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EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X, Day 2

Read Rusty Blackwell's comments on driving the 2009 Mitsubishi EVO X

After the first drive, I don't adore this car as much as I loved (and still love) the old Lancer Evo, but this thing is still really damn good. The gearbox feels nigh perfect to me, with awesome weighting; solid but notchy action; and a small, grippy knob with baseball-like stitching. The somewhat slippery steering wheel doesn't feel as good as the VIII's and the IX's textured, skinnier Momo wheel, but the quick and entertaining steering itself feels nice nonetheless. This engine is a bit more laggy than I remember from MR versions of the previous generation (probably attributable to five versus six speeds; Marc is right - this car needs a six-speed manual), but once that boost kicks in, you'd better hold on. Plus, the engine pulls hard past 7000 rpm. Awesome! (However, it can be pretty boomy in the cabin. Oh well.)

I took the Evo on some potholed gravel roads, and it maintained traction and wheel contact remarkably, even though the car nearly shook my glasses right off my face. I like the somewhat subdued styling of this car, too (read: no gigantic pedestal wing, attractive wheels, aggressive front-end enhancements).

The Evo is pricey, even in ultrabase trim (more than $33K, in this case), but it still keeps a healthy helping of rawness from its predecessor. No question in my mind: I'd buy this car over the new, too-insulated Subaru Impreza WRX STI.