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William Maley

Review: 2015 Mitusbishi Lancer Evolution MR

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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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      EPA rates the 2018 Land Cruiser and LX 570 at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average in both vehicles landed around 14.9 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.
      Ride and Handling
      These SUVs prefer the roads to be straight as there is significant body motion when cornering. Blame the tall ride height and soft-suspension tuning. Steering feels very numb and slow, making it somewhat tough to figure out how much input is needed when turning. When the road is straight, both vehicles provide a smooth ride. I did find that on the highway, I needed to make constant corrections with the steering to keep it in the middle of the lane.
      One major difference between the two is braking. The LX 570’s braking system felt very discombobulated. It was very difficult to modulate the pedal to provide a smooth stop. Either the vehicle wasn’t slowing down or the braking system would enter panic stop mode and passengers being thrown from their seats. I thought this was an issue that was limited to my LX, but other people who have driven different LXs have reported similar behavior. The Land Cruiser didn’t experience any of this during my week.
      Value
      The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser begins at $83,665, while the LX 570 begins at $85,630 for the two-row variant and $89,980 for the three-row model. Both models come generously equipped with a number of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats; power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, and three-zone climate control. The vehicles tested here came lightly optioned. The Land Cruiser featured a set of optional floor mats, bringing the as-tested price to $85,185. For the LX 570, it came with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and center console cool box to bring its as-tested price to $93,350.
      The best value of the two models has to be the two-row LX 570 as you get a nicer interior and more cargo space, for not much more money than the three-row Land Cruiser. But if you really want three-rows, then the Land Cruiser is your best bet.
      Verdict
      Unless your daily commute includes traversing the Rocky Mountains or driving through Death Valley, I cannot recommend either of these SUVs. They have a number of flaws such as middling fuel economy, small cargo area, and needing constant steering corrections on the highway. But the LX 570 comes off slightly worse as it has some issues with the powertrain and brakes need to be addressed quickly. Besides, the Land Cruiser offers many of the features of LX 570, albeit in a more utilitarian package for a couple of grand less.
      But for some people, the off-road capability and legendary reliability of these two models are more than enough to excuse the faults. That group of people though we have to think is getting smaller as time goes on and makes us wonder if the next-generation of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 will go through a dramatic change or not.
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
      Base Price: $89,980
      As Tested Price: $93,350 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Cool Box - $170.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Land Cruiser
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 381@ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
      Base Price: $83,685
      As Tested Price: $85,185 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpet Floor/Cargo Mat Set - $225.00
    • By William Maley
      The Hyundai Elantra GT has always stood apart from its sedan counterpart due to its European roots. This is most apparent in terms of handling where the hatchback felt slightly sharper than the sedan. Hyundai’s U.S. office has once again called on the European office to source a new Elantra GT hatchback. The model known in Europe as the i30 has been said to be a viable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf by automotive writers. Does that hold true in terms of the U.S.?
      Hyundai’s designers took a page out of the Golf’s playbook when it comes to the exterior. It may not have the excitement or sharp design traits of other compacts, but the Elantra GT’s shape is very classy. The front end features Hyundai’s new hexagonal grille shape and deep cuts in the bumper for the fog lights. The side profile features a large area of glass to help the interior feel airier and a set of 18-inch wheels with black center caps. The rear has a crease running along the rear tailgate and a dual exhaust system.
      My first impression of the Elantra GT’s interior was, “this is more interesting to look at than the Elantra sedan”. The dash design is clean with sculpting along the passenger side to provide some visual differentiation. Sport models feature red accent trim around the vents and stitching on the seats to give off the impression of sportiness. Material quality is average for the class with an equal mix of hard and soft-touch materials. Passengers sitting up front will find controls to be in easy reach and the seats offering adequate comfort. Taller passengers sitting in the back will be complaining about the minuscule amount of legroom. With the driver’s seat set in my position, I found my knees were almost touching the back of it. The Elantra GT’s cargo space is towards the top of the class with 24.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.1 cubic feet when folded.
      All Elantra GT’s get Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system housed either in a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen mounted on top of the dash. Our tester came with the larger 8-inch screen with navigation. Hyundai’s BlueLink system is one our favorite infotainment system with an easy-to-understand user interface, physical shortcut buttons around the screen, and snappy performance. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard and bring more capability to BlueLink.
      Under the hood of the Elantra GT Sport is a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine you’ll find in the Elantra Sport and Kia Soul !. A six-speed manual is standard, but the model seen here had the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The first couple of days driving the Elantra GT Sport was somewhat of a disappointment. The throttle felt very sluggish, not letting the turbo engine provide a rush of power. Not helping was the transmission which was focused more on upshifting quickly, along with stumbling with gear changes at low speeds. But I soon figured out that putting the vehicle into Sport mode makes the vehicle much more lively. The throttle loosens up and allows the engine to exploit its full potential. The transmission seems to hold on to gears slightly longer to allow for improved performance. My hunch is that the standard drive mode is actually an eco mode to maximize fuel economy. I would like to see Hyundai add a separate eco mode and have the standard driving mode be a balance of eco and sport.
      In terms of fuel economy, the Elantra GT Sport is rated at 26 City/32 Highway/28 Combined with the DCT. My average for the week landed around 27 mpg with a 60/40 mix of city and highway driving.
      The Elantra GT Sport’s handling is Hyundai’s best effort to date. Sport models swap the torsion beam rear suspension found on the standard GT for a sport-tuned multilink setup. This swap makes the Elantra GT quite nimble in the corners with little body roll and feels poised. Steering provides decent weight when turning. The sporty setup does mean the Elantra GT Sport has a compliant ride with more road imperfections being transmitted. Not much wind noise comes inside, but a fair amount of road noise does.
      The Elantra GT Sport is so close to being a viable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. It offers a clean exterior look, well-equipped interior, spacious cargo area, and impressive handling characteristics. But the programming of the standard drive mode dents the appeal of the Sport, making it feel less ‘sporty’. Hopefully, Hyundai has some plans to tweak the drive mode programming and dual-clutch transmission. 
      Hyundai has an agreeable compact hatchback in the form of the Elantra GT Sport. But we think given a little bit more time and work, it could be one of the best.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Elantra GT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Elantra GT
      Trim: Sport A/T
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed dual-Clutch
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 ~ 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/32/28
      Curb Weight: 3,155 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $24,350
      As Tested Price: $29,210 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sport Tech Package - $3,850.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00

      View full article
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