Mitsubishi Offers First Performance Vehicle in 15 Years for 2024
Mitsubishi was once building performance versions of its most popular vehicles. The Lancer EVO, Galant VR-4, and Eclipse GSX are just a few that come to mind. But then the Japanese automaker fell off the face of the Earth. However, with the success of the Outlander SUV, Mitsubishi sees enough sales to warrant a performance variant: the Ralliart.
Will the inside of the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander Ralliart be as good as the outside?
The company recently released performance-inspired versions of the Outlander and Outlander Sport. The Ralliart special edition is named for its famed racing arm.
Mitsubishi says the all-wheel-drive 2023 Outlander Ralliart trim adds “20-inch black alloy wheels, black side mirrors, front and rear bumper trim, graphics, and other rally-themed touches.” Based on the Outlander SE trim, the special edition will be produced in limited numbers. Additionally, it’s available only in White Diamond paint with a contrasting black roof. Pricing starts at $35,945 for the Outlander Ralliart and $29,705 for the Outlander Sport Ralliart.
However, there’s also talk of the Outlander PHEV receiving a gang of performance upgrades. They could range from modified suspensions to more power and aerodynamic aids.
These images of the Vision Ralliart concept give us a taste of what a 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV might look like. And to add to the picture, Ralliart division head Hiroshi Masuoka’s recent comments tell of significant upgrades for the Raillart SUV. He said a prototype is being tested, with the goal of making it a genuine on- and off-road product.
Why did Mitsubishi stop doing performance variants?
Masuoka mentions three motors for all-wheel drive. One motor is in the front with two in the back. He estimates just under 400 hp and higher torque figures than that. Air suspension and torque vectoring, similar to the EVO, are also part of the performance package.
For years, enthusiasts — and Mitsubishi shareholders — have waited for the Lancer EVO to make a comeback. But the automaker’s overall health dictated trying to climb out of a deep rut. Various pundits echoed rumors of the company shuttering.
Why is Mitsubishi doing a performance version of Outlander now?
However, the Mitsubishi Outlander seems to have infused the company with much more energy. The revised 2016 SUV started the rise in sales, but the all-new fourth-generation 2021 Outlander provided a further boost. Part of that is because it has always been a seven-seat SUV.
The Outlander’s styling and interior upgrades got much attention from buyers and the motoring press. Last year, Outlander sales reached 41,000. That’s nowhere near the Toyota Highlander’s annual numbers, which have been well over 200,000 for years, but the Outlander pushed sales enough for Mitsubishi to call the SUV a success.
How about other Ralliart performance versions?
It makes sense that with SUVs being such strong sellers, the automaker would look at its own to consider a performance version. In addition, Mitsubishi added Ralliart packages to the 2023 Mirage and Lancer.
But there are other vehicles worthy of performance models. Take, for instance, the Eclipse Cross. Its size alone almost seems like a better starting point.
However, the Eclipse Cross has had a hard time breaking past 10,000 units per year sold over the past several years. That’s why the Outlander has a better chance of selling its Ralliart performance variant.
At this point, we don’t know how much of the prototype’s modifications will see production. But the fact it exists, combined with the Vision Ralliart Outlander concept, paints a clear picture that the spirit of the EVO lives on in an SUV.