EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X, Day 1

Automobile Staff
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2009 Mitsubishi Evo X Front View

Read Marc Noordeloos's comments on driving the 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X

I'm a huge fan of the old Evo (I keep thinking of buying one before they all get too thrashed) so I was eager to drive the Evo X. Within the first 100 feet, I knew Mitsubishi didn't ruin this car. From the steering to the gearbox to the aggressive but well-damped ride, this new car is a real Evo through and through. The grip levels are amazing and it resists understeer so well. Yes, I still prefer the overall feel and hard-core edge of the Evo VIII and IX but things have to change.

As far as gripes, the Evo X really needs a 6-speed box. Sure, the MR has a 6-speed dual-clutch but I want a 6-speed manual. The first four ratios are very short (a good thing) but there is too big of a drop to 5th gear. Plus, 5th gear is still too short for highway journeys. At 80 mph, the boominess of the engine is very tiring. Nothing a 6-speed box with a shorter 5th gear and the longer 6th couldn't fix. Other issues, I find the toggle switch for the center diff on the steering wheel to be too easy to bump. They should put it on the center console. Also, this Evo didn't feel as buttoned down on 90-100 mph back road runs as the last Evo IX MR I drove. This could be that this Evo X lacks the Bilstein dampers that come on the MR.

Rear seat room is impressive though trunk space is lacking due to the new rear differential. Also, a near $34K base price is a bit steep. They should dump a few more features like auto climate control, trip computer, etc. to drop the price down a bit more. It would also be nice if Xenon headlights and the large rear wing were standalone options. Also, I could do without having to view the words "Goodbye" every time I turn off the car. A bit cheesy, Mitsubishi.

In the end, the Evo soundly whips the new Subaru STI in all areas except two. The Subaru is more versatile due to its hatchback layout and it is much more relaxing on highway journeys than the busy Evo.

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