Monday, November 17, 2008

Mitsubishi Evolution X review

I wasn’t shocked to witness a crowd of Tupac wannabes hovering next to The Evolution. I was sad to see the long-list of test-drivers. Just as I began to think that I wouldn’t get a chance to drive him, the manager recognizes me and welcomes me to his cabin. He says, “Yea, we are kinda booked till 5pm this evening for test drives. But, you see there is a more powerful one which we have not yet showcased”. And, he smiles. The rest of the experience was just driving pleasure.

Okay, I shall start with a confession. I may have been wrong when I last claimed that this car would not be a looker. It is quite evident from the side trims and the frontals head-lamps that the car has been influenced by Italian styling. And, that is good. Gee, thank God, they didn’t adopt the Ssanyong styling norms. Having said that, I entered the Mitsubishi showroom after driving the unlovely STi which I am ashamed to admit expected to be good. It disappointed me to the max. As I have mentioned in my earlier review that STi was a more sensible choice for everyday driving and thrashing whereas Evo was more of a “thrash around the track” car. However, it was hard to decide between the two. But, now with their new models released the choice and I mean this, has become one-sided. Just go and buy the bloody Evo, okay?

It is quite evident that Mitsubishi does empty their complaint box by actually reading them. I recall leaving a report recommending the one factor that made STis more preferable than the Evo IX – the comfort. The new model has listened to the tri-diamond lovers and has made its’ car comfortable and thus more preferable than the Subaru. But, that’s not it. There’s more. Read on.

Not only is the Subaru ugly, it still carries its’ legacy of under steer problems. The settings in the car are so complicated but manageable though time consuming. That explains why Solberg isn’t doing well these days.

On the other hand, the Evo X GSR FQ-360 is much better looking, less complicated to set up and is comfy too. I am dumbstruck by the way Mitsubishi manages to manufacture new Evolution models which are literally generations away and better than their prior one. I mean, how do they do that? And, there is another thing. Most car manufacturers make quicker versions by subjecting their cars through a diet. However, Mitsubishi has gone the other way of the scale this time.

The Evo X is approximately 110kilos heavier and is still as quick as their predecessors (actually, only 1-2 seconds slower than the older ones). No, you are wrong. The displacement is still a 1998cc, power – 360hp @ 6500revs, torque – 492nm @ 3500revs. Yes, a comparatively sluggish start is evident but the top speed blows your mind away; thanks to the slight increase in torque. It still hits 100ks in around 5.5 seconds.

It is not only the comfort complaint that Mitsubishi responded to. I mentioned in my earlier review of the Evo that once the road got bumpy, the handling did get slightly dodgy. For this, the sensei’s have installed a 25mm longer wheelbase and 30mm wider track. The handling is further tightened by the Super All-Wheel Control system (S-AWC) that combines the stability control and the active central differential. The more stiffened suspension with dampers has made the handling very much sharp. Here’s a visual perspective of the affect of this change – in the earlier Evo, the vehicle would never let go of the road however quick and tilted the turn you drive into that at times the car would be on three wheels. In this one, the three wheel occurring is avoided by the above mentioned features. Just as I began to conclude that this is the best Mitsubishi could make the Evo, they come up with something more amazing. The grip of this machine is just staggering.

For the ones who are wondering about the “stiffened suspension” – do not conclude this car to be less comfortable as their older brothers. There are settings provided in the car that can reduce the stiffness which actually makes the car suitable for long drives where comfort is a key issue.

The electronic stability control which straightens the mad car too has options. You can choose to be aided by it or completely unaided which leaves you responsible for the car and your fate. The other setting disables the stability control but offers brake assistance. So, basically you can train yourself on this car.

The option of a 6-speed Twin clutch sports shift transmission (TC-SST) is quicker than the 5-speed manual. Yes, I am aware that a manual gear is always a drivers’ choice. But, think again. The gear-shifting is similar to that of the DSG gearbox available on Audis. The response time boggles your mind.

Again, there are three settings for the gear-box as well. One offers a slow gear change for the normal driving conditions. The second option is tad quicker and the third one is strictly for the race track. The gear box ensures the engine to be consistently running on the power band and pulls the car till 6000revs. Yes, it actually does it unlike other cars with similar systems that compromises on revs.
So, there you go, the car is fatter, quick, good looking and comfy. I think it is the hi-tech revolution that makes the Evo X, the Evolution that all were waiting for. So, instead of buying the cheaper STi, just go and buy the bloody Evo, okay? It is justすばらしい (wonderful).

Copyright © Ajey Padival 2007 (Brisbane, Australia; +61-434360675;

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