2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Click image to enlarge
Review by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Performance Sedan
History/Description: The current-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution launched for 2008 and has been largely unchanged since. This range-topping Lancer variant amounts to a four-door, four-wheel drive surface-to-surface missile engineered to provide full access to its considerable performance capabilities regardless of skill level, location or prevailing weather conditions. Whether its snow, rain, pavement or gravel passing beneath, Evo will rip through virtually any road surface like a plasma cutter through butter.
Evolution came just one way: as a four-door, AWD-equipped sedan. The AWD system, confusingly, is called Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC). It’s an award-winning technology with the kickass ability to extract maximum performance on minimal-traction surfaces via fully networked operation with other vehicle systems like steering, brakes and the transmission. Drivers can use a switch to pre-set the system into “Gravel”, “Snow” or “Tarmac” modes for maximized giggles, which is sweet.
Feature content may include navigation, xenon lights, a sunroof, Bluetooth, voice-command, automatic climate control and heated Recaro seats. A hard-drive music server system was available, too. On models where they weren’t standard, a performance package added Brembo brakes and upgraded shock absorbers ideal for laying the smack down at track-day.
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Click image to enlarge
Engines / Trim: The Evolution GSR was the lower-end, entry-level model with manual gearbox and fewer toys. The Evolution MR was the loaded package with all of the goodies. A stripped-down, weight-reduced Evolution RS was available, too.
All models got the 4B11 engine – namely, a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder with intercooler, good for 291 horsepower. That engine came teamed with either a six-speed manual or a Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST).
Though most driving enthusiasts would rather eat a box of roofing nails than drive a boosted, AWD sport sedan with an automatic, this optional dual-clutch box manages split-second, paddle-shift gearchanges and is only slightly less entertaining than firing an automatic weapon at a wall full of china.
End of the day, a solid used Lancer Evolution from this generation should prove absolutely track ready, and deliver virtually unbeatable all-around performance for the money.
2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution & 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Like: No major surprises here. Owners of the Evolution love the performance, boy-racer looks, four-door functionality and all-season shenanigans enabled by their ride. The Rockford Fosgate stereo with subwoofer is rated highly, as is output from the available xenon lights. In any measure of speed or performance, most owners say their Evo is the bee’s knees.
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution & 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Dislike: Complaints include the el-cheapo cabin feel, low-budget materials, excessive wind and road noise, excessive thirst for high-test gas, and a confusingly large turning circle which makes parking a pain. Other complaints include the shallow trunk, which contains the washer fluid reservoir, which is weird. Some owners wished for fewer dirty looks from Subaru WRX STI drivers at traffic lights, too. Finally, the Evolution’s exhaust note is dull and boring – though the one you’re considering probably has an aftermarket exhaust anyways.
Here’s a list of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution owner reviews from autoTRADER.ca.
Common Issues: Put your used sports-car hat on when meeting with potential Evolution candidates for your purchase. Chances are, it’s had the bejezus driven out of it by one or more former owners – so start with the tires and brakes, inspecting for signs of excessive wear. Note that driving on the factory-equipment tires in wintertime is a great way to wind up high-fiving a guardrail, so budget for winter tires and wheels if they aren’t included.
Be absolutely sure all maintenance requirements have been adhered to – budgeting for a full fluid change (including differentials and transmission / transaxle) if you’re unsure. The Evolution has a lot of oily bits bolted to its floor-pan, and fresh, quality fluid is key to the long-term durability of these pricey parts.