Another Evo, another shocking price tag. At $41,710, I don’t know what kind of buyer would spring for this no-options MR Touring model. Sure, it’s loaded with features, but some of them, such as the automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, are just silly. I can only imagine that Mitsubishi is shooting itself in the foot by making the Evolution packaging so strange. Instead of the three-trim setup currently offered, Mitsubishi should mimic the Subaru Impreza WRX STI strategy by offering just one trim level.
The Lancer Evolution should start at less than $35,000 with a six-speed manual transmission. Stand-alone options should include the twin-clutch transmission, navigation, and the two larger spoilers. A touring package would include heated seats, automatic climate control, and a power sunroof. A technology package would tack on xenon headlamps, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and keyless ignition.
Of course, once you get behind the wheel, you forget all about the Evo’s price. The nimble handling and instant-on power make this car a blast when darting around the city or scrambling down a rural road. Turn-in is quick, and the all-wheel drive keeps the Evo incredibly stable in high-speed corners. The car always feels planted, giving the driver confidence. However, as the speeds increase, steering feedback slowly disappears. Compared with the transmission in our long-term 2008 Lancer Evolution, the transmission in this 2010 model feels a bit more natural when creeping and when the clutch is engaging at parking-lot speeds. However, I’m still waiting for the dual-clutch gearbox that can jump off the line with serious authority.
Looking at an Evo without the giant rear wing is a bit disconcerting. While that fixture blocks rearward vision a bit, it really adds character to the feisty Mitsubishi. On the other hand, the extremely subtle lip spoiler on the MR Touring gives you a feeling that you’re attracting much less attention when you drive around. In a car this fast, that’s always a good thing.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
Two of the biggest issues we had with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR we tested for a year were the huge rear wing and the awkward dual-clutch transmission. The MR Touring addresses the wing by reducing it to a small lip on the trunk lid, greatly improving rearward visibility. Transmission tuning is also revised, although it still hesitates to engage first gear when leaving a stop while the car is cold. After everything is up to operating temperature, the gearbox responds better than our MR’s did, however. Still, for many enthusiasts, there’s still no substitute for a clutch pedal.
Other changes in the Touring include nicer-looking instrumentation and a more accurate fuel gauge. I drove around for a weekend and never noticed the gas gauge dropping as suddenly as it did on our old MR, which meant you couldn’t really tell if you’d need to refill the tank until the very last minute.
Any variant of the Evo on the short list of cars I’d really, really like to own. The MR Touring is especially worthy of consideration as a daily driver because of its smaller wing. A lot of people will dismiss the Evo as being too hard-core, but the Bilstein dampers and the Eibach springs strike a good balance between ride quality and handling. And now the MR Touring is just refined enough at highway speeds to make long trips bearable. It certainly takes a dedicated person to use an Evo as a daily driver, but the MR Touring should help to broaden the Evo’s appeal.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
I didn’t realize how much I missed our recently departed Four Season Evo until I plunked myself down in this very similar model and put my hands on its wonderful, small-diameter steering wheel. By the first turn in the parking garage, I’d once again fallen in love with its boost-happy engine and generous surpluses of traction. The Evo is one of those vehicles you could identify even if you were blindfolded. No other vehicle I’ve driven responds to steering inputs with such immediacy.
However, I’d recommend skipping the MR model — a misguided, if well-intentioned, attempt at creating a grown-up Evo. The GSR loses the slow-to-engage dual-clutch automatic and, at about $35,000, is a much better value. The idea of spending more than $40,000 on a Lancer, even a really fast one with rain-sensing windshield wipers, is tough to swallow.
Oh, and I’d like my giant wing back, thank you very much. Yes, it blocks your rearward vision, and yes, it attracts more police than would a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s sitting on the rear shelf. But this is a Mitsubishi Evo, dammit, and a giant rear wing is required equipment.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I left work after midnight on my evening with the Evo MR Touring, but I still couldn’t resist the fun of bombing down a couple of greasy, potholed gravel roads at 70 mph or so. The Evo isn’t the most enjoyable car to drive in town or on the highway, but it really comes into its own where the traffic thins out and the roads open up, particularly if those roads could be considered for a rally-racing stage. Few cars offer as much fun and all-weather thrust. The powertrain is still laggy and the dual-clutch gearbox’s clutches still behave strangely, but the latter issue is better sorted than it was in our now-departed Four Seasons Evo MR.
Where the new MR Touring trim level really improves the breed, though, is in its interior refinements. The leather-covered Recaro racing seats are very impressive, the new multicolor info screen between the tach and the speedo helps increase the car’s feeling of value, and even the leather-wrapped handbrake handle makes the cabin feel more worthy of the Mitsubishi’s $40,000-plus cost. The Touring may look a bit naked without the basket-handle rear wing, but I like the unobstructed view in the rearview mirror. My biggest complaint about the Evo–its awkward driving position–remains, but I’m confident that a telescoping steering column would solve this problem.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring
Base price (with destination): $41,710
Price as tested: $41,710
Heated front seats and sideview mirrors
Front side airbags
Side curtain airbags
Driver’s side knee airbag
Tire pressure monitoring system
6-speed dual clutch transmission
Brembo disc brakes
Bilstein shocks with Eibach springs
Limited-slip front and rear differentials
Active center differential
Active yaw control
Automatic climate control
Keyless entry and starting
710W Rockford Fosgate sound system
Sirius satellite radio with 3-month subscription
Auxiliary audio input
HID headlights with manual leveling
18-inch BBS forged aluminum alloy wheels
Options on this vehicle:
Key options not on vehicle:
Technology package – $2550
6-disc CD changer – $456
Front air dam – $600
Front brake air vents – $117
Front strut brace – $515
Intercooler pipes – $319
Navigation – $2499
Rear corner air dams – $420
Rear strut brace – $515
Rear spoiler – $110
Side skirts – $840
17 / 22 / 19 mpg
Size: 2.0L turbocharged/intercooled MIVEC four-cylinder
Horsepower: 291 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
6-speed dual clutch
Weight: 3594 lb
18 x 8.5-inch forged BBS aluminum alloy wheels
245/40 Yokohama Advan high performance tires
Competitors: Subaru Impreza WRX STI