2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – Video Review

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – Video Review:

In the 4-door, compact, all-wheel drive hooligan market the players are few.  But it’s this one-trick pony from Japan’s brand-in-transition that best embodies the juvenile delinquent spirit. 

It’s the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, better known as the Evo.  And though it’s the senior citizen of the class, this World Rally Championship-inspired speed-freak still has the moves to impress. 

Though it seats up to 5, there’s only one position that matters.  All the fun resides right here.  If you can manage to get in and out of the deeply bolstered Recaros – which are non-height adjustable, by the way – be prepared for the most visceral driving experience $40,000 can buy.

It’s like driving a car in a video game.  It really is.  But when this pavement gets rough you do not want this car as your everyday driver unless you’re a complete glutton for punishment because it will rattle your teeth out of your skull. 

The marriage of the 291 horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and the MR’s standard 6-speed Twin-Clutch transmission is one made in hooligan heaven.  It’s a turbocharged thrill ride with boost that pours on.  And the gearbox says “accept me for who I am” because it doesn’t spend a second trying to mask its manual shifting ways, particularly in the hyper-aggressive sport mode.  This is a car that begs to be driven hard and fast and clearly feels happiest when it is. 

This car is so obnoxious…and so much fun.

It’s loud, fast, and abrupt and beyond firm in its ride quality with some of the quickest steering you’ll find.  Meaty paddle shifters are perfectly placed and Mitsu’s Super All-Wheel Control system has 3 selectable traction modes – Tarmac, Gravel and Snow – all designed to manipulate the Active Center Differential and other parameters to best proportion the torque split.  My tester came with winter tires and as such gripped nicely to the varied surfaces encountered here late in the season.  But if you like a bit of drift in your AWD sports sedan don’t’ fret – the Evo will happily play.  And though acceleration from a standstill takes a moment for the powertrain to energize, it’ll still turn a 0-to-60mph time of 5.3-seconds.  It runs on premium at the rate of 17mpg city/22mpg highway.

The 5-speed manual Lancer Evo GSR starts at $35,790 while this top-trim Evo MR with the Sportronic, upgraded Bilstein shocks,  Eibach springs, BBS wheels, lightweight Brembo front brake rotors, HID headlights and perhaps best of all – no crazy rear spoiler – begins at $38,990.  Benefitting from the Touring, Premium and Navigation Packages which, believe it or not, include a sound dampening enhancement, this car stickers for $45,415.  Improvements for 2014 include this 7” high-def touch panel, 3 months of Sat radio and HD radio.  But beware of the miniscule 7 cubic feet of trunk space compared to the 12 cubic feet in the regular Lancer. 

Though the new Subaru WRX STI has arrived, there are undoubtedly some who will gravitate to the hardcore nature of the Evo.

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