When's it going?

Late this year, but already the performance enthusiasts are getting hot under the colour about the Evo X. It's wider, taller and heavier, but being an Evo it will be even quicker, with a new 2.0 litre engine and six-speed semi automatic transmission. The old IX is no slouch though, and still worth a look – and a drive, of course.

What's good about it?

That the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution it is a no-compromise high-performance saloon which may have come to a surprise to us in the UK. We were used to Mitsubishis being default minicabs, and raising as much emotion as the TVs and microwaves that the company also makes. However, fit a sump guard and a roll cage and, in theory, you too could throw yourself and the Evo into the Group N fray of the British National Rally Championship – and maybe win. Well at least you would feel as though you could win, because this World-Rally-Championship-winning car appealed to ordinary mortals who loved the Evo because it was easy to drive. There is no complicated learning curve like you have with most supercars, but then this is no ordinary, temperamental supercar. You sit upright in figure-hugging Recaro seats, you can see out easily, the gear-change is smooth, the throttle operates progressively and there is no doubt that you will ever run out of traction. This is a four-wheel-drive car with all sorts of clever tricks. There is no point blinding you with the acronyms that pepper the technical description but, essentially, an Evo will always go exactly where you point it. There is even an extra-high-performance version the, FQ360 with 360bhp I'll let you guess what the FQ stands for, and it isn't Fairly Quick. Unlike most supercars (it will get to 60mph in just over 4 seconds and then onto 160mph maximum) this car seats four adults and their luggage. In all, the Evo is a great-value package, with prices starting at £28,000, not much to pay for what is an iconic performance car.

What's bad about it?

Nothing, unless you thought you were buying a Lancer 1.6 Equippe. In that case you will be shocked at the group 20 insurance and the fact that every inner city toerag wants to steal your Evo. Yes running costs are high and the refinement levels are pretty low. Noisy on the motorway, rock-hard around town, but hey, this is an uncompromising full-on racing car for the road. So its only a bad thing if you hug trees or ride bikes.

How much?

You can import direct from Japan which won't necessarily be cheaper, but you can get specifications that are not available here. Meanwhile Mitsubishi is offering 37,000 miles/three years free servicing on the Lancer Evo IX until the end of September, as well as various finance deals across the range. Drivethedeal.com, a UK broker, can save you £495 on the list price of a FQ340 model, taking the price down to £33,916.

Any snags?

All examples should be under warranty or just about. What you need to watch out for are modified examples, accident damage and also stolen ones that are being sold at temptingly low prices. A full service is absolutely essential. There are no recalls for this model.


Launched: 2004

Engine size: 2.0

Performance: FQ-300 top speed 157 mph 0-60mph 4.7 seconds

Economy: 20.5 mpg

Safety: NCAP, */a

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