Drive - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review | Catalog-cars

Drive – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review

23 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Cameron McGavin

Make MITSUBISHI Model LANCER Price $59,490 (man) and $64,490 (auto). Series 2.0 EVOLUTION Series Year 2009 Body Group sedan Equipment Twin front, side, driver’s knee and curtain airbags, stability/traction control, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, keyless entry/start, automatic headlights/wipers, six-CD audio with auxiliary jack, 18-inch alloys.

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If any car encapsulates both the ridiculous and the sublime, it’s Mitsubishi’s Lancer. Ridiculous?

#160;That would be the modified Lancer kitted out with an aftermarket, overgrown exhaust and universe-bending stereo to draw attention away from what is a rather puny car.

What the wannabes want you to think they’re driving is the one Lancer that can truly be called sublime – the rally-bred Evolution.

Which brings us to the new version on this page, the 10th instalment of the franchise and, on paper at least, the most complete Evo ever. Let’s see if it has the goods to add lustre to the legend.

Price and equipment

Evos have never been luxurious but even the base model tested here is well equipped for its $59,490 ask, getting climate control, cruise, auto headlights/wipers, keyless entry/start and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

A new range-topping model, the $71,690MR, takes things further, adding leather, heated seats, sat nav, Rockford Fosgate stereo and uprated brakes, suspension and wheels.

The MR also gets Mitsubishi’s new six-speed double-clutch transmission that, in a big departure from the Evo form guide, offers an automatic mode.

If you’re not keen on the base Evo’s five-speed manual you can option the double-clutcher for $5000. A $5500 pack with the MR’s uprated brakes, suspension and wheels, but no toys, is available for hard-driving types.

Under the bonnet

After serving duty in every Evo, Mitsubishi’s 4G63engine has made way for a new 2.0-litre turbo four with an aluminium (rather than iron) block, more sophisticated variable valve timing and revamped turbo.

Power tops out at 217kW, up from 205, while torque has jumped from 355 to 366Nm.

While these figures put the Lancer behind Subaru’s 2.5-litre WRXSTi, it’s still a serious performer. Put the foot down and it hunkers down and accelerates with gusto. A lusty appetite for revs and commanding soundtrack complete the package, but turbo lag occasionally intrudes during lazy urban dawdling.

While the double-clutch gearbox is attracting a lot of attention, the five-speed manual is still the pick for drivers who like to get involved. With quick, slick shifts it’s a beauty, but another ratio wouldn’t go astray.

Fuel economy is mediocre. We averaged 11.7L/100km in combined urban/highway running, well behind Mitsubishi’s 10.2L claim, and a 98RON premium requirement adds to the cost.

How it drives

The X is so good it’s hard to know where to start handing out the bouquets. Located securely in that Recaro seat, with sharp, sensuous steering at hand and powerful Brembo brakes to call on, the driver’s commands are transformed into action with perfect transparency.

You need only think of turning before the Evo has dived into the corner and blasted out the other side. It has more grip than Tarzan, pin-sharp responsiveness and is utterly poised and predictable.

The all-wheel-drive system is hugely sophisticated in its manipulative powers, but other than having to choose from tarmac, gravel and snow modes, there’s little for the driver to notice. The Evo just grips and goes without fuss.

Not surprisingly, ride quality and refinement are unremarkable. However, while the Evo reacts actively to the vagaries of the road surface and the tyres make a racket, it’s not an unreasonable compromise in light of its sporting abilities.

Comfort and practicality

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Evos have always been a bit rough inside but the X is OK, with a clean and contemporary, if somewhat stark, ambience. As with other Lancers the plastics aren’t the last word in quality but they’re no longer nasty.

It’s reasonably user-friendly, too, with plenty of cupholders, decent small-item storage and an auxiliary input for the stereo.

Up front, race-style Recaros grip the body tightly and deliver impressive comfort. Despite their meagre adjustment and only one-way steering adjustment, it’s easy to find a natural driving position.

The back seat has sufficient leg and head space to accept taller passengers without complaint, and the well-shaped bench is comfortable.

However, the boot is not that big and the spare tyre is sacrificed for the big exhaust system and rear diffuser, leaving you with just a can of sealant and a compressor to fix a flat.

And with Mitsubishi relocating the battery and washer fluid to the boot to improve weight distribution, the back seat no longer offers a split-fold function.

Safety

With seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability/traction control and high-tech chassis electronics galore, the Evo is on the ball here.

The cherry on top is a five-star NCAP rating, but the lack of parking sensors is disappointing in light of the mediocre rear vision.

Overall verdict

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Previous Evos have felt cheap, lacked refinement and been light on toys and safety, but you could always forgive them these sins because they were so great to drive.

The X is a different proposition. It’s well equipped, safe and – firm ride, average fuel economy, lack of split-fold back seat and missing spare tyre aside – not a total pain in the rear end to live with. Yet this maturity hasn’t come at the cost of the driving.

The X might be a nicer, easier-to-live-with Evo, but it hasn’t lost its gold-plated ability to thrill.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

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