Monday, March 17, 2008

Mitsubishi EVO X MR is still quite a driver's car

The new Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X MR is still a driver’s car, and despite the efforts to add a little refinement the soul of the EVO is left intact. The razor sharp steering, the overall grip, the chassis’ willingness to change direction puts the EVO squarely on top when compared to the ’08 Subaru STI. That said, it lacks a little of the EVO IX’s explosive feel – a tradeoff clearly made for everyday drivability.

The styling is controversial – it seems more cluttered than the concept, and the front end suggests a fish with an overbite when viewed from the side. But who cares, because at the limit the chassis balance tips from neutral to rearward, making it easy to place, slide, and gather up. The sport-auto mode on the transmission is very intuitive, and does a good job of keeping the revs right where you want them when attacking a curving road – when operated in paddle mode (Ferrari-style with fixed paddle locations that don’t get lost with a turn of the wheel) the shifts are quick and positive.

The car feels far more nimble than a trip to the scales would suggest too, and the seats make you want to hop in roll for hours.

At the Mitsubishi Design Center, the EVO in the reflection of the Eclipse design study in the window...

We played with the EVO and the STI on smooth winding desert roads, in the same situations the STI is more prone to understeer, and lacks the positive steering feel of the Mistubishi. It’s still quick across the road, and on bumpier surfaces, or off road it may have an advantage. Both of these cars have been re-tuned for better ride quality, and the optional wheels make all the difference on the STI in the looks department.

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