Photography and video by: ©2016 Toni Avery
In most cases, the first and last edition of a car are the best and most valuable down the road. The Mitsubishi EVO has been in production for quite some time and it seems that in the last few years, the automaker has taken a back seat to keeping up the quality and desirability of the car.
For whatever reason, it seems Mitsubishi isn’t invested in continuing production of one of the most loved and desired all-wheel drive sedans on the market. It’s a shame because there’s so much to love about this car, but the lack of enthusiasm or interest or whatever the reason is really shows through in this Final Edition.
This EVO is equipped with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 303 HP and 305 lb-ft of torque mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with stopping power provided by Brembo 4-piston calipers front and 2-piston calipers rear.
The only thing that shouldn’t change about this car is the performance. It’s incredibly fun from the first press of the accelerator. While torque kicks in at 4,000 RPM it doesn’t feel slow at lower RPMs, it’s just quick all the time. It’s solid and completely agile in the corners and still thrills in a straight line. I found it hard to keep myself from wanting to drive it like a rally car at all times.
The standard five-speed manual is infinitely better than the standard six-speed auto in the MR I had earlier last year. It allows for significantly more driver involvement and makes the experience all around more fun. While the motor in this Final Edition only has a slight bump in horsepower and torque over the MR, it feels like a completely different car. It’s as if the Final Edition comes with the soul that was missing from the MR.
Having tested a number of Brembo brakes in the past, these feel as though they’ve been a little used and abused. I won’t fault the brakes themselves, rather the previous journalists that probably were having as much fun as I was.
Ride quality wasn’t too objectionable. Having the same suspension as the MR with Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers front and rear, you can definitely feel the road and all its imperfections, but it’s not Lotus Elise rough.
This Evo is also equipped with Super All Wheel Control and 3 control modes. Tarmac is used for normal driving conditions on the road. Gravel should be selected when driving on somewhat slippery road surfaces such as wet road surfaces and gravel roads. Snow is best used when driving on slippery road surfaces such as snow-covered roads.
AYC (active yaw control) is a system with a left-right differential limiting function and yaw control function that enhances cornering performance and stability during cornering by controlling the left-right drive power difference of the rear wheels, the braking force of all four wheels and the vehicle yaw moment.
The exterior of the EVO features 18” grey Enkei wheels, black contrast roof, large rear trunk spoiler, finished in Diamond White.
While I thought the MR was a nice looking car, the Final Edition is significantly better. Diamond White is the perfect color on this car and after having the spoiler, all EVOs should have one. They just don’t look right without one.
I’m not a fan of non-functional or semi-functional scoops and vents. I can appreciate trying to complete the design by adding more, and I realize the reason for the plates under the other vent and scoop are to keep rain water from entering the engine bay.
Inside the EVO is an all black interior with cloth seats, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob and Final Edition floor mats.
The interior is where my love for this car comes to a screeching halt. It’s bland, it’s all black, there’s an over use of plastic and the seats are more basic than what you’d find in most economy cars. And on top of it all, it’s so incredibly loud while cruising on the freeway at 4000RPMs. Yes, more sound deadening material would add more weight, but there either needs to be one more gear or more sound deadening material. The interior space and noise level is a good reason why someone would choose a WRX STi over an EVO.
While it’s beyond bland inside, the fit and finish is great. Everything lines up and there are no squeaks or rattles. The back seats offer a lot of room no matter the front seat occupant’s size. The trunk is kind of ridiculously small for the size of the car, but I guess you could always put all your stuff in the back seat area.
The stereo is also not great. The Rockford Fosgate unit I had in the MR was pretty good, but this one just had no depth or quality. Playing with the music category settings does help a bit.
Why no Recaro option?! The car is marketed to someone not just looking for a daily driver but also for something to take it on the occasional track day. Not even having the option of a Recaro seat just doesn’t make any sense to me.
The lack of standard equipment inside the car is also a bummer. Navigation will cost you a ridiculous $1800! I’d rather use my phone or go aftermarket. Rear park assist will cost you an additional $295. Adding all these items up that should be standard on the car will make the prospect of purchasing one less and less appealing.
There would need to be three major changes made to the EVO in order for me to want to purchase one. 1. The price point needs to be lowered. 2. Recaro seat option is a must. 3. The interior quality and standard equipment needs to be improved. Don’t touch the performance; it couldn’t be better suited for this car.
The only reason I can come up with for Mitsubishi ending production on this legendary car is that they don’t see a market for it, or they want to move in another direction. Well, we are here and we want this car!
Out of the cars I have tested so far, I’ve only struggled with an overall rating for less than a handful. This can either be due to a well-appointed interior but an uninspiring exterior, or visa versa, for example. Or possibly even a car that offers thrilling performance but is lacking in standard equipment or fine materials in the cabin. Whatever the reason may be, these are the kinds of cars that are the hardest to rate. My performance focused mind wants to rate this car higher, but my aesthetic desires and need for even the bare minimum in terms of standard equipment and high quality materials, helps me to realize this cars true rating. While the Final Edition may only get .5 helmets higher than the MR, if it were based on performance alone, the rating would certainly be higher.
2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution “EVO” Final Edition
Base Price: $37,995
Destination Charge: $810
Total Price: $38,805
Fuel Economy: 17 City, 23 Highway, 19 Combined
GirlsDriveFastToo gives the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution “EVO” Final Edition an overall rating of (out of 5 total):