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Review: Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII

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SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO…it’s like two...two cars in one.

By Bob Gordon

As I got out of the silver EVO VIII that I had just parked in front of a local teen hang-out, a group of just hanging out young men and women turned and looked at me without any trace of the distain or loathing that teens can lay on an old dad type.

Even though I did not match anyone’s perception (except maybe mine) of a “Rice Boy”, these car-wise kids actually stopped their conversations, acknowledged that I was alive and walked over to where I had parked the car…”hey mister can we look at the car…no we won’t try to steal it”…and when a chorus of “ its tight” was yelled at me…I responded as any proud driver would “no big deal…there was plenty of room to park”.

Well like they say..."you can take the old out of the car but not out of the driver".

The new Lancer EVO VIII is like two cars in one…you know the commercials for Certs…”It’s a breath mint” … No “its a candy mint” well the EVO..."It's a small sedan...No it’s a Rice Rocket", and rocket it is.

The EVO is nothing short of breathtaking when the tach is goosed above 3000 RPM…Vroom, Vroom... a sweet growl filled the cabin and the acceleration actually threw me back into the pleasantly snug Recaro seat.

The sound and feel of 270 plus horses springing into action at the same time was even exciting enough for my "way cool" 17 year old daughter to ask her old man to take her for another ride, and this time even pick up some of her "way cool"(of course) friends and show them what this baby could do.

As the, small sedan EVO, cruised through the neighborhoods at below legal speeds…our passengers' eyes began to roll and sneers were beginning to show through the "hey this is a really cool car Mr. Gordon"...humoring the old guy.

I could even hear them thinking…"we left the Bling Bling on MTV for this?" My beautiful and perceptive daughter heard it also and told her friends to hang on, just wait and they’ll soon see.

We then entered a long lonely interstate on-ramp…”watch this” my new-to-speed-loving daughter told her buds…”come on Dad show them what this car can do”…unable to deny my baby anything ..I did and a chorus of “tights, cools, and whoa” filled the now rocket-like EVO…dear old dad did not disappoint or embarrass her.

Let me make a confession, I like to drive a car that I can take through the gears without seeing blue lights in my rear view mirror. I have never been a big fan of overpowered purely fast cars, but the EVO made me a convert...hey this fast car thing is alright or should I say tight?

Equally impressive is the EVO’s fit and finish…it is not only a pocket rocket but a nice car as well, and with it's dual personalities both comfortable and way fun to drive. I understand why Mitsubishi has targetted this car to both the street race market segment and to upscale(rich old guys) drivers who want or need to get a cheap thrill out of life. Vroom, Vroom.

At under $30,000 this factory tricked out car can hold it own (and more) with its much more expensive competition, as well as the street rockets popping up in almost every city in the U.S.

I can’t wait to see what Mitsubishi does with the EVO IX

Here are some Comments from other reviewers:

Auto Express: “The EVO VIII is able to run rings around far more expensive 'thoroughbred' machinery. The surefooted grip, nicely weighted steering and quick six-speed gearshift make for an entertaining drive; the heavily bolstered sports seats holding you firmly in place. The dashboard, while an improvement over the old car, still can't quite match European rivals, but none of them can match the EVO's performance - for anything like similar money. A car for enthusiasts, it's easy to see why Mitsubishi's EVO has gained a cult following.”

Fantasy “You know what they say: 8th time's a charm! 11 years after the Evolution's conception, North America will finally get a taste of the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, in all its 271 horsepower glory. That's 5 horses down from the rest of the world actually, due to US fuel and emissions requirements, but it's pretty good all the same. The Evo VIII finally gets 6 cogs for its gearbox, putting it on par with Subaru's WRX, but North American spec cars will be stranded with 5, where first and second gear have been slightly lengthened giving the driver more quality time with the meaty boost range.

The Evo VIII receives a number of cosmetic and aerodynamic changes, including a prettier grille, larger intakes and a redesigned wing, for better cooling, lower drag and improved downforce. Recaro seats and Momo you-name-it's are standard indoors. The powertrain has been strengthened and lightened, and the body and suspension are stiffer thanks to new reinforcements. 4-pot front and 2-pot rear Brembo brakes, together with ABS and EBD, give excellent stopping power, while the NA market gets specially designed 235/45ZR Advan A046 17-inch tires.”