EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X, Day 3

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2009 Mitsubishi Evo X Rear View

Read Sam Smith's comments on driving the 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X.

I've now got huge chunks of time in both the Evo X and the new fugly-but-you-love-it STI, and to be honest, I can't really decide between the two. The Evo rips your face off on a back road - it's ferociously, ferociously good, with better chassis balance and a mid-corner throttle adjustability that the STI can't even touch - but it's a giant pain in the ass on the highway and just doesn't feel as special as every Lancer Evo before it. And while the STI is gruntier, comfier, and better finished inside, it's saddled with greater turbo lag, dry-road understeer, and woolier steering.

So: Given the choice, what would I do? I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd pocket my extra pennies and go buy an Evo IX MR.

This is the problem for me: The Evo has now evolved to a point where it no longer feels/looks special enough to justify the tradeoffs. If I'm going to buy a barely tamed rally rocket, I want it to be rough and edgy like all the previous Evos. If I want a real car - something that is comfy, fast, drama-free, and performs four-wheeled feats of derring-do with you asleep at the wheel - I'm not going to put up with the Evo's crap interior, noise levels, or lack of features. The STI is good, but just not my cup of tea; it's a little too refined...

Other randomness:

-As Marc mentioned, the steering wheel rocker is a little too easy to hit if you're not paying attention. Checked the manual; if you order up wheel-mounted controls for the radio, you get the button back on the console where it belongs. But then, you'd probably be changing radio stations mid-drift by accident. Six of one...

-Boominess is hugely annoying at 80 mph or just above; essentially, it does it in any gear at around four grand, but most of the time, you're not hovering near it unless you're in fifth. Regardless, it's loud enough that I had to shout to carry on a conversation with my passenger. It's not pleasant. (On top of this, the new engine doesn't sound as good as the one in previous Evos - too much whizz, not enough growl. I can deal with NVH if it's good NVH.);

-Gearbox is HUGELY notchy when cold and - admittedly, I was doing it on purpose - I was able to beat the synchros into second and third before the oil warmed up.

-Ergos still kind of suck, and the brake/throttle are a little too far apart for perfect heel-and-toeing. (I can do it, with my big 'ol size 11.5s, and do it smoothly, but I'd like 'em closer.)

-That rear diff is damn near amazing.

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