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:
- Showcases the abilities of Mitsubishi and gains the respect of the U.S. performance crowd.
- 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?