Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X saloon (2008-2012)
"The Mitsubishi Evo X is outrageously fast and one of the most extreme driver’s cars on the road today."
- Jaw-dropping acceleration
- Masses of grip around corners
- You'll be noticed
- Hugely uncomfortable suspension
- Outrageous running costs
- Cabin quality is shamed by most superminis
The Evolution X is the latest in a long line of extreme saloons that draw their technology and inspiration straight from the World Rally Championship. It’s based on the standard Lancer saloon, but gets four-wheel drive and a raft of hi-tech electronics to turn it into a four-door supercar. The ‘X’ signifies that the latest car is the tenth incarnation of the Evolution line, while version names begin with an ‘FQ’ and the number that follows denotes the power output in bhp, ranging from FQ300 to FQ360. All cars are outrageously fast, while the FQ360 will beat most supercars in the 0-62mph sprint, taking just 4.1 seconds. That speed comes compromises, though: the Evo X isn't comfortable at all, and the fuel and servicing costs might bankrupt you.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Evolution X’s small fuel tank and insatiable appetite for petrol will have you on first name terms with everyone at your local filling station. The FQ300’s quoted 27.4mpg combined economy is achievable, but then you wouldn't be using any of the car's performance, which would defeat the object of owning it. All models have short service intervals of 5,000 miles, and they all sit in the highest insurance group.
Engines, drive & performance
The Evolution X is as close to a competition rally car as you’ll find on the road. It comes with four-wheel drive and an arsenal of hi-tech electronic driver aids that mean it sticks like Velcro when taking corners at high speed. All versions dish out the sort of acceleration that will pin you back into your seat, too. It’s not quite driving Nirvana, though. Despite the supercar pace, there’s not much feedback from the steering and the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine sounds flat.
Interior & comfort
Even though the tenth generation is regarded as the most comfortable Evo for years, the cabin still vibrates over bumps as if the suspension and tyres are made of granite. There’s an unrelenting hardness about the Evo X that seriously compromises its ability to be used on a daily basis. The engine makes an unpleasant drone at motorway speeds, rather than the rousing roar you might expect. The whole cabin smacks of cheapness, too; it's made from the sort of hard, hollow plastics you’d expect on a car one fifth of the price. Finally, while the figure-hugging front seats keep you in place during hard cornering, there’s no height adjustment, and the steering wheel lacks adjustment for reach, too.
Practicality & boot space
While the Evolution X is spacious enough to be day-to-day family transport, the boot is quite small and a sub woofer speaker for the stereo takes up space. What’s more, the rear seats don’t fold to create more room. The thick front bucket seats eat into rear knee room, so adults and kids in car seats might feel short on space.
Reliability & safety
The high power output of the engine means keeping it well maintained and serviced is absolutely essential, although it will prove reliable. And despite the low-rent feel of the cabin, the car does feel built to last. Euro NCAP hasn’t tested it, but the basic Lancer scored an impressive five-star rating overall. Every Evo X has a tracking device, alarm and engine immobiliser fitted as standard.
Price, value for money & options
Few cars can match the Evolution X for outright performance at the price. However, there are a number of far better built and equipped (and more prestigious) cars for the same price - and plenty of them are quick. For example, the FQ360 is a similar price to the BMW 335i, which offers a far more rounded package. The Evolution X offers better value lower down the range. An FQ300 or FQ330 is nearly as fast, while both of these models is available with Mitsubishi’s SST twin-clutch gearbox.