Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart Version-R Is this the baby EVO
Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart Version-R Is this the baby EVO? by Aki Sugawara

June 2, 2006 - Although compact coupes are still all the tuning rave stateside (albeit not as much as a decade ago), in Japan car tuners have moved on towards tricking out mini-vans and mini-minivans such as the Toyota bB (or the Scion xB here) and Honda Fit. Following the trend, Mitsubishi is bringing out an Evolution-inspired variant of its 5-door hatchback Colt, known as the Ralliart Version-R.

But unlike typical Japanese car enthusiasts that slap Volk rims on a Honda Odyssey and call it a day, Mitsubishi went all out on this zippy ride. Powering the Version-R is a turbocharged 4-cylinder, 1.5L DOHC engine rated at 154 horsepower, which in contrast to most sporty Japanese cars has its torque on tap from the lower RPMs; the peak uncharacteristically comes at around 2000. The car's standard Getrag 5-speed manual transmission boasts clean shifts, and there's an option for a Sports Mode 6-speed CVT. The body has been considerably stiffened, especially around the passenger compartment, giving it torsional rigidity more along the lines of the Lancer Evolution.

Looks too cool to be teased as a mini mini-van.
Other frills include 16-inch alloy wheels with low-profile 205/45/16 tires, which are filled out with larger 15-inch and 14-inch vented disc brakes, a reworked front and rear suspension, and Active Steering Control (ASC) that automatically adjusts braking and engine output, regulating that pesky front-wheel drive understeer.

Factory options for the Ralliart Version-R include Recaro bucket seats and AM/FM CD player or Navi with four additional speakers. An engine starter switch can be installed as a dealer option.

Aluminum pedals and metallic trim accent the spacious interior.
Priced at 1,974,000 yen (strangely enough, for both the 5-speed and 6-speed transmission trims), that comes out to about $17,655 USD--which is a pretty sweet deal for what you're getting. But unfortunately, Mitsubishi has yet to announce any plans to bring the car stateside. And since Honda's just beginning to test the sub-compact market in the U.S. with its 5-door Honda Fit, it's likely that Mitsubishi will take a wait-and-see approach for this new domestic market niche.