2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution Ride and Review By John Heilig


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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO


THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution…It’s Two, Two Cars in One

SPECIFICATIONS - 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution

Model: 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Horsepower/Torque: 291 hp @ 6,500 rpm/300 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 177.0 x 71.3 x 58.3 in.
Tires: P245/40R18
Cargo volume: 6.9 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/20.5 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,572 lbs.
Sticker: $45,135 (includes $795 destination charge, $8,445 in options

SEE ALSO: 2013 Sedans with 290-325 horsepower ranked by MSRP and 100 other specs, dimensions and criteria

The Bottom Line: The Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution is a car with dual personalities. On the one hand it masquerades as a compact sedan, and it's a pretty good one. But on the other hand it wants to be a race car, with a loud turbocharged engine and rock-hard suspension. In the end, this schizophrenia spoils both sides.

The Mitsubishi Lancer is a confusing car. In the past I have driver Lancers that are fairly sedate compact cars, I have also driven Lancer versions like this EVOlution (or EVO) that are trying real hard to be sports cars, or at least performance cars. The problem is that it's still a Lancer at heart.

Among the EVO's good points are its decent economy, despite the hunking turbo four under the hood. We achieved 20.5 mpg in our test, which, granted, should have been at least 10 mpg higher for the 2.0-liter four, but was acceptable considering that I kept my foot near the floor whenever it hit the accelerator.

A confusing part of this mpg achievement was the economy display on the dash. It seemed as if it always reset to zero whenever we started up, so we couldn't get a decent reading unless we took a long trip (or calculated the mpg the old fashioned way).

Another asset is that there is plenty of power from the turbo four, without the annoyance of turbo steer, where the engine wants to take over. All we had to do was hit the accelerator and the EVO would launch itself. This is great for merging onto busy highways (and surprises the heck out of the car you're merging in front of).

There's also a good transmission that is firm and has clear gating. We drove it in both automatic and "paddle shifter" mode and enjoyed it. I particularly liked the fact that the gear you're in is indicated on the instrument panel, even when you're in full automatic. I also liked that you could feel the shifts, even in automatic, there's a lot to be said for smooth shifting, but when you're in a performance car, it's also good to feel the shifts.

The handling is excellent, which can be assumed from the rock-hard suspension that makes even smooth roads feel rough. The suspension inspires confidence in all corners. I felt it was as firm as the Shelby GT500, but less twitchy, probably due to less power coming from the engine.

If you're in a car that goes, you also want it to stop. The four-wheel discs in the EVO are not sticky, but they stop the car quickly. The steering is also quick, another sporty car attribute.

There's a good HVAC system and good navigation. The clear screen helps. I liked the heated front seats, handy in winter.

Rear seat legroom is surprisingly good for two passengers, there's a fold-down arm rest in the rear with a pair of cup holders.

Now for the bad points. The EVO has a very tinny chassis. You notice it as soon as you open or shut a door.

The engine is very noisy. It isn't just the exhaust, but a constant noise. It makes the Rockford Fosgate premium sound system a waste.

While the firm suspension aids in handling, is also leads to hard riding. This is one of the most uncomfortable cars I've driven lately.

I realize the Lancer is a compact car, but the trunk is very small, with a small opening that makes loading it a chore.

While the Mitsubishi Lancer EVOlution has many good points, and some bad ones, I felt the car's schizophrenic nature added to my confusion, is it a sport car or a powerful a compact sedan? The answer may lie in who you are and exactly what in a car turns you on.

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