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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR - Four Seasons Update - April 2009

Months in Fleet: NineMileage to Date: 23,420

Last month we reported that our Four Seasons Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR was getting ready to don its summer rubber again, but before we made the tire swap, Web producer Evan McCausland put the snow tires to good use while driving through a snow storm en route to the 2008 New York auto show: "As other drivers slammed on their brakes in horror, I simply smiled," he recalled.

McCausland's smile faded, though, once he made it to Manhattan, where the Evo did not shine as brightly. "Stop-and-go traffic means you'll never leave second gear," kvetched the first-time visitor to the Big Apple, "and the car is violently jarred by large potholes." What's more, the Evo's twin-clutch transmission is almost universally loathed right now. The transmission seems to be freewheeling longer than ever between gearchanges, and the clutch likes to slip a lot before the car starts to accelerate from a stop. We plan to get the transmission fluid changed to see if that improves the response.

As we mentioned last month, our Evo doesn't actually fit everyone on staff. Diminutive production editor Jennifer Misaros is one of those who can't get comfortable in the Evo: "The positives rarely outweigh the negatives, unless I'm bombing down a curvy back road, and even then, it's hard to enjoy the Evo because the lack of seat/steering wheel adjustability makes it nearly impossible for me to get comfortable." The Recaro seats have been praised by others, but those positive comments only come from staffers who are several inches taller than Misaros, who is five feet, four inches. A vertical adjustment for the bucket seats would remedy this problem, we think.

Assistant editor David Zenlea sums up the general sentiment for the Evo by saying, "I would be all over this if it were $15,000 cheaper and had a manual transmission." While the "base" Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR isn't quite $15,000 cheaper, its $33,685 base price is much more palatable and there's also a $2000 factory rebate on the car until June 1. Is it possible we've signed up for a year in the wrong Evo?

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

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

Overview: Body Style: 4-door sedanAccommodation: 5 passengerConstruction: Steel unibody

Powertrain: Engine: DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4Displacement: 2.0 litersPower: 291 hp @ 6500 rpmTorque: 300 lb-ft @ 4400 rpmTransmission: 6-speed dual-clutch semi-automaticDrive: All-wheelFuel Economy: 17/22/19 (city/highway/combined)

Chassis: Steering: Power rack-and-pinionTurns lock-to-lock: 2.27Turning Circle: 38.7 ftSuspension, Front: Strut-type, coil springSuspension, Rear: Multi-link, coil-springBrakes, F/R: Ventilated disc, two-piece rotor/ventilated disc; ABSWheels: 18 x 8.5 in BBS forged alloyTires: Yokohama ADVANTire size: 245/40YR-18

Measurements: Headroom F/R: 40.6/36.9 inLegroom F/R: 42.3/33.3 inShoulder room F/R: 54.7/54.3 inWheelbase: 104.3 inTrack F/R: 60.8/60.8 inL x W x H: 177 x 71.3 x 58.3 inCargo Capacity: 6.9 cu ftWeight: 3594 lbWeight Dist. F/R: 57.4/42.6%Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallonsEst. Range: 275 milesFuel Grade: 91 octane

Standard EquipmentABS and ESPFront, side, side curtain, and knee airbagsTire Pressure Monitoring SystemFront and rear limited slip DifferentialsActive center differentialBluetooth handsfree communicationAutomatic A/CCruise ControlRecaro front sports seatsHID headlights

Options: 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: 5.3sec0-100 MPH: 14.4 sec1/4-Mile: 14.1 @ 99 mph30-70 Passing: 6.3 secSpeed in Gears: 1) 45; 2) 82; 3) 108; 4) 100; 5) 100 mphCornering L/R: 0.97/0.96 g70-0 Braking: 156 ftPeak Braking: 1.06

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