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    Review: 2015 Mitusbishi Lancer Evolution MR


    • The Last Samurai


    The end of an era is upon us. After this year, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will be no more. The model which was first introduced back in 1992 for the Japanese marketplace, was a technological tour-de-force with a turbocharged four-cylinder, all-wheel drive, and a limited slip differential. From there, Mitsubishi would introduce a number of new technologies such as traction control, YAW control, and a dual-clutch automatic. But Mitsubishi hasn’t done much with the Lancer Evolution in the past few years, instead changing its focus to electrics and crossovers. So before the Lancer Evolution heads up to the great parking lot in the sky, we decided to say farewell by driving an MR for a week.

     

    As the name suggests, the Lancer Evolution is based on the Lancer compact sedan. Not a bad place to start since the Lancer is a distinctive looking sedan, despite being the oldest design in the class. From there, Mitsubishi makes some changes with a new grille and hood to improve cooling of the engine. The side boasts new skirts and a set of multi-spoke, lightweight BBS wheels. Towards the back, Mitsubishi fits a rear diffuser and twin exhaust system. MR models get a small lip spoiler on the hood. Those wanting the big wing will need to go with the base GSR model. These changes make the Lancer Evolution a standout in the Mitsubishi lineup.

     


    2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR 14


    Moving inside, you can’t help but feel massive disappointment. The Evolution has the same problems as the standard Lancer with cheap feeling and looking plastics throughout the material. You can’t help but question why anyone would spend almost $40,000 if it includes materials like this. At least Mitsubishi did use some better materials on the door panels and fitted a set of Recaro bucket seats up front. The bucket seats provide the right amount of bolstering to keep you and your passenger locked in when driving. The back seat is best used for emergencies as space is very much at a premium.

     

    No matter which trim of the Lancer Evolution you decide to get, it will come with a 6.1-inch touchscreen and Mitsubishi’s FUSE hands-free system, which allows an owner to connect their Bluetooth phone and/or USB device to the vehicle and control them via voice command. I found this system to be somewhat hit and miss as it doesn’t always recognize what you’re saying, even if you are doing it as clear and concise as you can. The touchscreen system is not the most responsive and the interface looks like it came from the Windows 3.1 era.

     

    See the next page for thoughts on the powertrain and handling.


     

    Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. On my MR tester, a six-speed twin-clutch SST - Mitsubishi speak for dual-clutch automatic - gets all of the power to the wheels. Those who want to feel like they are a part of the machine will want to go for the base GSR model as it gets a five-speed manual. Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) gets the power to the road and includes a drive selector mode which changes various settings to provide the best traction for whatever condition you find yourself driving in.

     

    The engine likes to be worked, especially out on a nice bit of curvy road. Step on the accelerator and the power comes on instantly. More impressive is the engine doesn’t seem to lose any of the oomph as it climbs higher in the rev range. The transmission is lightning quick with shifts, and allows the driver to shift via aset of paddles behind the wheel.

     


    2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR 11


    But when you decide to drive the Lancer Evolution on daily basis, it falls apart. The dual-clutch transmission seems very confused at low speeds and gives very clunky shifts. I found that if I left a stop with the transmission in second gear, some of these problems were alleviated. But the biggest problem for the Lancer Evolution’s powertrain is fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2015 Lancer Evolution MR at 17 City/22 Highway/19 Combined. I got an average of 17 MPG for the week.

     

    As for the ride and drive, Mitsubishi fits a set of stiffer dampers and springs to improve cornering. You’ll also find a set of massive Brembo brakes to help bring the Lancer Evolution to a short stop. Much like the engine, the suspension shines when driven hard on a curvy piece of tarmac. There is no sign of body lean when cornering, and the steering provides excellent feel and weight. Paired with the all-wheel drive system that provides tenacious grip, the Lancer Evolution feels like it's on rails.

     

    However, the warts show up when driving the model on a daily basis. The suspension doesn’t have much give and makes any road aside from a smooth one feel like a rutted gravel road. The steering is quite heavy at low speeds, making parking quite the interesting experience. Finally, don’t expect the Lancer Evolution to provide a quiet ride. Road and wind noise are very much apparent.

     

    The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a difficult car to recommend for most people as the list of negatives is quite long. But for enthusiasts, it should be on the list as there isn’t anything like the Lancer Evolution: a sports car wearing the clothing of a four-door compact sedan.

     

    It’s sad to see to the Lancer Evolution go away. But Mitsubishi should be proud of what they were able to do with it, and keep that in mind when they decide to revisit this idea.

     

    Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Lancer Evolution, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Mitsubishi
    Model: Lancer Evolution
    Trim: MR
    Engine: Turbo 2.0L DOHC MIVEC Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Dual-Clutch Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 291 @ 6500
    Torque @ RPM: 300 @ 4000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/22/19
    Curb Weight: 3,571 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Kurashiki, Japan
    Base Price: $38,995
    As Tested Price: $41,805 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Touring Package - $2,000

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    Still, hate to say I am going to miss it.....

     

    I am as well. For all the problems it had, I'm glad I the opportunity arose for me to drive it. 

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    I think time has passed this car by. Or perhaps Mitsubishi's lack of investment in it. But 10 years ago the Lancer was making near 300 HP, which was like Mustang V8 power. 300 HP was a lot in 2005, and all wheel drive grip wasn't common either in sports cars. The performance level was huge compared to other 2005 sedans under $40k.

    Fast forward to today and a lot of cars have all wheel drive and 270 HP, you can get an A4 or ATS for $40k. The Lancer Evo sat still, the world has passed it by.

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    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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