Overview: This week we’re looking at the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR which made its debut in 1992. If you love performance and, instant speed and unreal road grip, you will love driving this EVO. But if your budget doesn’t allow for a hefty price tag of $35,000 and you’re not among the diehard performance enthusiasts who might well pay that for this heart throbbing performer, don’t bother wasting your time test driving it. Most of us drive to get from here to there so there are few who get their kicks on Route 66 on your way to a road less traveled. You know, that’s where you can open up a rare car like this EVO that is capable of road hugging radical acceleration beyond the average run of the mill cars of today.
On the flip side of performance is the bad news. It has a stiff hard ride with associated road noise and loss of comfort. That being said, it will not deter those who buy this car for what it was made for – great performance. And it IS a kid’s car in my opinion but after driving it I wouldn’t want to give this to my teenage son to drive. It is way too much power and will temp anyone to test its potential. Most teens wouldn’t be able to keep it under control. Unintended consequences would include at the very least traffic citations and a worst case result – speeding accidents.
General Information: It is assembled in Kurashiki, Japan, Classification is Compact. Cars from Mitsubishi: Lancer, Mirage, Outlander, MiEV,
Opinion: I had a brain fart the other day when it occurred to me that if Caltrans in California and their counterparts in other states of the country would mark all lanes with speed limits it may very well speed up and smooth out the flow of traffic. Now, don’t laugh – hear me out. Lane 1 = 85 mph; lane 2 = 75 mph; lane 3 = 65 mph and lane 4 = 55 mph – think about that. Accidents are caused for many reasons but the ones affected here include lane changes because of slow traffic in fast lanes, road rage lane changes or rapid changes in speed and direction.
Those of you who have driven on the autobahns of Europe will know that speed alone is not as dangerous and rapid changes in speed and direction. Most highways in Europe are two lanes that include 70 mph fast lane and an extreme fast lane where 100 plus mph is commonplace. I never saw an accident while driving on the highways in Germany, Poland, Austria, the Checz Republic, Switzerland and Italy, but I did notice polite behavior and aware drivers. It was refreshing to see. Fast speed on the highway must conjure up respect because it is allowed and accepted by other drivers as the norm. We could learn some things from our friends on the other side of the Pond.
Handling & Performance: This GSR offers rapid acceleration from a 291 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It has amazing road grip that makes it feel like you’re on rails at a 6-Flaggs Magic Mountain theme park ride. But once you get going it also has impressive stopping power to assist it in being one of the more nimble handling highway legal race cars. This is all made possible because of the all-wheel-drive and communicative steering and short wheel base. It is a rare few that perform as well as this Evo.
Styling: The Evo is what I’d expect would appeal to young male drivers. It looks fast just sitting still and someone mentioned it is the proud recipient of more traffic citations than most if not all branded models.
I wasn’t thrilled at all with the “Rear Wing”. It is consistent with the overall design of a performance car. But does it add enough to the handling characteristics to warrant its inclusion. If it doesn’t, then it is a sure waste because it screws up rear visibility and is distracting. I didn’t like that at all. But I’m guessing to a devoted racer guy it looks very cool and that’s what really counts, right?
Fit and Finish: Very good, but it is a little more tinny noticeable when closing the doors and hood and trunk lids.
Cost: Real pricey for a commuter but real cheap for a race car.
Conveniences and comfort: I found the process of setting up the Bluetooth hands free to be very frustrating and finally I gave up. It is the worst I’ve ever seen. Remember if I can’t figure out any feature without reading the manual I give it a negative mark. Yes I would have spent the time if I would have the car for more than a week. Okay I would have had to read the manual very carefully. I have to admit I did pull the manual out and when I couldn’t find the answer instantly I weighed the time required and the benefit for the week and decided not to make calls while in the car.
I was also annoyed with the sun visors that are really quite useless. That is also a pet peeve of mine because I live in sunny California where there is 364 ½ days of sun.
Consumer Recommendations: If you are looking for a very cool performance car you won’t do much better at any price. But now that price is on the table it is not cheap either. But that is relative too. I have owned a Porsche, a Lamborghini and driven my brothers Ferrari’s. I have also tested most cars made on both oval tracks and road tracks. Trust me, in a road race I’ll take this Evo and at a small fraction of the cost of that Daytona and 275 GTB Ferrari both with V12 power. In a road race with a lot of tight corners all the power is not the most important factor.
In addition, take a look at the standard equipment below and it is sure to impress the sensibilities of race drivers and automotive engineers alike. I doubt it will impress those looking for a commuter and mom couldn’t care less about turbo acceleration. So consumers who will buy this car know who they are, and they will love what they see and appreciate more what they feel when they get behind the wheel on a curvy highway or mountain road. Simply a thrill a minute.
Recognized Competition: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution $35,000, Subaru WRX $35,000, Audi A3 $36,000
Good News: Super performance,
Bad News: Only fair fuel economy, expensive entry cost, poor rear visibility, road noise.
Standard Equipment: 2.0 liter 291 horsepower turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, all-wheel-drive, front mounted intercooler, Brembo Vented ABS disc brakes with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), rear air defuser, rear mounted battery, inverted front shock absorbers, front strut tower bar, front and rear stabilizer bars, front helical limited slip differential, activer center differential, active Yaw control rear differential, auto headlights, fog lights, flared fenders, large rear wing spoiler, aluminum roof panel and front fenders with vents, aluminum hood with heat extractor vents, 18” alloy wheels with 245/40 Yokohama advanced tires, auto air conditioning with micron filter, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, high contrast sport meter gauges, color multi information display, Recaro front sport seats, steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls, 6” touch screen display audio, CD/MP3 audio head unit with 6-speakers, Fuse handsfree link systems with USB port, SiriusXM satellite radio, digital HD radio, power door locks, windows and side-view mirrors, 12V accessory outlet, remote keyless entry, front side and side curtain airbags with driver’s side knee airbag, LATCH system, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitor, active stability and traction controls.
Gas Stats: $3.53/ Gal avg. October 13, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov for more information.
17 City and 23 Highway MPG
Pricing: MSRP $34,995