SUM UP (4 Stars)

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Lancer Evolution in 2013

The all-wheel-drive Lancer SE gains new aluminum wheels and an optional premium package, which includes a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, soft-touch door trim, and an upgraded audio system...
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The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution has very few changes from past model years and the car remains a popular choice among those looking for a performance car with relatively little power. In recent years Mitsubishi has elevated the rest of the Lancer line, but it is still clear that the Evolution reigns supreme. Mitsubishi brought the Lancer Evolution to the U.S. back in 2003 as it had been quite popular in foreign markets. The Lancer Evolution has long since eclipsed the Mitsubishi Eclipse as the crown jewel of the Mitsubishi lineup and the Lancer Evolution represents one of the most distinctive cars on the road. Buyers have the choice of two different trims, although they have identical four-door frames and the price differential between the two is minimal.

Exterior

The exterior of the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution certainly looks distinctive and the ultra-compact design reflects the car’s foreign roots. The pronounced spoiler in the rear and long antenna almost give the car the appearance of a remote control vehicle. Given that the car starts north of the $30,000 mark, it may deter some potential buyers that the appearance doesn’t look very luxurious, but the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution targets a relatively limited demographic anyway. The car hugs the ground with just 5.5 inches of ground clearance, which adds to its sporty appearance.

Interior & Cargo

The interior of the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is relatively underwhelming, particularly for a car at its price point. The cheap plastic interior is not especially pleasing to the eye. Drivers should spring for the optional Recaro seats, which elevate the interior. Springing for the MR trim also brings a twin-clutch gearbox. The enhanced stereo system should appeal to younger drivers. Otherwise, the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution feels like a standard subcompact car at an expensive price. The leather-wrapped steering wheel provides a nice touch, however.

Although there are rear seats, rear passengers are in for a difficult ride. With just 33.3 inches of rear legroom, only the smallest of passengers feel comfortable riding in it and long road trips should probably be avoided. The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is not designed for long drives and because the seats are not particularly comfortable rear passengers should expect some discomfort. The Lancer Evolution also doesn’t make a wise choice for those who have substantial cargo needs, as the car offers a scant 11.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Occupants in the front appreciate the generous 42.5 inches of front legroom, making it clear that the car keeps drivers in mind.

Safety

The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution offers an array of standard safety features. These include front, side, side-curtain, and driver’s knee airbags. Anti-lock brakes also provide a standard, as well as a tire-pressure monitoring system. Stability and traction control ensure a well-balanced ride and the anti-theft alarm system gives it another nice touch. Those who spring for the MR trim get rewarded with HID headlamps. The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution has not been awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, although it should be noted that the non-Evolution and Ralliart Lancers were awarded Top Safety Picks.

Driving Experience

The driving experience is the true calling card for the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Drivers have the choice between the five-speed manual of the base GSR or the six-speed manual of the MR. The difference in transmission marks the main difference between the two trims so if a five-speed is sufficient, no great need to spring for the higher trim. One of the benefits of the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is that the car offers all-wheel drive standard on both trims. Despite its compact size, it is actually a very capable car for harsh weather conditions and should appeal to those who live in harsh climates.

The major appeal to driving the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is the thrill of driving at high speeds in a relatively underpowered vehicle. Both the GSR and MR trims come with a four-cylinder, 291-horsepower engine that delivers 300 lb-ft of torque. Of course, driving at high speeds is not particularly amenable to everyday driving and this is where the performance suffers. Handling does not feel particularly smooth and drivers get subjected to immense amounts of road noise. Those with a lengthy commute or a significant amount of city driving should look elsewhere or purchase the Lancer Evolution as a complement to their everyday vehicle. However, the car manages to accelerate exceptionally fast. From a standstill, the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution goes from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

A negative to the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is that despite its small size the car receives relatively poor fuel economy, which results from the size of its engine. Drivers can expect to receive 17/23 mpg city/highway.

Key Competitors For The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer-Evolution

  • Honda Civic Si
  • Ford Focus ST
  • Subaru Impreza WRX STi
  • Volkswagen GTI R32

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