The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a vehicle built with a mission in mind; to conquer the road in any condition that Mother Nature throws its way. But be advised that mission has compromised the Lancer Evolution in key areas such as ride quality and fuel economy.
Automotive enthusiasts love the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Why? This sporty sedan delivers the pleasure of driving on any type of road no matter the conditions. Be it a sunny day on a curvy road or a snow-covered street, the Lancer Evolution is equipped to handle it. 2015 will mark the end of the Lancer Evolution with Mitsubishi offering it in GSR and MR trims.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution hasn’t changed much since this generation was first introduced back in 2008. That’s a good thing in this case as the overall look still has the same aggression as it did back when it was introduced to the world.
Taking the standard Lancer compact sedan, Mitsubishi swapped out the front grille and hood for ones that provide better cooling for the powertrain. The side profile shows off either a set 18-inch alloy wheels on the GSR or lightweight BBS wheels on the MR.
Around back is a rear diffuser which helps improve aerodynamics and a twin exhaust system. GSR models get a large rear-wing, while the MR features a small lip spoiler.
The Lancer Evolution’s interior is quite the step down from exterior. While Mitsubishi tries it best to distance the Evolution from it’s the humble Lancer with aluminum pedals, as well as a new steering wheel and gauges. But the Lancer roots of are very clear to see. Hard plastics are almost everywhere and quality of them could make anyone wonder why they spent close to $40,000 on this vehicle. At least Mitsubishi does use some better materials on the doors.
On my MR tester, leather came standard on the seats. Passengers in the front get bucket seats with enough bolstering to hold you in place during some hard driving.
Some may complain that the seats are uncomfortable due to the side bolstering. Heated seats come standard and were a nice touch when driving the Lancer Evolution. Back-seat passengers will find head- and legroom at a premium. Also at a premium is trunk space. The Lancer Evolution only offers 6.9 cubic feet of space. This is due to the battery and extra body stiffening placed back here.
No matter which trim of the Lancer Evolution you choose, you will still find the same engine: A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet torque. The GSR gets a five-speed manual, while the MR uses a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The Lancer Evolution also boasts one of the most impressive all-wheel drive systems available today. Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) monitors road conditions and is able to shift power quickly to keep you going. You can select between three different settings – Tarmac, Gravel and Snow – which alter the behavior of the all-wheel drive system to provide traction no matter the conditions.
The suspension features stiffer springs and dampers to improve cornering, while a set of Brembo brakes brings the Evolution to a stop.
The Lancer Evolution shows off what it can do best on a nice stretch of curvy road. Power comes on immediately and there doesn’t seem to be any drop off as the revs climb. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission on the MR is lightning quick and you can control the gear changes via paddles behind the steering wheel. Handling is quite good as the all-wheel drive system and chassis make the Evolution feel like it’s on rails.
However, the Lancer Evolution falls apart when driven as a daily driver. The ride is quite stiff and will make anything but the smoothest road feel like an unkempt gravel road. The dual-clutch automatic seems confused when driving in stop-and-go traffic, giving clunky shifts and not being fully adept when it comes to low-speed driving. Worse is fuel economy. The EPA rates the Lancer Evolution GSR at 17/23 mpg city/highway, or 19 mpg combined. The MR model is rated at a similar 17/22 mpg city/highway and also gets 19 mpg combined. In my week of driving the MR, I got an average of 17 mpg.
All Lancer Evolution models boast a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system and Mitsubishi’s FUSE Hands-Free system, which allows owners to connect their Bluetooth phone and iPod (or USB drive) and control them via voice commands.
MR models get a little bit more technology standard than the GSR models with a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, keyless entry and start; rain-sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights and an auto dimming rearview mirror. If you want these options on a GSR, you’ll need to pony up an extra $3,800 for the Premium package. Navigation is available as an accessory for either trim.
The Lancer Evolution doesn’t offer any form of blind spot monitoring or lane departure warning system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates the Lancer – the model that the Lancer Evolution is based on – with four out of five stars in all of its tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Lancer a top score of ‘Good’ in most of its tests. The only IIHS test where the Lancer got less than a ‘Good’ score was the small overlap front test, where it received an ‘Acceptable’ rating.
Standard safety equipment for the Lancer Evolution includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control; side air bags for the front seats, side curtain air bags, and a driver’s knee air bag.
This is where the Lancer Evolution really begins to fall apart. A 2015 Lancer Evolution GSR starts at $34,495, while the MR begins at $38,995. Our Lancer Evolution MR tester came in at $41,805 with an option package. It’s tough to justify the price since you can get into a similarly powerful and more refined vehicle for the same amount of money.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is very much a sports car, but it is camouflaged as a compact, four-door sedan. While the Lancer Evolution doesn’t make a lot of sense for the majority of commuters, enthusiasts should consider this car if they want a vehicle that provides the ultimate performance regardless of the conditions.