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2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review
Pure performance that everyone can afford.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The Evolutions have a legendary success rate in racing. The 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution showcases a new engine that will impress those looking for more power. The best part about this engine is probably the turbo boost that helps it compete with more costly performance sedans. It also means that you will not see a lot of power in the low to mid-range rpm. With the introduction of Mitsubishi’s intelligent variable-valve timing, it can now compete with those cars even at lower rpm ranges. Performance lovers could not have asked for anything more.
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged
Models: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR
2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution offers a better version of its predecessor, the Evo VIII. You can imagine why people call it the Evo IX if you take a look at the facelift it received. Mechanically, it marks the most capable version Mitsubishi has ever released in its Evo lineup. The motor boasts 286 horsepower, and it has the new variable-valve timing introduced by Mitsubishi, which ensures a better torque curve. The turbo housing and muffler are also new for the 2006 model.
Cosmetic changes include a new front fascia along with a new grille design, smoked front and rear lamps, and intake ducts designed to increase cooling efficiency.
Lighter-weight Enkei alloy wheels come standard on the ES and RS model, while MR gets forged aluminum wheels. Despite weighing less, their computer-aided design makes them stronger than regular wheels while decreasing un-sprung weight. These wheels help in cornering, since their low weights are not an obstruction for the independent suspension. The Lancer Evolution receives color-keyed carbon fiber aerodynamic parts to match the body color. The end of the roof of the MR receives a vortex generator to assist the rear deck spoiler in increasing downward force.
Unlike the exterior, the interior remains quite composed and minimalist. It includes little of anything unnecessary for performance. Recaro seats have an Alcantara treatment along with leather side bolsters to help the driver stay on the seat during high-speed cornering. Dark titanium steering wheels make sense when you see the matching center and shift panels. The MR model has an aluminum shift knob and an aluminum-carbon fiber brake lever handle too. However, the aluminum pedals remain standard issue for all 2006 Lancer Evolution models.
Performance & Handling
This marks the best part of the performance-oriented 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. You can easily activate the Active Center Differential settings for gravel, snow, or tarmac, to get the best out of this car. The grip on the road is absolutely stunning and handling around the sharp corners will have you on the edge of your seat. All this excitement comes from a 4G63 engine that has received the MIVEC treatment. Previous Evos are inferior to this one in terms of low-end power. The variable-valve timing on the 2006 models ensures plenty of power. Thanks to the upgraded turbo design, you will not feel any power loss in the upper rpm ranges because of the peak 286 horsepower available at your toe tips when you hit 6500 rpm.
Of course, you have to sacrifice a few features for this kind of performance. The ride quality falls short of high-performance sedans like the BMW M5. You will certainly feel the road surface beneath you, and the independent suspension does not make the bumps go away. Crisp handling and high grip leave very little room for error if things go wrong.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have slightly different opinions about frontal crash test results for this car. The former gives it four out of five stars for front impact protection for the driver and front passenger. Without side airbags, we can expect such a moderate rating. However, IIHS awards it a ""Good"" rating in frontal crash tests and mentions it as a ""Best Pick."" All the performance improvements cost quite a lot in terms of safety, especially if you pick the lightest RS model, since you will loose ABS. The other two models have Brembo brakes and come equipped with ABS as well as electronic brakeforce distribution.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR: 16/22 mpg city/highway
- Racecar-like performance
- Razor sharp handling
- More powerful than other models in the price range
- RS model is similar to a road-legal racecar
You Won't Like
- Ride quality
- Minimalistic interior
- Low side-impact safety ratings
Pure performance that everyone can afford.
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