2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR – Four Seasons Update – January 2009

Long-Term 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Update: Winter 2009 Array Miles to date: 0

Our Evolution has logged 16,289 miles during its six months in the Automobile Magazine test fleet. Predictably, staffers spent some time lamenting the Evo’s SST transmission and keep wishing for a six-speed manual (as we usually do when we have a test vehicle with a DSG-style transmission). But when the snow started falling, Marc Noordeloos found a few kind words; “I’ve finally found a driving environment where I like the EVO’s dual-clutch gearbox; ‘rallying’ through the snow.” The rapid shifts allow the engine to stay in the sweet spot of its powerband and allow a driver to concentrate on the road.

Evos are supposed to be good for work and play, but Jason Cammisa found the Evo to be a less than desirable travel companion on a recent trek to Pittsburg; “highway cruising range (200 miles) is unacceptable, and it’s made possible by horrendous, disgusting, and inexcusable fuel consumption.” Jason recorded about 16.3 mpg and he was mostly cruising on the highway for 715 miles. We don’t mind the ridiculous fuel consumption during extended bouts of drifting and playing on gravel roads, but it’s almost laughable to think of taking the Evo on an extended trip with such a short range.

Though the Evo has largely been trouble-free, we managed to damage a wheel and discovered a replacement for the stock wheel cost $950. Hey, Mitsubishi dealers have to make their money somewhere. There have also been reports of the radio/navigation unit not displaying anything for up to 15 minutes on extremely cold days. No other vehicles in our fleet had this problem with touch-screen displays.

Nobody argues about the ride quality, handling, or wonderful Recaro seats, but the radio, fuel consumption, and small trunk make the Evo far from perfect. If you’re in the mood for a spirited drive this is your car. Those looking to mix work with pleasure find the car to be too hardcore for everyday life and, ironically, a bit too soft when compared with the previous Evos if you really want to hammer on it. Check back at next month to see what we do with the Evo and if our opinion of the car changes.

Evolution MR

Base Price: $38,965
As Tested: $41,515

Body Style: 4-door sedan
Accommodation: 5 passenger
Construction: Steel unibody

Engine: DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4
Displacement: 2.0 liters
Power: 291 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic
Drive: All-wheel
Fuel Economy: 17/22/19 (city/highway/combined)

Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.27
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft
Suspension, Front: Strut-type, coil spring
Suspension, Rear: Multi-link, coil-spring
Brakes, F/R: Ventilated disc, two-piece rotor/ventilated disc; ABS
Wheels: 18 x 8.5 in BBS forged alloy
Tires: Yokohama ADVAN
Tire size: 245/40YR-18

Headroom F/R: 40.6/36.9 in
Legroom F/R: 42.3/33.3 in
Shoulder room F/R: 54.7/54.3 in
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Track F/R: 60.8/60.8 in
L x W x H: 177 x 71.3 x 58.3 in
Cargo Capacity: 6.9 cu ft
Weight: 3594 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 57.4/42.6%
Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallons
Est. Range: 275 miles
Fuel Grade: 91 octane

Standard Equipment
Front, side, side curtain, and knee airbags
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Front and rear limited slip Differentials
Active center differential
Bluetooth handsfree communication
Automatic A/C
Cruise Control
Recaro front sports seats
HID headlights

Technology Package, $2550
   Navigation with 30 GB hard drive
   650-watt Rockford-Fosgate 9-speaker sound system with subwoofer
   Sirius satellite radio

Test Results:
0-60 MPH: 5.3sec
0-100 MPH: 14.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.1 @ 99 mph
30-70 Passing: 6.3 sec
Speed in Gears: 1) 45; 2) 82; 3) 108; 4) 100; 5) 100 mph
Cornering L/R: 0.97/0.96 g
70-0 Braking: 156 ft
Peak Braking: 1.06

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