We’re about to live in a world without the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and that should be enough to make even a cold auto enthusiast feel a little something.
The idea was simple, hiding under the skin of a staid Lancer sedan lurks a bonkers turbo four and all-wheel drive geared more for rallies than daily milk runs. It’s a good model, but one that seems mired in another time.
Mitsubishi pulled the plug on the Evo and this is a Final Edition model, one of the last 1,600 destined for the U.S. I’m driving the Lancer Evolution Final Edition into the sunset this week. Here are some thoughts.
You haven’t changed a bit
Introduced for 2008, the Evo looks and feels every bit its age. It’s the guy who’s still popping his collar and wearing shutter shades. Come to think of it, the interior feels like a pair of gas station shutter shades, too. Fortunately, none of this matters as soon as you plug in your – there’s no USB port?
Wing and a prayer
Bless the enormous rear spoiler. Sure, every time I make a lane change I think there’s another car sitting on the trunk, but how else would I be able to find this thing in a crowded parking lot? Apart from the black roof, which looks like it was ripped off of a ’92 Eclipse.
Leave it in second long enough and you may throw the gravitational pull back into 2008. The turbo works just like an old-school one and it’s all the better for it, giving you almost nothing for three seconds before all 303 horsepower try to trample you. Obviously not ideal for stop-and-go traffic, but amusing everywhere else.
E for Effort
The effort required to wrangle the five-speed manual is unexpectedly high. Between that and the high clutch take-up, you could save money on a gym membership.
Steering effort is also on the high side, but that’s a great thing. As if it weren’t assisted at all, the Evo’s steering pretty perfectly communicates what’s happening up front and gives the confidence to explore the limits of the all-wheel drive system.
For all of its anachronistic traits, the Evo still works in 2016. It's not cheap (and the last one really wasn't cheap), but then few of these charming brutes are. More opinions are likely to surface before it’s gone, but for now, I’m partying like it’s pre-recession 2008.
What questions do you have about the Evo Final Countdown, err… Final Edition? Sound off in the comments.
Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops