The New Mitsubishi Lancer Evo MR - The Sensible Evo?

September 28, 2009

The newest lineup of Mitsubishi's Lancer models are starting to hit dealerships worldwide and now we've got details on the granddaddy of them all, the Evolution MR Touring.

It has all the power, handling and aggressive characteristics as last years Evolution X (the X refers to the tenth generation) with a few grown-up changes and a lightly higher price tag.

The 2010 Lancer selection includes the completely redesigned Sportback model, a five door hatchback that is available with two great engine choices. However, the MR Touring is drawing crowds of all ages.

That's because it is newest installment of the Evolution but it is all grown up. It all starts with a sleeper exterior. The MR Touring package replaces the standard (and gigantic) rally-inspired Evo spoiler with a subtle rear deck lip. It also features 18 inch forged BBS wheels in a dark chrome finish wrapped in Yokohoma Advan tires. The new MR is even more civilized on the inside. Buyers get a moonroof (for the first time ever), their Recaro race seats are now wrapped in black leather with seat heaters, and extra sound deadening has been added to the cockpit to reduce road noise.

Of course, you still get all the performance goodies like a 291 horsepower turbocharged MIVEC 2.0-liter engine, a Brembo braking system, a six-speed twin-clutch Sportronic transmission and the Mitsubishi Super-All-Wheel Control program (with different traction settings for gravel, snow and tarmac). Another nice touch is that the side mirrors now have heaters built in; great for those icy winter days.

The Touring package does add a few grand on top of the base MR price, but you can have all the refinement for around $41,000. For half the price of most European sports cars, you get better performance, faster lap times and frankly, better looks. The Evolution MR is way ahead of other Japanese performance sedans in its design alone with wind tunnel-tested aerodynamics, intercooler, turbo and brake cooling ducts, and a complete exterior made from lightweight aluminum.

The only drawback that is visible in the MR may be its slightly steep price and very steep fuel economy. According to the Mitsubishi website, it can only manage 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. This just may deter buyers from dishing out the extra money for one, but I have a sneaking suspicion the fun statistics of the MR Touring will outweigh the economic numbers.

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