Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2008 — Road Test

October 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-x-fq

A lot of newsprint is devoted to horoscopes. You share your star sign with roughly 8.3% of the population and at any one time you’re bound to be going through some kind of relationship issue, some kind of money issue and perhaps a health concern. Maybe even someone from your past might come into your life this week. It’s all generic fodder for the masses, designed for the lowest common denominator.

The sheer sample size should see all measurements tend to some kind of roughly equal spread — you’d expect that a Capricorn or Libran would have the same chance of meeting a tall dark handsome stranger as a Virgo or Aquarian. But this isn’t the case for accidents. UK accident management company Accident Exchange studied 115,000 accidents and found that Gemini drivers (known for their impatience, apparently) made up just under 9% of all claims. Get to the point, Darren, I hear you Geminis say. Well, guess who is a Gemini: yours truly.

So, I thought it would be good idea to see if I could crash Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution X. Only kidding, I wanted to see if the Evo X would keep me safe and fly in the face of statistics (and other blatant lies).

The first sensation you get from driving the Evo X is one of technology harnessing a monster — the intellectual Castor and Pollux rising above the raw animal form; a beast tamed and shackled by pure processing power, sticky 245/40R18 tyres, Bilstein suspension, and reined in by massive four-pot Brembo brakes at the front.

Tickle the throttle pedal and the animal within rears its head until the active stability and traction control cut in. Just like Geminis, this car comes with moods, but three rather than the twins’ two. Normal is fairly benign, disappointing even. The SST dual-clutch automatic is lazy to change down, and the performance comes, eventually. It’s the cruising mode.

Change its mood to Sport by flicking a switch, and the Evo starts to show some irritation. You’ve called its sister a harlet, but not its favourite sister. All hell breaks loose when S-Sport mode is selected. Not only did you trample its mother’s flower beds, but you ran off with its wife. Savage lurches forwards are a toe-flex away; gear changes are as fast as blinking.

Available as a five-speed manual as well, once you’ve driven the six-speed twin-clutch auto you’ll probably come to the conclusion that there’s no point in having to have the inconvenience of a clutch unless you’re going to take it rallying.

The two models have unusually divergent specification. The manual has more torque by a considerable margin (422Nm vs 372Nm), but less power (206kW vs 220kW). The manual lacks the audio controls on the steering wheel, Rockford Fosgate 9-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth telephone integration of the automatic. The automatic is 15mm longer at 4510mm, and 75kg heavier at 1595kg.

With all that power and torque from the two-litre MIVEC engine you’re a shoe in for the traffic lights grand prix, but would you purchase an Evo, or its nemesis the Subaru WRX STI? On the track, the STI has proved to be quicker in many tests with professional racing drivers, but having driven both, you won’t notice this on the road, even with spirited driving, and you might buy the Evo because you prefer the styling over the beauty-challenged Subaru.

The Evo does feel marginally better to drive, even though the cabin is not as good as the Subaru’s. The Recaro seats are remarkably comfortable and keep your body in the right place while experiencing the g-forces, and you can create some significant ones given the right corners. The Evo X is as balanced as Libra. From the driver’s seat there’s nothing particularly spectacular about the dashboard, but the steering wheel, with its integrated audio, cruise control and Bluetooth phone buttons, is a delight to control.

Unfortunately there is no way of folding the seats forward, which limits the boot’s usefulness. The boot itself contains the Rockford Fosgate subwoofer, integrated into the side, which is capable of vibrating your trousers.

If you want to buy a car that’s easy to crash (like a Renault 5 or Peugeot 205 GTI), you’d better make sure you’re one of the safer star signs — a Sagittarius or Scorpio — signs that represent only 7.7% of accidents each. The Evo is a triumph for Geminis, especially with the twin-clutch. Any corner signposted 45kph or more is ok to take at 100kph. Braking is epic. There’s the power and grip to get you out of most situations. The Evo X is not a Scorpio — there’s no sting in its tail. It’s a car that, under almost all driving conditions, is virtually impossible to crash.

To read the full specifications of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, click through to the next page.

Price: from $62,990 (manual), $67,990 (twin-clutch auto)

What we like

  • S-Sport mode, especially with the paddle-shift gears
  • Handling is sublime
  • Brakes
  • Seats hold you like King Kong held Fay Wray
  • Steering feel
  • Gearbox changes cogs in an instant

What we don’t like

  • Small boot, and back seats don’t fold forwards
  • Reversing isn’t easy with the car’s high shoulders and race-bred spoiler
  • Fuel economy
  • Occasional unexpected clunky downshift

Specifications – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X (2008)

Engine

Displacement (cc): 1,998
Max power (DIN) kW@rpm: 220 @ 6,500
Max torque (DIN) Nm@rpm: 372 @ 3,500
Bore & stroke (mm): 86.0 x 86.0
Compression ratio: 9.0:1
Fuel type: 98 octane
Fuel tank capacity (litres): 55
Fuel consumption – L/100km: 10.5
CO2 – g/km:
244

Dimensions / weights

Overall length (mm): 4,510
Overall width (mm): 1,810
Overall height (mm): 1,480
Wheelbase (mm): 2,650
Track front & rear (mm): 1,545
Kerb weight (kg): 1,595
Turning circle (m): 11.8

Transmission

Type: 6AMT TC-SST
Gear ratios: 3.655 ~ 0.775
1st 3.655
2nd 2.368
3rd 1.754
4th 1.322
5th 1.008
6th 0.775
Rev 4.011
Final 4.062

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Evo X FQ400 is go

October 16th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Lancer Evo X Britcar on track fq

We all know what the FQ stands for in FQ400 (well, if you don’t, it rhymes with ‘Clucking Chick’), and that’s exactly what the FQ400 promises to be. With a 400hp version of the Evo X being campaigned in Britcar (see here) it’s not really a surprise that one should be made for the road to humiliate Ferrari owners.

There have already been FQ320 and FQ360 models, and this FQ400 will likely follow the formula developed by ADR Motorsport including a new turbo, fuel system, exhaust manifold and ECU. A top speed of around 270kph, and 0-100kph in under 3.5 seconds are on the cards, as well as reworked suspension, bigger brakes and some minor aerodynamic tweaks.

In the UK it will be UKP45000, which is more than we can afford right now.

Mitsubishi rolls out Evo X GSR Premium edition

October 15th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Evo X prem fq

Mitsubishi has refreshed its 2009 Lancer Evolution X line-up with the introduction of a new top-end GSR Premium edition that sits above the RS and GSR models. No different mechanically from the other EVO Xs, the Premium edition is distinguished on the outside by the 18-inch BBS alloy wheels, front fog lights and the body colored hood scoops while it also features a set of Bilstein shocks.

Inside the GSR Premium gets Recaro leather bucket seats, a satellite navigation system, side and curtain airbags as well as a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. For 2009, the Japanese-market Lancer EVO X range also benefits from minor revisions to the instrument panel and a new floor console.

Prices for the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer EXO X GSR Premium edition are set in Japan at 4,798,500 Yen ($75,900 NZ) for the version equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox 5,050,000 Yen ($79,800 NZ) for the Twin Clutch-SST model.

Mitsubishi Lancer VR 2008 Review

September 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-lancer-vr-fq

Japan and Korea aren’t likely to go down to the pub for a few beers together any time soon. Despite the geographic proximity, these two countries have a history of conflict that strains relations to this day. Thankfully the arguments now only manifest themselves in economics; and the occasional dispute over small islands.

However it is the automotive arena that is the new battleground and cars like the Lancer better watch out because the Koreans are coming.

The Mitsubishi Lancer VR is a good car. Much as it pains me to say it, so is the Hyundai Sonata. This comparison wouldn’t have been a viable one a couple of years ago but times have changed and the fact that Mitsubishi has a Korean priced car is both a positive and a negative.

The positive is that you can now have the Lancer for the price of a ‘lesser quality’ Korean car. The negatives are two-fold however as cars like the Sonata and i30 are not the dodgy messes of cheap plastic they used to be and despite sporting new clothes and good driving dynamics, the Lancer’s interior is barely level with the quality of the Sonata’s.

So what does the Lancer have over the competent kimchi-consuming competition? Firstly the interior and boot space is almost unbeatable at this price point as the new Lancer is quite large inside and is pretty much perfect for the family with 2.2 children.

An interesting feature is the CVT automatic transmission which seamlessly offers forward motion in what is essentially one gear. Planting your foot from standstill is an interesting experience as the engine revs to around 5500rpm and stays there to 100km/h providing peak power all the way. While a novel feature there is a ‘tiptronic’ style self-shifting option for those who can get confused by such transmission trickery.

The exhaust note is not as sporty as you’d expect from a cousin to the all-conquering Evolution Lancer range, with an anodyne note that sounds like a petulant teenager whinging about having to do the washing up tonight. Despite the noise the engine itself is sprightly enough and really does like to rev given the chance. Put your foot down and the Lancer hauls with real gusto in an accelerative way that you can feel, which is quite something given that the highest priority manufacturers seem to give their designs these days is to insulate the driver from the driving experience. This is a feature I really liked about the Lancer. It’s an honest car that gives up ‘refinement’ levels for intimacy on the road. Sure it’s got more road noise than other cars in its segment, but the trade off for that is a lower weight and a better feeling of connection between you and the road, unlike the ‘steering through cotton-wool’ experience cars like the Camry/Sonata deliver.

This is a car that wants a driver, not someone only interested in a vehicle as a household appliance.

The styling of the Lancer is a solid ‘wedgy’ (not the bad kind) look that is quite handsome and which Honda used to great effect on the Accord Euro. As well as hints of the Accord there are glimpses of Alfa Romeo in the profile. While not a triumph of automotive styling, the high rear end is distinctive, featuring angular lights and a cool rear spoiler that unfortunately hinders rear vision. The gold colour of our test car didn’t really do any favours to the nice lines of the Lancer, but even in this hue it still managed to attract a few stares from those in the Car and SUV offices as well as those on the street.

Road manners are decent in the Lancer and it makes a good cruiser across town or out on the open road. The seating position is low and the steering wheel complete with audio and cruise controls is decent to hold despite looking like it came from a mid-90s Mitsubishi FTO. The rest of the interior is happily of this century and looks quite good with the dash featuring smooth styling and soft touch plastics.

The keyless entry system is a great feature to use for getting into the car but not as user-friendly when starting it. Instead of a start button there is a plastic switch connected into a conventional ignition barrel which you twist (like a key) to start the engine. A strange system, but Mitsubishi probably has a few ignition barrels lying round that need to be used up.

The Lancer better watch out as the Hyundai Sonata is a similarly priced competitor that has become a decent enough ride to compete with and possibly beat the Mitsubishi.

The Lancer is a good car but the interior quality needs to come up half a notch to be able to compete with its Korean rivals before focusing on home town opposition like the Mazda 6 and sublime Honda Accord.

If the slightly dated interior doesn’t faze you then the combination of quality engineering, good looks and low sticker price could make the Lancer a real bargain.

Click through to the next page for full specs on the Mitsubishi Lancer VR

Price: from $28,990. As tested $32,490.

What we like

Decent power

Smooth CVT transmission

Strong styling

Dated steering wheel

Interior and boot space

What we don’t like

Keyless starting ‘key’

Spoiler obscuring rear vision

Whinging exhaust note

Dated (but functional) interior

Engine

Engine Displacement (cc) 1,998

Max power (DIN) kW @ rpm 115 @ 6,000

Max torque (DIN) Nm @ rpm 201 @ 4,250

Bore and stroke (mm) 86.0 x 86.0

Compression ratio 10.0:1

Fuel consumption – l/100km 8.2

CO2 g/km (LB model) 191

Fuel tank capacity (litres) 59

Dimensions / Weights

Overall length (mm) 4,570

Overall width (mm) 1,760

Overall height (mm) 1,490

Wheelbase (mm) 2,635

Track front (mm) 1,530

Track rear (mm) 1,530

Turning circle (m) 10.0

Kerb weight (kg) 1,350

GVW (kg) 1,850

Head room – front (mm) 950

Head room – rear (mm) 895

Trunk volume by VDA (litres) 400

Towing capacity with brakes (kg) 1,000

Towing capacity without brakes (kg) 550

Transmission

6-speed CVT

Gear ratios

1st 2.349

2nd 1.397

3rd 1.074

4th 0.832

5th 0.631

6th 0.518

rev 1.750

final 6.120

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

Electrifying i MiEV coming to New Zealand

September 17th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

New Zealand will be one of the first countries in the world to host the highly anticipated Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (i MiEV) early next year.

Representatives from national and local government and interested organisations will be invited to drive the i MiEV, reinforcing to New Zealanders that a new age in transport technology is upon us.

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand will work closely with state owned energy generator Meridian Energy, who will assist in evaluating the vehicle for New Zealand conditions , including energy supply and infrastructure.

The i MiEV employs a highly energy efficient electric motor powered by recyclable lithium-ion batteries and produces no emissions, making it one of the most sustainable transportation options available for individuals.

“This is one of the biggest changes in personal transport since the conception of the motor vehicle,” said Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand managing director John Leighton. “Now there is a real alternative to the petroleum-dependent internal combustion engine.

“New Zealand is globally renowned for protecting its environment. Meridian Energy has invested heavily in a renewable energy infrastructure to reduce our reliance on CO2-producing fossil fuels. The i MiEV aligns perfectly with Meridian Energy’s efforts and vision and their involvement in this launch phase will be invaluable,” said Mr Leighton.

Mitsubishi to increase production of i-MiEV in respose to high demand

August 11th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-i-miev-fq

Mitsubishi has announced that its Joint Venture — Lithium Energy Japan — will soon begin construction on its new factory in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture. The JV was founded between GS Yuasa Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation in December 2007 to supply large capacity high performance lithium-ion batteries for the i-MiEV city car.

Lithium Energy Japan had initially intended to make batteries for 2,000 vehicles a year at its main plant in Kyoto. Mitsubishi Motors, however, raised its output target for the i-MiEV in response to higher demand expectations based upon a hugely positive response from the UK and other European markets. Along with other factors, this has prompted the project to build a separate plant to supply the additional anticipated demand.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has prioritized the development of the i-MiEV for introduction to the Japanese domestic market in 2009 and has confirmed its plans for introduction to Europe in 2010. MMC’s electric vehicle strategy is to become one of the leading car manufacturers of electric vehicles in the world.

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has requested that a proportion of the first 2,000 Right Hand Drive units be allocated to the UK to support a launch in London in 2009. This is currently being seriously considered.

The brand new plant is scheduled to be ready for next April’s start of production of the i-MiEV all-electric 5-door city car. The plant will initially produce 1 million palm-size lithium-ion cells a year, which is enough to power 10,000 vehicles. An additional investment of more than 10 billion yen is planned by 2012 to add a second plant and doubling output to cope with demand.

New Mitsubishi Lancer SUV cross-over

July 17th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-lancer-dakar-rally

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced a new era of Motor Sports design and engineering with its next-generation racer, the all-new crossover “Racing Lancer”.

With this car, MMC has added a new dimension to its racing activities, blending 35 years of Lancer prowess with 25 years of Pajero epics.

The end result is a cross over between on-road and off-road rallying as well as applying to passenger cars and SUVs.

Sporting a silhouette inspired by the recently previewed Lancer Sportback 5-door hatch, Racing Lancer will support Mitsubishi’s offensive in the passenger car sector, much like the Pajero Evolution in parallel to the production Shogun in 2006.

The Racing Lancer will become MMC’s key ambassador for diesel technologies. Mitsubishi’s long recognized expertise in engine development as a pioneer in clean emissions, balancing shafts, turbo-charging, and direct injection since the 1970s has again been mobilized to create a diesel engineering centre of excellence within the Company covering a wide range of diesel powertrains.

From the all-new 4N13 Euro V 4-cylinder engine to be launched in 2009 to Racing Lancer’s 3.0 litre turbo-charged V6 diesel race engine, all will share the same fundamental know-how and the same essential low fuel consumption and low emissions ‘green benefits’ of Mitsubishi’s diesel technology. The engine is currently finalising development on qualifying rounds of the 2008 Dakar Series and the 2008 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup.

MRX09 is Mitsubishi’s new codename for its latest cross-country rally challenger. ‘MRX09′ stands for ‘Mitsubishi Rally ‘Cross Country’ (‘X’), plus a suffix for the year in which it competes (’09′ = 2009).

The MRX09 features a new, multi-tubular steel frame which has benefited from advanced Computer Aided Engineering analysis with a view to optimizing the layout and dimensioning of the tubing.

The carbon-fibre bodywork of the MRX09 is redolent of the Lancer Sportback, and will come equipped with the same 4WD system, drive train, suspension and brakes – following their modification in accordance with the new technical regulations and as a function of the characteristics of the diesel turbo powerplant.

Technical Specification

Overall length: 4,475mm
Overall width: 1,990mm
Wheelbase: 2,900mm
Track (front/rear): 1,750mm/1,750mm
Weight: 1,900kg
Engine: 2,997cc V6 turbocharged diesel Maximum power: more than 190kW (260hp)
Maximum torque: more than 650Nm (66.3kgm)
Transmission: Ricardo five-speed sequential, manual 4WD system: permanent four-wheel drive with limited slip central differential

Racing Lancer is a Super Production Cross-Country Rally car, which has been developed in compliance with the FIA’s Group T1 regulations (modified cross-country rally cars). It also complies with the new rules due to come into force in 2010.

Supported by the highly successful trial period of the new engine, already raced several times with Pajero Evolution over the last months, Mitsubishi Motors is confident that the Racing Lancer will be a major player at the 2009 Dakar rally.

The Dakar race itself will break new ground next year with a switch from Africa to South America, just as Racing Lancer will itself mark a new start for Mitsubishi Motorsports.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV expected to be released next year

July 15th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-i-miev-sport-fq

Based on the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) city car, which is expected for sale in the UK in 2009, the i-MiEV SPORT showcases the sporty potential of the zero-emissions electric vehicle.

The car features Mitsubishi Motors’ unique in-wheel motors in the front plus the company’s vehicle dynamics control system – S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) to achieve high manoeuvrability and environmental performance.

Like the i-MiEV, the i-MiEV SPORT uses a rear-midship design in its layout. Making use of the relatively long wheelbase of this platform, a high-capacity lithium-ion battery is installed in the lowest area under the floor, and components including a motor and inverter are arranged beneath the luggage compartment.

The aluminium space frame is light, rigid and strong; helping to improve performance by minimizing weight.

The powertrain system employs three permanent magnetic synchronous motors. One in-wheel motor is placed at each front wheel and a single motor drives the rear wheels, similar to the “i-MiEV” system. An E-4WD system electronically optimizes the output of all motors.

Energy-saving environmental innovations are seen throughout the i-MiEV SPORT. Effective use of energy is achieved by installing an auxiliary photovoltaic generator on the roof, a power-generating fan inside the front grill, and regenerative braking functions to recover energy when the car is slowing down. Much of the lighting is by bright, power-saving LEDs, included in the rear combination lamps and vehicle interior, and the efficiency of the air conditioning is enhanced by the use of heat-absorbing window glass.

In addition, Green Plastic ” Mitsubishi Motors’ unique plant-based resin technology ” is used wherever possible for interior components.