AutoTest File - 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 11, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Evolutionary: Number Eight was worth the wait

    [​IMG]

    The way we see it, Mitsubishi owes us. No, this isn’t about the Evolution coming up just a few horses short to Subaru’s WRX STi, the Evo’s only real competition in the all-wheel-drive rally-car-for-the-road sweepstakes. This is about getting something back for all the years Mitsubishi sold Evos elsewhere in the world without giving its performance-starved customers in the United States a shot at the same hardware. Instead, we were saddled with year after year of mundane Mirages/Lancers, Galants and Eclipses while our counterparts in Japan, Europe and elsewhere in the developed world snapped up Evos I through VII, punched the throttle, grinned and never looked back.

    We wouldn’t be suggesting a class-action lawsuit except that this car is so good, we can only assume earlier iterations were equally impressive. But while we may feel shorted for past Mitsu misdeeds, no apologies are necessary when it comes to this U.S.-edition Evolution. From the functional scoops in the aluminum hood and turbo-charger intercooler visible through the black mesh front valance, all the way to the huge rear wing and massive dual exhaust outlets, everything about this car hollers “performance.” Okay, maybe we could do without the cop-eclipsing wing and the intercooler coolant sprayer (more on that later), but otherwise we’ll take everything the $30,812 sticker gives us.

    That price includes the tricked-out turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder under the hood, cranking out 271 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The power gets to the four wheels via a short-shifted five-speed manual dumping into a 50/50 center viscous-coupling differential hooked to an open front diff and a limited-slip rear. Tires, exclusive to the Evo, are Yokohama Advan A046 P235/45R-17s. Brakes are Brembos—four-pot calipers up front, twins in the rear, fitted with sport-oriented antilocks and electronic brake force distribution. Elsewhere, suspension gets lots of lightweight aluminum components, along with shock tower braces, and loads of chassis and body- stiffening welds and braces.

    Inside, the Evo offers Recaro buckets, MOMO steering wheel and, yes, even a sound system (c’mon, we’re not all intensely focused rally drivers with a navigator barking commands into our ears). Bottom line: It’s pretty hospitable in here, especially in the cockpit.

    As mentioned earlier, we could pass on the intercooler spritzer, which theoretically helps the condenser further cool air flowing through it. We have no test data to support whether it helps or not, but we do know this: In manual mode, the sprayer keeps pumping as long as the center console-mounted button is depressed—not a simple procedure while launching a car, holding the steering wheel and shifting all at the same time. In automatic mode, the system delivers a two-second squirt every five seconds—a less-than-desirable alternative considering the car goes from 0 to 60 mph before the second squirt. Assuming it actually does enhance performance, we’d like an automatic system with an indicator light on the dash to show when it is working. Other than that, the spritzer’s value is limited to the telltale aroma of the hot water/ washer fluid mix that exudes from the intercooler every time the car is sitting still.

    As noted in an earlier report on the Evo vs. WRX STi (AW, May 5), Mitsubishi’s rally runner isn’t quite as quick either in 0-to-60-mph times or quarter-mile runs as the STi, but if we’ve learned anything since the 1960s it’s that awesome acceleration alone does not make for a superlative performance car. The Evo may not get there as quickly (a wound-up 5000-rpm turbo-style launch with judicious feathering of the clutch is good for shaving a few tenths of a second off the car’s times, however), but once it is rolling it is more than a match for its Subie challenger—and any others that might try to hang with it through a slalom course. Our test car posted an AutoWeek-record 48.1 mph through our eight-cone, 490-foot slalom course. The Evo also posted an AW-record-braking mark, coming to a screeching 60-to-0 halt in just 100 feet.

    As one newly minted Evo owner put it: “Mitsubishi should rename this car the Essence. It embodies all the reasons a true enthusiast buys a performance car.”

    Too bad they made us wait so darn long for it.

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    LIKES

    Top slalom speed
    Stellar braking
    Livable driver

    DISLIKES

    Wing blocks rear view
    Silly intercooler sprayer
    Seven editions too late

    OTHERS CONSIDERED

    Subaru Impreza WRX STi
    Dodge SRT-4
    Mazda RX-8

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    OWNERS SAY...

    I loved my old WRX wagon but wanted something with tighter handling and more power. I tested the STi but found the seats too wide and unsupportive. It had great low-end power, but I struggled with the floppy shifter. The Evo fit like a glove and the gearbox left no doubts. Steering is extremely sensitive when cruising, but in the twisties the reason is clear. This is a driving machine. -Rob Walton, Ventura, Calif.

    Since I traded my Honda S2000 I wanted something sporty, faster and reliable. The accessible power, after the VTEC madness of my S2000, was amazing. The handling limits are beyond daily driving and the seating position is spot-on. Some of my disbelieving (Corvette-owning) co-workers went for a ride and came back converted. The wing blocks my view, and there is wind noise at speed. Quibbles aside, it is a joy. -Chris Cline, Huntington Beach, Calif.

    This car is worth every penny. I test drove many cars over two years, like the Acura RSX, Infiniti G35 coupe and Lexus IS 300, but none came close to the Evo’s power, handling, braking or curb appeal. Once you pass 3000 rpm the turbo kicks in and you’re off like a gunshot, while the awd sticks the car to the road like glue. -Alan Marcelle, Windham, N.H.

    On the track power and handling are surpassed by only its braking ability. Turn-in is immediate with power-on understeer easily controlled with a slight lift, which puts you into a nice four-wheel drift. On the daily-driving side, long trips do make its stiff suspension felt. The car also follows road imperfections like a bloodhound. -Jason Singalevitch, Kings Mountain, N.C.

    This thing is evil and I love it! I was an Evo fan years ago and waited for this day. The wing is a beautiful piece and looks just right. The performance and handling are addictive, even changing lanes is a rush. My only real complaint is that Mitsubishi is so strict about the warranty for minor modifications. -David Poole, Streamwood, Ill.

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    VEHICLE SPECS AND ROAD TEST DATA:

    STICKER
    As tested: $30,812
    Owners paid; average: $30,500 to $38,500; $31,973

    CHASSIS
    Unibody four-door sedan

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 103.3
    Track (in): 59.6 front, 59.6 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 178.5/69.7/57.1
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 3298/4222

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 14.0
    Cargo (cu ft): 10.2

    ENGINE
    Front-transverse 2.0-liter/121.9-cid
    dohc turbocharged I4
    Horsepower: 271 @ 6500 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 273 @ 3500 rpm

    Compression ratio: 8.8:1
    Fuel requirement: 91 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    All-wheel drive
    Transmission: Five-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 4.529:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs,
    inverted gas-charged shock absorbers,
    lower control arm, strut bar, antiroll bar
    Rear: Multilink wishbone with coil springs,
    gas-charged shock absorbers, aluminum
    trailing links, antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 235/45R-17
    Yokohama Advan A046

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 5.19 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 5.57 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 14.01 sec @ 96.5 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (second gear): 2.5 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 2.5 sec
    60-80 mph (third gear): 3.7 sec

    BRAKING
    60 mph-0: 100 ft

    HANDLING
    490-foot slalom: 48.1 mph
    Lateral acceleration
    (200-foot skidpad): 0.91 g

    INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
    Idle: 52
    Full throttle: 79
    Steady 60 mph: 69

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 20.92 mpg
    AW overall: 18.76 mpg

    RUNNING COSTS
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: $96.27

    [​IMG]
     
  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Evo > STi
     
  3. RedVVing19

    RedVVing19 Steve Yzerman > Hockey

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    yea, it would be nice to be able to afford either the sti or evo when i graduated, but ill probably barely be able to afford a regular wrx.

    not to mention the insurance on one of those
     
  4. Possum Stomper

    Possum Stomper The Great Bird of the Galaxy

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  5. :wtf: car and driver posted a significantly better 1/4th mile time.
     
  6. M5_Elite

    M5_Elite New Member

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  7. BMW ///M3

    BMW ///M3 Guest

    too bad it's ugly as sin
     
  8. nucl3ar

    nucl3ar Guest

  9. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    I would drive a red one with the wing delete and red taillights :o
     
  10. court-jester

    court-jester I love dykes

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    are the altezas delete options?
     
  11. dmora

    dmora Guest

    BULLSHIT ASSHOLE!
    NO ONE LIKES TEH HANDLOBRAESING!
     
  12. court-jester

    court-jester I love dykes

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    when is it coming to kanaada>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>>>>>>>>>>?????????????????????
     
  13. dmora

    dmora Guest

    I wanted a red one +wing and black wheels :hs:
     
  14. dmora

    dmora Guest

    buy it in the US and drive it home :uh:
     
  15. jk

    jk Guest

    STi > Evo.
    And some people paid 38k for a evo?
     
  16. HisXLNC

    HisXLNC ๑۩۞۩๑ Hot ๑۩۞۩๑

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    Thats a bad ass car. I want something that sprays water.
     

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