The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a guy car. It's a world class rally road runner that most folks don't even know about. Yet with the addition of a six-speed twin clutch transmission, Mitsubishi is trying to attract more women to this four seat rocket-like compact sedan.
We had the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Evo for short, for only four days. But that was enough for it to make some very distinct impressions. The Evo is not for the consumer who wants to be coddled. It is a very serious road car.
Don't get it twisted. The Mitsubishi Evo had plenty of creature comforts. There was cruise control, map lights, Recaro sport seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and satellite radio. Our only real complaint was that the satellite radio wasn't connected.
Externally, the Evo had flared fenders, gills, hood vents and 18-inch alloy wheels.
There was also flat faced black grille that was the beginning of the car's true character. It was definitely built for speed and lots of it. The roof, fenders and hood were made of weight saving aluminum. And there was a huge spoiler on the trunk.
The car had all-wheel drive with three settings: tarmac, snow and gravel. And it had a no-nonsense interior. It was black cloth, the instruments were black faced with chrome edging and there was no computer mouse controlling the systems. It was all about dials.
Under the hood, the Mitsubishi Evo had a dual turbocharged two-liter four cylinder engine. Don't let the size fool you. It kicked out almost 300 (291) horsepower and a hefty 300 pounds-feet of torque.
Our test car was equipped with the five speed manual and we found this a transmission with a capital "T." Shifting had to be firmly done. In other words, the Evo had to put into gear. You can't pull or shove the shifter in the direction of the gear. It had to be put there and there was with an audible clunk to let us know that it had successfully arrived.
The car handled like you'd expect a high performance sedan to account itself - with rifle shot accuracy. However, the firm sports suspension bordered on harsh. We weren't connected to the road; we felt like we were glued to it.
Acceleration was rocket like from any speed. It took a while for us to get used to the five speed gearbox. We found ourselves trying to downshift and the engine rev made us want to shift into sixth gear several times.
This car was truly a four-passenger sedan. Although the rear seats were cozy, there seemed to be plenty of room for four adults. Hip and head room was ample in the front and acceptable in the back.
The trunk was so-so but the Evo's specialty is speed and handling not carrying cargo. In these times of soaring gasoline prices, the Evo's fuel efficiency rating was 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the HWY. The dual clutch model looses 1 MPG in the city but its mpg number for the HWY remains at 22.
Fuel capacity is 14.6 gallons. Mitsubishi estimates annual fuel costs at $2,502 based on a gasoline price of $3.00 per gallon at a time when prices for premium are at $4.00 per gallon. In other words, if you drive a lot it's going to cost you a lot. But during these times that can be said of any vehicle.
And with a base price of 33,615, the 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution with a five speed manual transmission is a world class buy but it doesn't cost world class money.