Zoomer Consumer: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Strapped in to a Recaro racing seat, leather wrapped shift knob at arm’s reach and 291 HP under the hood, it’s hard not to feel like a rally car driver when commanding the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Introduced in Canada last year (after earning a mass following in Japan and Europe), the all-wheel-drive vehicle – turbocharged for impeccable performance – is a beast at handling all weather conditions, as well as those enticing straight-aways with a blur of speed.
The front grille with argent mesh is a menacing sight for those next to you at a red light. And the towering wing on the trunk only enhances its holier-than-thou race appearance – however, it does cut visibility when looking in the rearview mirror.
The Evo MR-P ($51,498; the lower end GSR model starts at $41,498) tester I had came equipped with Mitsubishi’s Twin-Cluth Sport Shift transmission. The automated manual gearbox shifts through all six gears quite nicely – although it does drag a bit in stop-and-go traffic, hanging on to first gear a bit too long and chugging through second when dropping to first would do just fine – and the paddle shifters (column mounted, thank goodness) are ready if you need a quick change.
The Evo’s fuel efficiency sits at a combined 10.8L/100km, however pushing it closer to its limits, I averaged 14L/100km – and that’s all premium fuel, thank you very much.
While it can get pricy filling up, the payoff is quite enjoyable – the Evo slams you against the back of the seat when the aluminum sport pedal hits the floor and the car rockets off into the distance. It instantly transforms those racecar daydreams into a reality. The stiff body sticks tight corners with practically no roll and the sturdy steering wheel can zig and zag with little turning needed.
Inside there’s plenty of room to put the car to practical use as well. Two adults can fit nicely in the back, and a third can squeeze in if needed. And the Premium package (the “P” in MR-P) adds a nine-speaker sound system, 40GB hard disk drive, satellite GPS, hands-free Bluetooth and power sunroof. However, up front, while stylish and adding to the race feel, the Recaro sport bucket seats are uncomfortable and don’t make it easy to find room – or get in and out. But, c’mon, with 291 horses itching to get out it’s reasonable to forgive the tight quarters and less than comfortable buckets.
This is a premium, rally-inspired car that can easily be taken out on the track and then used to pick-up the groceries and grandkids. Everything in moderation, right?
— Travis Persaud