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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review

Lancer Evolution

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Trims

GSR
Search 8 listings
Starting At: $32,145
MR
Search 13 listings
Starting At: $38,690

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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Overview

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

There is no evolution for Mitsubishi's Lancer Evo this year, as it sails into 2013 unchanged. That’s not exactly a bad thing, as far as performance goes. Comfort could still use a little massaging, but that’s nothing new, as people have been complaining about the Evo’s levels of fit and finish since it first came belching fire from the Land of the Rising Sun. No, the Evo has never been quiet or soft, thanks mostly to the cars it was created to combat.

Your weapons in this war are many, centering around the 291-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that offers 300 lb-ft of torque at just 4,000 rpm. That should tide you over until the horses fully kick in at 6,500, completing a duo that will get you to 60 mph in just 5 seconds (4.9 seconds if you go with the 5-speed manual over the 6-speed, dual-clutch automatic).

Hovering around 300 when it comes to horsepower and torque figures isn’t likely to impress much anymore, but with a curb weight that barely eclipses 3,500 pounds, it’s plenty to motivate. Besides, the Evo really impresses when things get curvy.

That’s thanks to tech like Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC), Mitsubishi’s hyper-sensitive AWD system that is supplemented by an Active Center Differential and Active Yaw Control. The former allows for torque distribution to vary between 80% front or rear while defaulting to a 50/50 layout, while the latter utilizes two clutches and a limited-slip differential to effectively split the torque delivery between the rear wheels. All of this in concert with the sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and performance tires means you’ll find no dearth of reasons to avoid going straight.

Of course, all that is standard with the base GSR trim, which comes with the aforementioned 5-speed manual transmission. The MR does dump the clutch pedal for paddle shifters, but there’s more to be had—Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs and lighter, forged aluminum wheels—that you can get only in the MR.

But if you must have that third pedal, there are some dress-up options for the lowly GSR. A Sight and Sound package will get you xenon headlights and a Rockford Fosgate stereo with a 10-inch subwoofer and in-dash 6-CD changer. You’ll also get keyless ignition and entry, but those don’t fit easily into the sight & sound category. A Sunroof and Leather package will predictably get you a sunroof and leather, but also adds heated front seats and additional sound insulation that's sorely needed regardless of trim. A new center console adds covered storage and somehow gets lumped in here as well. Finally, if you’re more interested in form than function, there’s an Exterior Package that adds aerodynamic body bulges and a grotesque spoiler.

But if you want the Premium Package, you’ll have to go with the MR trim. Here you’ll get the Rockford Fosgate stereo of the Sight and Sound package, unique leather and fake suede, keyless ignition and entry, and that sexy center console with the covered storage. Premium also means chrome exterior trim, so get ready for the shiny bits. A Touring Package offers more go and less show with heated mirrors, auto headlights and wipers, full leather and heated front seats, that crucial sound insulation and a sunroof.

Any one of these packages would be an improvement over the standard Evolution interior, which looks disappointingly like the standard Lancer interior. Look past the steering wheel, pedal covers and gauges, and you’ll see what I mean. In the Lancer it’s fine, but in the Evolution it suddenly looks grossly out of place. Look at it immediately after checking the payment book, and it’ll be even more disappointing. The noise only exacerbates this situation, which is why the extra sound insulation is so welcome.

Put it in all the Evos, please.

Safety isn’t ignored, though, as all Evolution trims come with dual front, front-side and full-length side curtain airbags, as well as a driver’s knee airbag. And Brembo disc brakes will bring things to a halt from 60 mph in just 113 feet.

But you’re not going to crash, as the Evo will simply go in whatever direction you point it. You are one with your car and one with the road, a symbiosis that rises above petty human considerations like traction, stability or even fuel milage (it tops out at 17 mpg city/23 highway with the manual). Time to saddle up.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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