of this wagon is the vertical rear taillights that start at the bumper and go all the way to the roof. Surely, this is the car that the Cadillac design team used as inspiration for the two most recent Escalades with their similar vertical taillights.
Unsurprisingly, this car was not a big sales success. 2004 was the only model year for the Lancer Ralliart Sportback. However, a Sportback hatchback did return for the following generation.
Under the Hood
This Lancer is powered by Mitsubishi’s “4G69” 2.4-liter 16-valve SOHC inline-four engine making 162 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Those are actually pretty strong numbers considering the 2004 Honda Civic Si made 160 hp and 132 lb-ft of twist. The specs of the Lancer Ralliart were about on par with the Nissan Sentra SE-R at the time.
If there’s one disappointment of this wagon, it’s that the only transmission option in the Sportback was a four-speed automatic. We have a strong bias for three pedals, but this car is truly begging for a stick shift. The Ralliart sedan had a standard five-speed manual gearbox with an optional automatic, but the Sportback was sadly auto-only.
But, don’t let the automatic get you down. This Mitsubishi is still fun to drive, highly quirky, and super practical. That boxy shape yields a lot of interior space for people and cargo. Not to mention the affordable price tag. It has a few miles on it, but this is still a strong bargain for a unique car. Find a Mitsubishi Lancer for sale