The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR - Tommi Mäkinen’s Daily Driver

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO MR

The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR is chock full of fun and performance

Review By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

I like to think of myself as a driving enthusiast. In my younger years I certainly was more so than I am now. However, I still like the adrenalin rush of quick acceleration or confidently negotiating a turn at higher speeds.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Mitsubishi’s EVO has a reputation and is well known for its prowess in international rally events. Having won numerous drivers’ championships – including four straight from 1996 through 1999 with Finnish racing legend Tommi Mäkinen – in the extremely challenging on- and off-road circuits featured in the World Rally Championship (WRC), this specialized racing discipline has proven to be the fertile real-world test bed for developing Mitsubishi Motors’ exceptionally capable Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system.

I didn’t expect to try any flying car jumps and even though we had some snow it was best that I be cautious and respect this car that is not mine. It’s important to keep in mind with a media loan car that another writer is scheduled to drive this car right after me. I don’t want to be the cause of any disappointments and schedule adjustments.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Climbing into the driver’s seat I was immediately made aware that this was serious performance at my command by the tight high bolstering of the Recaro seats. Grasping the steering wheel put a pair of paddle shifters at my fingertips to allow for rapid gear changes on the Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission. I had visions of a true rally car with the direct shift lever rising up from the floor. I wanted to reach for the hand lever used to apply rear brakes for setting up turns.

At my disposal was 291 HP coming from a 2.0-L twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 pushing through the six-speed Sportronic trans into an all-wheel-drive system. The A-W-D features a front helical limited slip differential, an active center differential allowing up to a 50:50 torque split between the front and rear wheels, and an active yaw control rear differential. The engine is a screamer with its 7000 RPM redline.

Control comes from Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs, aided by front and rear stabilizers and a front strut tower bar. Stopping is by way of Brembo ventilated disc brakes. Contact with the ground is through Yokohama Advan 245/40 asymmetrical performance tires mounted on 8.5 inch wide x 18-inch BBS forged alloy wheels. A warning label on the driver’s door strongly suggests to change to winter tires, depending on the climate in your locale.

To help keep things in balance the hood, front fenders and roof panel are aluminum. The battery is trunk mounted.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The outfitting of the EVO covers every base, as it should, and doesn’t leave much need for any add-ons to allow for competitive high performance driving. All this comes together at the nice price of $38,195 for the Evolution MR. A Touring Package on my EVO driver cost $2150 and added leather to the Recaros, a power glass sunroof, heated front seats, sound dampening enhancement plus a few other items. I wondered what the EVO would be like without the sound dampening enhancement, as there was lots of aural communication.

A Premium Package costing $1900 added a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system with nine speakers, some suede to the leather Recaros, and a couple other items. Lastly, for $2375 you get a navigation system. The bottom line added to $45,415 including $795 for shipping and handling. Do you have your checkbook out yet or are you thinking that’s a lot of bucks?

Quite frankly, if I were buying I might just opt out of any of those packages. Why? The EVO is meant to be driven with lots of attention paid to what you are doing and where you are aimed. That is, with no distractions.

The seats are tight. The ride is firm and stiff. The EVO is a bit choppy due to the suspension spring rates combined with the short wheelbase. You feel everything in the road surface. But, the EVO is lots of fun and goes fast. Zero to 60mph is in under 5 seconds. Top speed is in the 145mph region. For me, the EVO would be a nice “extra” car for a weekend drive shunning the turnpike and enjoying the back roads of America.

Or perhaps owning an EVO would bring about a membership in a private race facility like Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, NY or Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.

By the way, EPA test fuel economy ratings are 17 city mpg and 22 highway mpg, for a combined of 19 mpg, or 5.3 gallons per 100 miles. I don’t think too many folks are buying the EVO for low fuel consumption reasons.

The transmission can be switched from normal to sport mode for higher upshifts as well as appropriate downshifts. The A-W-D has selectable tarmac, gravel and snow settings. I found the automatic downshifts to give such a real sensation like a true manual transmission, that my subconscious was telling me to step on a clutch pedal when coming to a stop.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The steering column is height adjustable but does not telescope. Notwithstanding, I didn’t feel compromised in my driving position and was quite satisfied with my leg and arm positions.

If you prefer three pedals and also to save a few dollars, the Lancer Evolution GSR is offered and equipped with a 5-speed manual. Price for the GSR is $34,995.

For the 2014 model year, this ultra-high-performance sports sedan gains a number of new features including a new 6.1-in. touchscreen display audio system that is standard on all models, a new HD Radio, a new SIRIUSXM satellite radio with 3-month subscription, and a new MMCS navigation system with 7-in. high definition touch panel, voice command, 3D mapping, point-of-interest information, real-time traffic, and Mapcare® including two updates that is available on all models.

If you are interested to compare the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to other sport cars or performance compacts you can do that right here on the The Auto Channel’s Mitsubishi Buyers Guide For more information and detailed specifications on the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution go to

Also, download the free AutoChannel smartphone app. The “My Test Drives” app for both the iPad and iPhone is available for free on The Auto Channel app found in the Apple App Store. The Auto Channel's free "My Test Drives" app gives serious car shoppers the help they need to make test drive evaluations accurate, effective and meaningful.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR is chock full of fun and performance. And yes you can still pick up grandma at the train station when she visits, but she better make sure here teeth are in tight.

© Larry Nutson