NEW FOR 2008:

– All-new model

Although it’s been sold in the U.S. and other countries for 16 years, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was always denied entry into Canada due to a front bumper design that didn’t meet federal standards. With the all-new, tenth generation "Evo", the legendary road rocket is now available north of the border for 2008.

Available as the GSR, MR and MR Premium, the Evolution uses an all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder intercooled and turbocharged engine that produces 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The GSR uses a five-speed manual transmission, while the MR models feature a six-speed Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST), an automated manual unit that can be shifted either by a console-mounted lever or magnesium wheel-mounted paddles, and offer manual or fully automatic modes. All models use Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC), a system which includes an active centre differential four-wheel drive, active yaw control rear differential, active stability control and sport brakes with ABS. The system splits torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels using an electronically-controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch.

Features on the GSR include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, cloth Recaro sport seats, fog lamps, chrome exhaust tip, small rear spoiler, black hood and fender vents, floor mats, sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, tilt column, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, CD stereo and driver’s knee airbag.

The MR adds Xenon headlamps, large wing spoiler, chrome belt surround, body-colour hood and fender vents, heated cloth and leather Recaro seats, and FAST-key entry system.

The Premium package is a $4,000 add-on to the MR and includes Rockford Fosgate CD stereo, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power sunroof, hard-drive navigation system with music server function, wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth hands-free capability.

Long available as a rival to the Subaru WRX STI in the American market, the Evolution now takes that role in Canada, and it’s worth the wait. The all-wheel system gives this Mitsubishi incredible grip, and includes a driver-selectable switch for various types of surfaces, such as asphalt or snow. The ride is rough and the interior doesn’t look as expensive as the price tag, but this little sedan has always been about the driving.

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