2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
The Evo is the one happy place in Mitsubishi's U.S. lineup right now, so it's no wonder the company continues to polish its little jewel. For 2006, we have the Evo IX (that's Nine, for anyone who flunked Roman numerals in math), and it's tweaked slightly versus today's Evo VIII. The 2.0-liter turbo four adds variable intake valve timing, resulting in an additional ten hp and three lb-ft of torque, for total of 286 hp and 289 lb-ft, respectively. The interior no longer screams econo-box so loudly with new Alcantara (the same synthetic suede used in the Jaguar Super V8 Portfolio) inserts in place of the old nasty cloth on the Recaro seats. Outside, there are just enough changes to keep obsessive Evo fans interested, with a new front air dam, smoked lenses on head- and taillamps, and new Enkei wheels. The Evo IX will again be sold in three versions: standard, lightweight RS, and top-of-the-line MR. The IX will be the last of the current line of Evos; an all-new model arrives for 2007.