The Outlander Ralliart Might Pick Up the Pace, But Don't Expect an Evolution

The production Outlander Ralliart might draw upon the Vision Ralliart concept, shown at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, for inspiration.
The production Outlander Ralliart might draw upon the Vision Ralliart concept, shown at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, for inspiration.

Mitsubishi finally appears to be on a path back to health — not ’90s-glory health, just basic, modest relevance and continued existence — thanks to the Outlander. Mitsubishi has desperately needed this for some time. This glimmer of hope has allowed the brand to begin to dream again, and those dreams may take the form of a warmed-up Outlander, dubbed the Outlander Ralliart.

This news comes courtesy of Japan’s Best Car, with a hat tip to Motor1 for bringing it to our attention. You may know Best Car as the outlet that reports every three weeks that your favorite Toyota sports car is due for a comeback, but occasionally, it gets these things right.

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Besides, Mitsubishi brass has spoken openly about longing to resurrect Ralliart, citing the success of performance-slanted off-road brands particularly in North America. Toyota’s TRD has had something of a revival in recent years, Subaru has introduced Wilderness and Ford made Bronco and Raptor household names in very short order. The time is right for Mitsubishi to make a play to the same crowd.

Front and rear views of the Mitsubishi Outlander Vision Ralliart concept, shown at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon.
Front and rear views of the Mitsubishi Outlander Vision Ralliart concept, shown at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon.

The trouble is that this is still Mitsubishi at the end of the day, a company that has some catching up to do. According to Best Car, the rumored Outlander Ralliart would have 286 horsepower from an upgraded plug-in hybrid powertrain. That’d represent a 38-hp boost comparted to the regular Outlander PHEV, which unites a 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder driving the front wheels with a pair of electric motors turning both axles. Mitsubishi’s proposal for a spicy Outlander, then, would have four fewer horses than a base Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar V6, even though it’d weigh at least 240 pounds more.

That’s not all the Outlander Ralliart would be in for, according to Best Car. A “tuned suspension” and “thorough chassis enhancement” are reportedly in the cards as well, in addition to the expected bevy of exterior tweaks, to make sure everyone knows that this is the fast Outlander.

If this is basically what Mitsubishi’s planning as its next step for its best-selling nameplate, I won’t begrudge it. You have to start somewhere, and Mitsubishi is starting from almost nothing.

The company deserves some credit too, as most brands don’t even bestow meaningful mechanical upgrades on the vehicles they advertise are for the pros. The Outback and Forester Wilderness boast enhancements that are incremental at best, and Honda’s HPD Ridgeline is pretty much stickers and gold wheels. Plus, applying the Ralliart brand to this thing, rather than the very-loaded, very-beloved Evolution moniker, is the fair and sensible choice here. Baby steps.

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