2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review
The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a low-profile racer that explodes like dynamite on open highways and curvy back roads. It’s more refined than ever, but still appeals to hardcore enthusiasts.
The Lancer Evolution is a performance-tuned variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer -- which earns praise within the class of affordable small cars for its striking good looks and strong handling dynamics. However, critics take issue with its low-grade interior materials and poor acceleration.
The Evolution, or Evo for short, builds on both the negative and positive attributes of the base Lancer to create one of the most highly-acclaimed rally racers available today. Not only is the Evo’s I4 engine turbocharged, but it produces 139 more horsepower than the Lancer DE and ES. It also features Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system standard.
Meanwhile, Evo MR trims come equipped with performance-enhancing components like Eibach springs, Bilstein shock absorbers and Brembo calipers. And while the Lancer is criticized for sub-par materials, the all-new MR Touring trim comes laced in leather and touts a power sunroof among other features. Car and Driver calls the Evo "one of the most fun and capable cars available today."
The Lancer Evolution was redesigned in 2008, but due to a late launch there was no 2009 model. For 2010, the Evolution receives a light refresh and sees the introduction of a new luxury MR Touring trim.
- "The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is one of those rare cars that inspires fanaticism so fierce, its loyalists would rather drink used motor oil than drive the chief rival -- in this case, the equally stupendous Subaru WRX STI. Like its nemesis, Mitsubishi's iconic, rally-inspired road burner is based on a compact economy car. As an ultra-high-performance version of the Lancer, the Evolution starts with that sedan's basic architecture and adds a potent turbocharged engine, a highly sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and extensive upgrades to improve handling and braking.” -- Edmunds
- "The current Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, better known to many sports-car enthusiasts as an 'Evo,' still packs quite the performance punch, but it is a much more refined car than any of its predecessors." -- Road and Track
- "No, BMW and Infiniti marketers won't lose much sleep over the arrival of the MR Touring, but Mitsubishi knows this. The MR Touring's mission is to add refinement to the Evo line without losing any of the excitement. And in that case, it's well done, sir." -- Motor Trend
- "The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo is growing up. Not getting older, but maturing. This doesn't mean its forsaking any of its heritage, just making living with it more comfortable. -- New Car Test Drive
The Bottom Line
The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a spectacular performance vehicle, but it isn’t for everyone. Budget shoppers who aren’t interested in burning rubber can save more than half the Evo’s sticker price by opting for the base Lancer instead. Those with a bit more financial flexibility, but still no desire to tear up the track, can purchase a BMW 1-Series for just about the same as it would cost to drive an Evolution.
However, serious performance-car shoppers can’t go wrong with an Evo. It’s quick, nimble and all-around satisfying. Buy one, show up to your late-night illegal street race and watch the competition cop out. Just be wary of anyone driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI -- the Evo’s primary competitor. It’s equipped with a 305-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and all the bells and whistles one would expect in a car designed to smoke the rally racing circuit.
Both the Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX STI are impressive machines with similar performance attributes. Performance car shoppers should test drive both before making a final purchase decision.
The Lancer Evolution was redesigned in 2008 to appeal to a wider audience. While Mitsubishi claimed that the changes made it easier to live with on a daily basis, purists argued that the Evolution lost a bit of its sports edge. Test drivers agreed with both Mitsubishi and its critics, but still found the Evo racy and satisfying.
For 2010, Mitsubishi aims to tailor the Evolution to an even wider audience with the introduction of the MR Touring or “Mr. T,” as Edmunds likes to call it. This luxury trim features the same mechanical underpinnings as the MR, but replaces its giant wing with a more subtle lip spoiler. The MR Touring is also equipped with such luxury features as leather upholstery, additional sound insulation and a power sunroof. Critics, however, assert that the MR Touring is just as bad-ass as the MR.
All trims of the Lancer Evolution feature a 2.0-liter MIVEC I4 turbocharged engine that produces 291 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 300 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The GSR features a standard five-speed manual transmission, but the MR and MR Touring utilize a six-speed TC-SST automated manual with paddle shifters. According to the EPA, the GSR nets a city/highway fuel economy of 16/22 mpg. Meanwhile, the MR and MR Touring are rated at 17/22 mpg.
Aiding performance, the Evolution comes equipped with Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system, which regulates drive torque at every wheel to give drivers greater control on the road. What's more, the Evo features a performance-tuned suspension system, though only the MR's utilizes Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers. Stopping power is brought forth from a four-sensor, four-channel Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. The MR and MR Touring even feature Brembo calipers. What’s more, all trims are outfitted with Yokohama performance tires -- adding to the Evo’s sporty appeal.
- "Evolution has better than adequate power before the turbo kicks in. Once it does, the Evo rockets forward. On the GSR version, the shifter has positive action. The clutch is expectedly stiff, which can frustrate in around-town driving. MR's automatic transmission shifts quickly in all-out performance driving, but is prone to clunkiness in routine commuting." -- Consumer Guide
- "The MR Touring still drives like the Evo it is; it just seems to bring a little less craziness than do other Evos (and it can be argued that the normal one brings less craziness than most previous generations of Evos did). In other words, it's fast, fun, and firm on the road." -- Car and Driver
- "The GSR's five-speed manual handles the power well. Almost too well, as its beefiness occasionally surfaces in a slight clunk between gears, especially when moving through third gear on the way up or down. But gear engagement is solid and throws are short enough. The clutch feels a little light for the power, but it manages engagement with reasonable confidence. Brake and accelerator placement could be closer for optimal heel-and-toe downshifts, but they're close enough." -- New Car Test Drive
- "The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a sports car in compact sedan clothing. The advanced all-wheel-drive system works behind the scenes to give the car very impressive handling and traction abilities. Spirited drivers will also appreciate the Evo's ultra-responsive steering and ample amount of road feedback." -- Edmunds
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