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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR SST 2012 review

The Mitsubishi Evo has something of a reputation as a boy racer. But at a price of almost $75,000 you're unlikely to see too many "boys" driving this particular model. The Lancer Evolution or EVO for short is everything Mitsuibish does best rolled into one, gleaned from years of rally experience.

Background

I remember the first time I drove one of these cars, the Evo VI Makinen special edition. It was back in 2001 before they were commercially available in Australia. Man, what a piece of work  but at $80,000 it was a big ask.

These days it's still a big ask but you get a hell of a lot more car for your money  although less performance some might say. Back then the EVO had a cheap, plastic interior with a single basic CD player from the standard Lancer. These days the EVO is almost sumptuous in comparison.

Engine

It's a 2.0-litre turbocharged and intercooled four with 217kW of power and 366Nm of torque. The turbocharged MIVEC Engine is 12.5kg lighter than before, with a new titanium turbocharger that delivers an improvement of up to 18 per cent in response time. The MIVEC system has also been refined with a direct-acting valve-train for additional weight reduction and optimal power.

Other bits

Power is transmitted to all four wheels through the the Twin Clutch Sport Shift Transmission (SST) and super all-wheel drive system, with different settings for tarmac, gravel and snow. It rides on Bilsteins and Eibach springs with lightweight BBS alloys that are shod with 245/40 series rubber.

You can change gears manually via the paddle shifts which are fixed to the steering column just like a Ferrari. The stoppers are Brembos all round of course. Inside there's leather clad Recaros and satellite navigation. The CD player is still a single but it's hooked up to a hi-end Rockford Fosgate system with nine speakers including a separate subwoofer. What's not to like?

Competitors

The EVO's arch enemy is of course the Subaru WRX STI. The thing is the top of the whiz STI.Spec R is $9000 cheaper and arguably faster, at least off the mark. The manual does the dash in 5.4 secs and the SST in 5.6 secs, compared to 4.9 and 6.0 secs respectively for the comparable STI Spec.R sedan. But it's like Fords and Holdens  you're either an EVO devotee or an STI diehard and the never the twain shall meet.

The drive

Fabulous. Feels much better than the less powerful Ralliart model. Apart from the performance, the big difference is in the way the EVO sits on the road and responds to the wheel as well as the speed with which the twin-clutch tranny hooks up (the Ralliart has a particulary annyoying lag).

The turbocharged engine revs all the way to 7500 revs but it's way too noisy in the cabin even at low speeds. Available as a sedan only, the EVO has a strong road presence with its large rear wing that will make you the envy of your mates (and their sons).

Also: Mitsubishi Evolution MR SST review | long term 2

Verdict

If only it wasn't so expensive? Be prepared to put 98 RON super in it too because the EVO won't accept anything less. Fuel economy is rated at 10.1 litres/100km and we recorded 14.8 from the smallish 55 litre tank giving the car a range of just under 400km between fills.

Pricing guides

$11,990
Based on 157 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$5,862
Highest Price
$14,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Activ Sportback 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,300 – 8,140 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer 2012 Activ Sportback Pricing and Specs
ES Sportback 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $5,000 – 7,810 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer 2012 ES Sportback Pricing and Specs
LX Sportback 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $5,900 – 9,130 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer 2012 LX Sportback Pricing and Specs
Platinum Edition Sportsback 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,700 – 7,590 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer 2012 Platinum Edition Sportsback Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$5,862

Lowest price, based on 141 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.