Climb Dance revisited

vatanen

This weekend is another one of those bucket list times for me. Tomorrow morning, way too early, I am boarding a plane and heading to Colorado to cover the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. Yup, I’m heading to the Race to the Clouds! Gonna be epic.

I’ll be there with the nice folks from Mitsubishi to learn about their new electric racer. It will be very interesting to see how this Electric Modified class performs.

To get myself a little bit fired up, I thought I would delve into the wayback machine and bring up the classic Climb Dance video that features rally legend Ari Vatanen’s record run up the hill in 1985, flying the wicked Peugeot 405. I still love the bug splat!

Notice that the road is still mostly gravel at this point. In recent years it has been paved to prevent erosion and make the Sierra Club happy.

Mitsubishi Evo Making Its Final Lap

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR TouringIt is with a heavy heart that I must report that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X’s production run is about to come to an end, with planned replacement. Our friends at Autoblog reported today that while no official end date has been named, Mitsubishi said the end is coming. This news is bittersweet for us North Americans, who for years jealously watched the Evo, well, evolve as a technological tour de force on the international rally circuit-especially those of us in Canada and New England where rallying actually has an audience. We begged for this car, and enthusiasts rejoiced when Mitsubishi finally green-lighted the car for these shores.

And what we got was an awesome, but also flawed car. Performance was, simply put, exceptional. The handling was unbelievable. By that, I mean one of the best handling cars I have ever driven. The steering? Kinetic. Instant. Brake feel also ranks as one of the best out there. Needless to say, acceleration and the sound from the engine room all conspired for what amounted to a tremendous amount of fun. The perfectly sized steering wheel, aluminum pedals and super supportive Recaro seats were a delight to sit on, see and touch, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the Evo’s metal shift paddles were the best I have seen in a production car. Even if I wasn’t in manual mode, I’d find myself touching them. Ok, I admit, that makes me sound a little weird, but sit in an Evo and you will understand.

Yes, the car came from econobox beginnings, and looking around the interior, the hard plastics and bland design served as constant reminders. Trunk space was pathetic, and positively inexcusable for a modern compact car. Terrible fuel economy and a tiny fuel tank make for frequent trips to the pump. Have you seen the TV commercial of the guy who walks into a gas station/convenience store to the song ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’ from ‘Cheers’? The ad is for a Chevy Cruze diesel, but I am guessing the song is for the local Evo owner.

But once you slip into that Recaro seat, you forgive the Evo of all its sins, because driving it is just that good. I drive a new car every week, but still, my one drive in an Evo on Connecticut’s Route 66 stands out as one of my favorite drives in years. Sure, my wife and son enjoyed the gorgeous scenery of rural Connecticut and the tunes from XMSirius satellite radio, but the fun I was having behind the wheel is immeasurable. The Evo is one of those rare cars that just begs to be driven. A car where you look for an excuse to leave the house, and always wanting to take the long way home.

With the loss of the Evo, our automotive world will be a little less fun. But, the car business is cut throat, and Mitsubishi is a minnow here in a shark tank. Yes, the Evo was an enthusiast favorite and served as the brand’s halo car, but the reality is Mitsubishi is making more money selling crossovers, and wants to allocate more of their resources to EV’s. The bottom line was, as harsh as it may sound, the Evo stopped making sense for Mitsubishi. The company pulled out of the World Rally Championship years ago. Subaru is introducing an all new WRX, and Mitsubishi simply has no answer. When the last generation WRX went on sale as a softer version of itself, and in hatchback form only, I found a college friend of mine traded his old WRX in for an EVO. When I asked him why, he said he was disappointed Subaru no longer offered the WRX as a four door sedan. So he just bought an Evo instead. And before you give me the ‘Oh, Americans always prefer sedans’ stereotype, I’ll have you know he’s British. When he told me of this, and knowing the WRX had sort of gone soft, I wondered if Mitsubishi would capitalize on this. Then I recalled that I once sat in his dorm room while he chomped on dried seaweed, so my friend may fit in a peculiar demographic. Subaru heard the outcries from their fans, and quickly addressed them. They made the WRX more intense, and finally delivered a four door version. And for us, the new WRX is our our own rally monster car available to us once the Evo vanishes from dealer lots. It was a hell of a ride, but I swear I will never forget my Evo trip on Route 66. And that is what makes a car great. Thank you, Mitsubishi, for giving us a taste.

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring

 

Review: 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer SEIf you’re a car guy, you most likely are fascinated with the ultra-hyper Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Lord knows I am, and even though it’s been a couple of years since I had the pleasure of driving one, I still have fond memories of carving up Connecticut’s Route 66 on a gorgeous summer’s day. It’s a given the EVO is highly desirable among gearheads and gamers. But, what about the car that beast is actually based on? The car most buyers actually buy? A regular, plain jane, Lancer. It was The Garage’s turn to find out.

The current Lancer has been around since 2008, essentially rendering it a dinosaur against its competition. Fortunately, the Lancer has been blessed with stylish, tasteful looks that defy the test of time. The slight forward leaning of the front end recalls classic BMW’s, and the slanted styling treatment of the head and tail light clusters are distinctive, and add character in an otherwise banal class of cars. The character line ripping up just shy of the door handles on the side profile is also a sporty touch. She may be the oldest design in its class, but she still looks terrific after all these years.

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer GT TouringTime has not been so kind to the interior of the Lancer. Given the intensity of the EVO, I was willing to forgive a lot of shortcomings. With the pedestrian Lancer, not so much. It’s disappointing that Mitsubishi was able to craft such an attractive exterior, yet come up with a completely uninspiring interior. All black, all dark, and hard plastics prevail. All controls are easy to decipher and intuitive to use. At 6′ 1″, I had plenty of room and was fairly comfortable, but I’m not sure if I’d pick the Lancer for a long trip. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel was a disappointment, and the trunk size is pathetic. It’s by no means an econo-box cabin from the 1980’s, but the Lancer’s peers offer much more refinement for the same money.

The Lancer is offered with a choice of two engines. Lesser Lancers come equipped with a 2.0L four cylinder rated at 148hp, and is available with a five-speed manual or a CVT. Step up to SE or GT trim, you get a 2.4L four good for 168hp. The GT can also be had with either the manual or CVT, but our test car was an SE, which is all-wheel drive, and can only be had with the CVT. And that’s a shame. Our Lancer packs a lot of horsepower for its class, but the godawful Continuously Variable Transmission sucks the soul out of the car. Passing is slow, and all the rough engine racket that accompanies it makes for a less than pleasant driving experience. Naturally, the Lancer handles well, since she is the basis of the almighty EVO, but this drivetrain takes all the fun out of driving. If you want affordable all-wheel drive fun, Subaru offers its Impreza with a manual tranny.

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer SEThe Lancer is available in DE, ES, SE and GT trims. Our test car was the all-wheel drive SE. Standard equipment includes side sill extensions, roof rack plug in roof rack accommodation, 16″ alloys, heated seats, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD radio, 6.1″ color touch screen display, rearview camera, and Bluetooth connectivity. Our test car added the Premium Package, which includes a power moonroof, 9 speaker Rockford Fosgate audio, and leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. All in, our Lancer has an MSRP of $22,940USD, including destination charges. For what you get, this is a fairly reasonable price.

So where does that leave us? In its favor, the Lancer SE offers all-wheel drive, great looks and desirable features at a fair price. However, the low-rent interior and tiny trunk make a tough case for a car for a small family. While boasting a powerful engine, the CVT seems to make a deliberate effort to sap all of the power. I’ve driven cars with much less power than our Lancer that felt far quicker off the line, and were much more fun to drive. Having driven the EVO, I know how good this chassis is, but with this engine and transmission, all that effort from Mitsubishi’s engineers are completely lost on this car. Swap in a six-speed automatic, you might give up a couple MPG, but in exchange the driving experience would be transformed. Upgrade the interior to modern standards, and Mitsubishi has a home-run with this car, but until that happens, I have a hard time recommending this car to potential buyers.

Review: 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

IMG_2264As a car journalist, I’ve had the benefit of attending the New York Auto Show for the past few years. Obviously, I go during media days, and the car companies really show their swagger. The champagne flows freely at the Bentley booth. Premium import beer and sushi abound at Infiniti, with Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 race car in plain sight. New car intros are choreographed shows in themselves, with lighting, deafening techno music that without fail makes my heart beat a few ticks faster. The feeling and experience are intense, and I never grow tired of it. All of this relentless, non-stop action takes place on the main floor of the Jacob Javitt Center in New York City, an easy walk from Times Square.

And then…there is the basement of the Javitt Center. The car companies with deep pockets keep the new cars upstairs, but they will take space downstairs to display to the public the other cars they have on offer. There is no music. No food. No celebrations. No buzz. It is nearly dead silent, a dramatic contrast to the pandemonium going on up above. Instead of auto journos, photographers and auto industry execs elbowing each other, downstairs at the Javitt consists of a handful of car company reps quietly milling about. And it is here where struggling Mitsubishi holds court. It’s actually depressing. It’s akin to attending one of the biggest bashes of the year, but opting instead to just hang out in the mud room and let everyone else have a grand time.

Which brings us to our test car, a 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, or in Canada, better known as the RVR. The Garage is no stranger to this car, having tested one when it debuted as a 2011. We walked away less than thrilled, but two years later, it was time to revisit and see if any improvement were made. Since we last reviewed the Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi added additional sound insulation, recalibrated the continuously variable transmission for better response and acceleration, updated the styling front and back, kicked in improved stereo speakers, and finally, some chassis and steering improvements.

The Outlander Sport’s strongest suit is the sheetmetal it is wrapped in. Of all the compact crossovers out there, I would argue the Outlander Sport is one of the best looking out there. It is sporty and distinctive. Our test car was finished in an utterly luxurious Mercury Grey offset by 18″ chrome alloys. I normally detest chrome wheels, but in this application, Mitsubishi opted for a sort of near matte chrome finish, and the look is classy, not crass. Pronounced fender flares, creased hood and forward leaning front fascia lend an all-business, no nonsense look to the Outlander Sport. In a sea of me-too crossovers that have the character and personality of a bowl of oatmeal, the Outlander Sport is a refreshing alternative.

IMG_2272Inside, however, things are not quite as exciting. To be fair, controls are easy to use, and fairly intuitive. But the interior design is rather uninspiring. Black plastic is the main theme here, and it comes off as hard and cheap. The light tan perforated leather seats helped to lighten the mood, but given the daily abuse families subject their cars to, I imagine it will be a struggle to keep such light colored seating surfaces looking clean.

Our Outlander Sport served as our transport to Citi Field in New York City to watch the New York Mets play the Philadelphia Phillies. And this is where the Outlander Sport went all wrong. Before I even left the driveway, the car’s GPS would not recognize the address of Citi Field, one of the most beautiful major League Baseball parks in America. So I entered just the street name, which got us completely lost. The GPS was hopelessly slow in responding to changes, and kept changing its mind on a whim. We finally just whipped out our Android to get to the park. So instead of enjoying a hot dog at the Shake Shack, I was arguing with the Mitsu’s GPS, nevermind the growing frustration of my passengers. Slightly cramped quarters in the back seat and surprisingly limited cargo capacity did not help.

All Outlander Sports get their motivation from a 2.0L four rated at 148hp. A five speed manual is available on the front wheel drive base model only. All other models are equipped with a CVT, which is a real killjoy and really makes me question why Mitsubishi had the nerve to even suggest ‘Sport’ in the name of this car. The Outlander Sport is lethargic in spite of its small size. There is nothing at all sporty about it handling, braking, or steering. In the madness of I-95 from Connecticut to New York, the Outlander Sport was slow when I needed good passing power. The whole car just felt sloppy. To make matters worse, there was a disturbing squeaking sound coming from the rear suspension once I was at highway speed. So much so I pulled over twice to inspect it. With only 3,000 miles on the clock, I honestly had doubts the car would get us home. Thankfully, it did, but suffice it say, this driver and passengers were just glad to be out of the car.

IMG_2267Our test car was the top-spec LE with all-wheel drive. Standard price for this car is $24,895USD. Standard equipment includes the 18″ alloys, aluminum pedals, power driver’s seat, paddle shifters, stop/start engine switch, auto climate control, heated front seats, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Our heavily equipped test car added the LE Premium Package featuring a panoramic glass roof with LED lighting, a nine speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, auto dimming rear view mirror and a back up camera. Heaping on Navigation, leather interior and destination charges, total MSRP rings in at $30,915. Mitsubishi has a lot of nerve to charge thirty grand for a car with such an anemic engine, cheap interior and lackluster handling.

And that is why I am so frustrated. A crossover that looks this good deserves better. The small crossover market is white hot in terms of sales, but barely simmering in terms of excitement. The Outlander Sport looks the part, but cannot deliver the goods its wrapper suggests. If you want some sport in your compact CUV, the Mazda CX-5 is the benchmark, and it is with deep regret that the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport does not even come close. And that is why Mitsubishi spent the New York Auto Show in the basement last year.

 

 

Mitsubishi Announces US Pricing for 2014 Mirage

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

Mitsubishi’s sales in the US have been, well, slow, to put it mildly. With Suzuki abandoning the US auto market completely, many wondered if Mitsubishi, with a thin dealer network saddled with cars that are not considered best in their respective classes would follow suit. And while hard core auto enthusiasts raise their glass to the glorious Lancer EVO, well, the reality is the car appeals to a very small slice of the car buying market willing to pay upward of $40,000 for a high-tech hot rod that started out as a menial Lancer. Given such humble beginnings, the EVO as a halo car has not done a heck of a lot to improve sales.

Yet given the doubts swirling the internet regarding the future of Mitsubishi on these shores, the Mirage is returning after a decade’s absence. The Mirage will be offered here in one body style, a five door hatchback. Power is to come from a 1.2L three cylinder engine rated at 77hp, paired to either a five-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission. Mitsubishi claims a CVT equipped Mirage will be the most fuel efficient non-hybrid gas powered car sold in America, with fuel estimates of 37/44 MPG city/highway. The 5-speed manual is supposed to achieve 34/42 MPG, respectively. With one of the lowest base prices for a new car in the US, let’s hope Mitsubishi’s marketing department does a proper job of getting the word out. The following is a breakdown of pricing and models:

Mirage DE: $12,995USD

Sure, at this low price you worry about safety, but the Mirage has seven airbags, active stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitor and hill start assist. Amenities include automatic climate control, keyless entry, and a rear spoiler. Oddly, there was not a word in the press release about audio equipment on either trim level.

Mirage ES: $14,195

The top-spec ES adds passive entry, stop/start engine switch, Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control, 14″ alloys, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and fog lamps.

Prices reflect a five-speed manual Mirage, going for the CVT will add an extra $1,000 to the tab. Mitsubishi will also offer a Mirage ES with Navigation and rearview camera for $16,095, but only the CVT will be the available transmission.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

Review: 2013 Mitsubishi Ralliart

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It’s hard to believe, but it has been three years since Mitsubishi introduced North America to the Lancer Ralliart. A Lancer what?, you ask? The Ralliart is sort of the middle child of the Lancer family, bridging the gap from the responsible but slightly boring base car to the manic Evo. The Garage reviewed the Sportback Ralliart,   when it debuted in 2010, which is essentially a five door hatchback Lancer. So when the opportunity arose to reacquaint ourselves with the Lancer Ralliart, we grabbed it, interested to see what has happened over time.

Well, truth be told, not much. It was disappointing to find out that Mitsubishi dropped the Sportback Ralliart in 2012 (the Sportback is still available). But apart from some minor twiddling here and there, this is basically the same car as before. It’s worth mentioning the current Lancer has been around since 2008, so this is a car that is definitely getting along in years. Thankfully, the Lancer was blessed with distinctive, handsome looks. While hardly fresh, the Lancer’s looks have aged very well. With the Ralliart’s unique front and rear bumpers, side sill extensions, subtle rear spoiler  and 18″ alloys, the car strikes the perfect balance from plainer, less sporting Lancers to the more outrageous Evo, a car whose design language is “Hey, Cop! Come and get me!”

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Sadly, the interior of the Lancer has not aged as gracefully. Plagued with an uninspired design, acres of rock hard plastics and average quality of materials, the Lancer was at a disadvantage even in 2008. I did seem to notice more soft touch plastics than before, but otherwise, Mitsubishi has not touched a thing inside the Lancer. To its credit, the Lancer has simple, easy to use controls. The seats are comfortable over long distances. You will want to plan those long distance trips carefully, as the Lancer is cursed with an inexcusable 11.2 cubic foot trunk. Packing the Lancer for a weekend in Pennsylvania required a couple tries to maximize space for my family of three. The 10″ subwoofer in the trunk did not help matters.

As before, powering the Ralliart is a 2.0L turbocharged four rated at 237hp. The sole transmission is a twin-clutch 6-speed automated manual. There were rumors Mitsubishi would add a five-speed manual to the Ralliart, but it hasn’t happened. All Ralliarts feature full-time all-wheel drive with an active center differential. The car is as quick and entertaining to drive as ever, with a run from naught to sixty in the mid-five second range. In the realities of modern driving, the Ralliart has all the power you could really use. Handling is sublime, and it is a joy to saw away at the chunky sport steering wheel. After a spirited drive, I concluded the Ralliart made me think this is what the BMW E30 M3 might be like if the Bavarians kept size and weight similar to that iconic car. Yes, it really is that fun.

While all that was good about the Ralliart remains, so are its weak points. The dual clutch Sport Tronic transmission is a joy in passing situations or when you’re pushing the car. Slugging through downtown traffic, the tranny feels lazy, shifts slow and not very gracefully. Fuel economy is poor. Even with over 500 miles of driving on the interstate, I still barely averaged 20 MPG. Combined with a tiny gas tank, get used to spending a lot of time at the pump. And since she only wants premium fuel, it can be unnerving to see how quickly the ‘miles to empty’ display drops.

A 2013 Mitsubishi Ralliart has a starting MSRP of $28, 095 USD. Standard equipment includes auto climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, aluminum pedals, color multi-information display, and Fuse, Mitsubishi’s telematics system. Options on our test car included the Ralliart Touring Package, adding a leather interior, nine speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, HID headlights, rain sensing wipers, heated front seats, power moonroof, auto dimming rear view mirror and a back-up camera. Navigation rounded out the options, bringing the total cost to $34,240, including delivery.

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To pay over $34,000 for a car whose design is old, featuring a stark interior, awful fuel economy and a miniscule trunk may be asking a lot from today’s sport sedan buyer, and likely explains why sales have been slow. While its appeal may be limited, I still believe the Ralliart is the most well-rounded car in the Lancer family. The fun to drive factor makes its faults a trivial, distant memory, but perhaps even more important is the car has charisma, personality. In a world where even the ultimate sport sedan, the BMW 3-series is being called out for becoming more isolated than it should be, the Ralliart comes off as quite refreshing. Yes, she’s a little rough around the edges, but she is honest, unfiltered, pure driving pleasure. And to a small number of enthusiasts out there, that is enough to make them open up their wallets. We get it.

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Review: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi has received criticism in the past for not offering a complete line of vehicles, but the brand has been working on that front. The latest addition is the Outlander Sport, a new small crossover. Based on its big brother Outlander, the smaller Outlander Sport is a rookie looking to fight in a very hot and highly contested market segment. Does it have the chops to take on all comers? Read on…

The Outlander Sport certainly looks the part. I am a fan of the ‘face’ of Mitsubishi cars, the leaning forward, aggressive mien looks great and seems to work well on the latest Mitsubishi vehicles. From other angles, the Outlander Sport is more anonymous in appearance, but sporty nonetheless. The side sills and rear spoiler separate the Outlander Sport from the herd as well. To sum, the Outlander Sport manages to be sporty and aggressive yet rather cleanly styled.

Unfortunately, that sporty exterior does not translate inside. While the seats were comfortable, controls and gauges simple to use and easy to understand, the interior of the Outlander Sport is simply uninspiring. Apart from a few pieces of silver painted trim, there is nothing to break up the sea of blackness. I was grateful for our test car’s panoramic glass roof, lined with LED lights, as I feared without it the cabin would be a dark and depressing place. The quality of materials was simply average. I loved the meaty steering wheel and sleek metal shift paddles, but Mitsubishi has a long way to go to sell me on the sport being inside the car too.

Which brings us to the drivetrain. All Outlander Sports share a 2.0L four rated at 148hp. A five-speed manual is standard in the base ES model. Drivers can choose between front and all-wheel drive. The top-spec SE, and all-wheel drive Outlander Sports come with a CVT. It’s a combination that offers little in the way of driving excitement. The ride was comfortable, again, never felt very sporty. This was a shock, since the handling of the Outlander GT was one of the aspects that won us over.

The Outlander is available in ES and SE trims. Our test car was an SE with all-wheel drive. Starting with a base price of $22,995USD, the Outlander Sport SE comes standard with 18″ alloys, auto climate control, heated seats, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, foglights and LED taillights. Our test car included the Premium Package, which added a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a Rockford Fosgate premium sound system, Sirius satellite radio, and a Navigation Package with rearview camera. Total price of our Outlander Sport came to $27,575, including delivery.

If I seem harsh on the Outlander Sport, I don’t mean to be-it is not a bad car. My problem is the sporty exterior promises more than the car can deliver, so it’s like you are being set up to be let down. The notion of the sporty crossover is gaining momentum. Cars like the Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman, and Kia Sportage give credence to the demand, and given such intense competition, Mitsubishi had to come in with some heavy artillery. While the Outlander Sport may look the part, dynamically it simply does not have what it takes to compete on the same level as these cars.

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2010 Mitsubishi Evo X long timer review

This is not so much of a long term test, as it is a long timer test. The lovely red Evo in the pics is a 2010 model that has been on the press fleet for a long, long time. Most press cars come off the manufacturers fleet after 10 or 12,000 km, but this poor beast has well over 25,000 on the clock. Hand the keys to a hot rod to some auto journos and they become teenage hooligans again, so those 25,000 km are probably more like 100,000 km in the hands of a loving owner.

This car has had its wheels refinished recently and yet all 4 BBS rims look like they were sourced from a scrap yard. The car has been repainted and looks like someone decided to detail it with steel wool. Overall, Journos Behaving Badly have beaten the living daylights out of this 4 door rocketship. In other words, this is the perfect vehicle to see how the Mitsubishi’s flagship stands up to the real world.

The first time I drove an Evo X (it might have even been the same car) was shortly after it was released and I was still working as a Subaru dealership Service Manager. This may surprise some of you, but I thought that the WRX Sti was just ok. Yes, it was fast, it just felt a bit too mature for the juvenile that still lurks within my soul. Getting behind the wheel of the first version of Mitsubishi’s weapon to be sold in Canada was a revelation. This was how the STi should feel. The car felt rough and raw, like a race car that isn’t happy until the driver starts to pile on the throttle. It darted around on the road on acceleration and even worse under braking, because the suspension was set up for a quicker turn in, just like a race car. Here was a car that appealed to the hoon in me.
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L’Estage and Richard win Triple Crown at Tall Pines

A couple of Rockstar's tackle Iron Bridge

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard wowed the fans today at the Rally of the Tall Pines by winning not only the rally, but also capturing the Canadian Championship. That is in addition to already having won the Rally America title and the North American championship.

Their primary rival, Nathalie’s brother Patrick Richard, had a difficult day with a flat tire and a rally ending crash on the final stage.
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Review: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring

Ah, the Evo. Let’s pause for a moment, and thank the powers that be us North Americans can finally appreciate this little beast. It was not so long ago the management at Mitsubishi saw no market for this car here. That a street version of a World Rally Championship race car would have no appeal to us. The recipe is both simple yet extraordinarily complex at the same time. Take your bland bread and butter compact, then add the most exotic technology you have access too, throw in fender flares and spoilers, and of course, a borderline insane drivetrain to rival some of the best sports cars out there, and there you have it. The Evo.

The Evo has enjoyed (or been dogged by) its reputation for being brassy, loud and obnoxious, and a little rough around the edges in comparison to its obvious rival, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Regular readers of The Garage may recall our video review of an Evo MR, and it was during that time our friends at Mitsubishi told us a more luxurious Touring model would be joining the Evo family. Naturally, we were curious. An Evo with a hint of refinement? Is this a car you can take to finishing school? Read on to find out.

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