“There’s a handful of vehicles in the market that can transform from street cars to race cars with little no to no adjustments. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is one of them, and you can even bring the kids along!”
2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR – A Family Race Car
The Lancer evolution, which from this point on I’ll simply refer to as the ‘Evo’, came to stardom through the Motorsports pipeline. Mitsubishi’s factory rally racing team was one of the most winning teams in the World Rally Championship, and even employed the services of Tommi Mäkinen, who is arguably one of the most gifted rally drivers ever to compete.
While Mitsubishi’s motorsports DNA defines the Evo, it was the ‘Tuner Culture’ which climaxed in the early 2000’s that catapulted the Evo into the minds and bedroom walls of 16 year old Gran Turismo players, and Asian sports car enthusiast. From that moment on, the Lancer Evo, along with its nemesis—the Subaru WRX STI, have been revered as the most capable and inexpensive race-ready cars in the world.
With a such serious racing pedigree, street credit, and juvenile looks, it begs to ask the question, how does it do as a family sedan? After all, it has four doors…
Can it family?
Yes, it can certainly family. When it comes to family-friendly features, or overall convenience, the Evo offers what most sedans in the segment offer: rear upper and lower LATCH anchors (two sets), heated front seats, excellent visibility all around, a spacious and comfortable backseat, a sunroof, and even two cupholders. Not bad for a car that would normally have a fire suppression system and a racing safety roll cage.
While the Evo is enough family sedan for the minimalist, purist and enthusiast Mom or Dad, we can’t ignore that it lacks most of the modern comfort and safety features found in the majority of its competitors. For starters, the interiors are very basic and very plastic-y, and if you want to enjoy this performance machine, you have to say goodbye to things like a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, XM radio, rear AC/heater vents, a spacious trunk, navigation system, and most noticeably—a comfortable ride. Hit a pothole and you’ll feel your body organs giggle.
If you’re ever crazy enough to pay the nearly 42-grand our test car was priced at (not that I could blame you if you do), you may want to know exactly what you’re getting in return.
Your inner race car driver will be pleased to know that this Lancer has one of the best engines, transmission and all-wheel drive systems I’ve ever experienced. Under the right circumstances, all those components come to life and deliver an exhilarating and incredibly addictive driving experience.
The Evo goes like heck courtesy of the 291 horsepower its turbocharged 4 cylinder engine produces, and the lighting-quick dual-clutch 6 speed automatic transmission catapults you into illegal speeds in no time. Believe me, you better watch it!
When it comes to braking and gripping, the 4 piston Brembo brakes reenact hitting a brick wall if you push them hard enough, and in our case, the Dunlop winter tires wrapped around gorgeous and lightweight BBS wheels kept us on the road in the midst of snowy and icy weather conditions.
Although the Evolution trim hasn’t been rated by the government’s crash rating system, other Lancer trims have performed exceptionally. Note the image below is not representative of the Evolution model, but of a similar 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer AWD.
The Evo does come equipped with seven airbags standard, including a driver’s knee airbag, and dual-stage front airbags with seatbelt pre-tensioners.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is the definition of an enthusiast’s machine. Unfortunately, it’s too hard to ignore everything the Evo lacks compared to other less expensive, modern, but less capable competitors.
That being said, the Evo delivers practicality, and for some, most basic features one could need on a daily basis, but more importantly—one of the most pure and gratifying driving experiences ever.
- Starts at: $38,995
- Price as tested: $41,805
- Exotic car levels of performance.
- Spacious front and rear cabin.
- Excellent all-wheel drive system for harsh weather conditions.
The not so great:
- Uncomfortable ride.
- Lack of modern features.
- Segment competition is far too strong.