Farewell, Great Evo, and Good Riddance

April 1st, 2014

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

Mitsubishi sales are circling the drain. The carmaker hasn’t had a major commercial success since, well, ever. I can’t think of a single model that reviewers and consumers alike have lauded as the best in any class.

There is one car that has given Mitsubishi a huge dose of respect in this country: the Lancer Evolution. While every other Mitsubishi in the stable is pretty much a bargain-basement find shoppers settle for when they can’t afford a Toyota, the Evo, as it is known, is something special.

The Evo, a suped-up and turbocharged version of the homely Lancer, is the most extraordinary car Mitsubishi has ever built.

And it’s finally being killed off.

The standard Lancer uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes a lethargic 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque.

The Evo, by comparison, also uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder but has the help of a turbocharger, and other performance bits, to up the power to 291 ponies and a hefty 300 lb-ft of torque. It’s as much of a halo car as Mitsubishi has ever had, and its enthusiasts have formed an almost cult-like following.

The Evo serves two purposes:

  1. Showcases the abilities of Mitsubishi and gains the respect of the U.S. performance crowd.
  2. Sells more basic Lancers, as people will assume they’re just a mod or two away from being an Evo.

Number one was accomplished, as the Evo has undoubtedly earned respect. Number two… not so much.

While the Evo really is a great car, it’s a vehicle that really doesn’t have a reason for existence or a place in the future lineup. The car has turned into the vehicle of choice for aging boy-racers with failure-to-launch syndrome, who use it to let everyone within a half-mile know that they don’t understand the concept of subtlety.

Plus, gigantic wings were so 1998.

A Mitsubishi rep told Automotive News:

Mitsubishi Motors does not have any plans to design a successor with the current concept, as a high-performance four-wheel drive gasoline-powered sedan… Mitsubishi Motors will explore the possibilities of high-performance models that incorporate electric vehicle technology.

The future of Mitsubishi in the U.S. is unclear, but one thing is for sure: After this current generation, the only Evos you’ll find will be on the used market.

Will you miss the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?


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Used Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Used Mitsubishi Lancer

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