The people at Mitsubishi tell us that they’d like to put a little bit of the Evo into every car they sell. If they truly could achieve that goal, the firm would be well on its way to recovery. Yes, the World Rally-inspired, all-wheel-drive Lancer Evolution–now on sale in its ninth iteration worldwide but only its second in the U.S. market–really is that good, whether you’re talking about the stock Evo, the hard-core Evo RS, or our favorite model, the refined, Bilstein-dampered Evo MR. The Evo is reason enough to keep Mitsubishi in business.
Point an Evo down a challenging two-lane, and you’ll understand why the Evo already won our Automobile of the Year award in 2004. Unlike many modern cars–even sports cars–which usually have too many layers of insulation between the road and the driver, the Evo has the most tangible, direct, and kinetic communication between the tarmac and your palms, your soles, and your backside of any production car this side of the Lotus Elise. Ignore the silly rear wing, and don’t be fooled by the Evo’s economy-sedan body: it’s a real sports car. In fact, the Evo is more like a than a Porsche 911. The ultimate boy racer, it’s lightweight, has quick responses, and is dominated by its engine. That long-serving, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4G63 engine proves that no one needs more than four cylinders to have a total ball at speed.
More than just other Mitsubishis, we’d like to see a little bit of the Evo in a lot of cars, from a lot of other automakers.