Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Proper performance models back on Mitsubishi’s agenda

Dylan Campbell

Still angry Mitsubishi didn’t make a Lancer XI? Fast cars are back on the agenda, says local and global bosses

The brand that brought us ten generations of scintillating small rally-inspired Lancer Evolution sedans wants to get back into performance models again.

That’s the message from Mitsubishi bosses, both locally and globally, as they evaluate the viability of a Ralliart performance brand, akin to rival Toyota’s Gazoo Racing.

Mitsubishi exited the performance car world in 2017, when it discontinued its much-adored Lancer Evolution, in tenth and final X guise, with no replacement. The company said at the time that it needed to focus on SUVs and crossovers.

Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart 2022 dirt drift
The Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart competition truck

While no product plans are confirmed and it’s difficult to speculate, Mitsubishi Australia CEO Shaun Westcott told local fans of the brand to watch this space.

“I can go as far as to quote our global CEO and say that Ralliart is definitely something that is under study by Mitsubishi,” Westcott told Chasing Cars

“And Ralliart, not just a sticker pack but as in a performance vehicle, is definitely on the radar.”

2024 Mitsubishi Triton AXCR rally ute with Delica
The 2024 Mitsubishi Triton AXCR rally ute with the Delica

In the USA, there’s an Outlander Ralliart, Eclipse Cross Ralliart and even a Mirage Ralliart – but all are effectively marketing specials, with no meaningful performance improvement.

However, the Outlander Vision Ralliart concept previewed in early 2023 is a proper performance SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a speculated 200kW. However, no production plans for the concept have been forthcoming. 

“I think there’s a possibility we could see something in the Ralliart space that could be very exciting in the future,” said Westcott. “[But] I can’t say which products.”

2024 Mitsubishi Triton AXCR rally ute front 3/4 4 dust
A tougher, high-performance Triton could come one day

The Ralliart brand was founded in Japan in 1984, its most famous local product the Ralliart Magna. The performance arm was “scaled down” significantly in 2010.

Mitsubishi mulls new-generation Ralliart Triton

Mitsubishi Australia has refused to rule out a Ralliart version of its new-generation Triton ute.

Ford’s Ranger Raptor has demonstrated the market for performance-focused dual-cab utes, even in its previous guise with a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine and Fox-branded suspension.

Ford has its Ranger Raptor which has set the benchmark

It’s a trend Toyota is also pursuing with its “rally inspired” Hilux GR Sport, which is fitted with KYB monotube dampers.

At a recent preproduction drive of its new Triton, Mitsubishi proudly proclaimed the advantages of its locally tuned and calibrated suspension.

Westcott referenced the Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart competing in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2023.

Toyota’s new Hilux GR Sport variant

“We have a Ralliart vehicle in there, which happens to be a Triton at the moment and has done very well,” he said.

“So Ralliart is an area we continue to explore and learn from, our experiences in the Asian Cross Country Rally and as Mitsubishi has demonstrated over many generations of vehicles, and iterations of vehicles, that we use the knowledge we gain from that type of stuff and build it back into our cars. 

“You can see that with Lancer Evo and Super All-Wheel-Control. And where we are today. We actually don’t just do things as sponsorship or naming exercises. We actually learn from them and we use the technology.”

Chasing more Mitsubishi?