After the 2015 model year, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will officially say goodbye. But until then, it remains one of the few street racer options out on the market. Critics rightfully say it shows its age, as this model hasn't been redesigned since 2008 and lacks some of the basic features we expect from new cars. Its simplicity remains one of its charms, but also a major downfall.
While it may look like the kind of car your daughter's bad news boyfriend would roll up in, it definitely doesn't fit that stereotype. Our model totaled nearly $40,000, which gets rid of that teenage boy appeal. We liked a few things about this model, but we think most buyers will want to look elsewhere in the sports sedan segment.
Model and PriceWe drove the Lancer Evolution GSR, which starts at $34,995 and is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. Our model tacked on the Sunroof & Leather package, which adds—guess what—a sunroof and leather seats, as well as heated seat functions, upgraded center console, and sound dampening for a quieter cabin. We also had the Sight & Sound package, which delivers a Rockford premium sound system and keyless entry. When factoring in a destination fee, the total cost of our model came to $39,590.
Safety and Key FeaturesUnfortunately, the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo has not been crash tested by the government. Standard safety features on the Lancer Evo include front airbags, front seat mounted side aribags, side curtain airbags, knee airbags, and adjustable rear headrests. Regular Lancer models achieve an overall rating of four stars in crash tests.
Standard features on the Lancer Evo are limited. The car includes a leather wrapped steering wheel, an outdated touchscreen display, Fuse Handsfree Link system, and three months of SiriusXM. Standard front Recaro sport seats were our favorite feature. Our least favorite things? The car has a tilt-only steering wheel and manually adjustable seats with no adjustment for height.
Family Friendliness and UtilityWe can think of plenty sedans that fit the needs of families, but the Lancer Evo would not be one of them. Seats in the back have limited legroom, rendering them fit for only young children. The back seats can't be folded down for more room, which limits cargo space to the paltry 7 cubic feet located in the trunk. Since our model had the upgraded stereo system with the ginormous subwoofer in the trunk, room was limited further. Those looking for more room should opt for the regular Lancer, or a host of other sedans like the Mazda3 or Honda Accord.
Comfort and QualityAs we mentioned earlier, the front seat can be pushed forward and back, but cannot be adjusted according to height. At my 5'3" frame, I couldn’t find a comfortable seating position in this car. The seats themselves are comfortable and supportive, so while we wouldn't be comfortable while actually driving, we would be semi-comfortable taking a nap.
The main problem we had with this car's interior is that it is too expensive for what you get. For nearly $40,000, you are paying for a car that looks 10 years old. Cheap plastics, an outdated radio, and other unrefined touches reduce this car's appeal. We much prefer the look and feel of the Subaru WRX STI, even models that are a few years older.
How it DrivesTo justify the purchase of any modern manual car, shifting should be a pleasure. Unfortunately, we didn't get that experience in our Evo. Our model didn't shift smoothly between the gear points, and almost had a plastic-y feeling in the process. We prefer the smooth-shifting manual on the Dodge Challenger.
Other than this complaint, the car handles excellently around tight corners. Thanks to a turbo four-cylinder engine with 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, the car quickly gets up to speed to pass other cars on the highway without effort. However, we did notice excessive road noise that comes into the cabin, making it fairly difficult to carry a conversation without raising your voice a little.
The Evo tackles bumps on the road with not much poise, which made the ride further unrefined. And forget seeing out of the rear when you need to back up – the giant spoiler makes this virtually impossible. Unfortunately, our model did not come with a rearview camera, which would have eliminated this problem.
SummaryWe had plenty of gripes with this car, including the high price tag, clunky ride, and outdated interior. While we do know why sports car enthusiasts appreciate the car's performance on the road, we don’t think it offers a compelling sales argument for most buyers. Ultimately, we feel buyers that have a certain attachment to this car and its glory years will flock to the model, but otherwise, we would recommend looking elsewhere to satisfy your driving needs. For the 2015 model year, the swan song Lancer Evo is expected to receive major changes, so those who have their heart set on one will definitely want to look for this one.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $39,590
EPA City: 17
EPA Highway: 23
EPA Combined: 19
Cargo Space: 4 small grocery bags
Estimated Combined Range: 276 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Not Available