Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a popular choice among those who enjoy wrenching on the engine or slapping on a huge rear spoiler and other exterior accents in preparation for a street race. If you can spare the coinage, the Evo sits above the Lancer Ralliart sedan in price and performance.
The ride is relatively comfortable with a lot of high tech features inside the cabin. But it's under the hood where the action is, with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine sending a whopping 291 horsepower to all four wheels through either a five-speed manual or six-speed automated manual transmission. With a 0-60 mph time of around five seconds, the Evo is an enticing option among looking for a small car that has some get-up-and-go.
The price tag does stick out however as you can get a Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, or Subaru Impreza WRX STI for the same price. However, the Evo is more than just a straight-line special. While the Camaro and Mustang can beat the Mitsu in a straight line with their V-8 engines, the Evo's handling is where it puts the competition in check. While still checking out the competition is always a good idea the Evo represents a healthy balance of muscle and technology for the new-age driver.
Body style: Sedan
Engine: 2.0-liter inline-4
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed automated manual
Models: GSR, MR
The 2012 Lancer Evolution sees minimal changes after the addition of the Fuse voice-activated infotainment system in 2011.
The aggressive style of the Evolution is just downright mean and attracts eyeballs in bunches. The Evo is available in a GSR and MR trim with each offering model-specific features both inside and out. Standard equipment on MR includes alloy wheels, xenon headlights, suspension that has calibrated for a softer ride, a rear spoiler that's a little bit smaller then the GSR's, and alloy wheels. Optional for the GSR is the Sight and Sound package which offers xenon headlights and a beefed up sound system. The Premium package can be tacked on to the MR and offers chrome trim and some other tweaks for the interior. The Touring package throws in automatic headlights and wipers and a sunroof.
In comparison to the exterior's assertive styling the Evo's interior is straight up bland. A few features such as a different steering wheel, aluminum foot pedals, gauges, and sport bucket seats make the Evo distinct from the Lancer GTS. While the seats are comfortable, the driver's seat can't adjust its height and to top it off the steering wheel can't telescope, so drivers of all heights may find this problematic. The rest of the interior is similar to the Lancer sedan, a problem considering the Evo costs more than $10,000 over the price of the Lancer. However the controls are within reaching distance without taking your back off the seat and are ergonomically friendly. Trunk space is limited with the battery and washer fluid reservoir positioned there, and unlike the Lancer you can't fold the rear seatbacks down.
Performance & Handling
A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated at 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque and provides motivation the Evo. The GSR gets a traditional five-speed manual transmission, while the MR gets a six-speed automated manual transmission with paddle shifters. Power is distributed to all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system.
Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, and an array of handling boosters. Front seat side, full-length side curtain, and a driver's knee airbag are also standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
GSR: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway
MR: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway
You Won't Like
- Stiff handling
Not enough substance for the price
If You Like This Vehicle
- Subaru WRX STI