THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR sports sedan.
DOWN THE ROAD: This rally-inspired and bred car is all about performance. The 2.0-liter engine may seem small but it packs a punch that is plentiful to propel the nearly 3,500-pound car to its destination. Navigating sharp turns and corners with confidence, this Lancer exhibits a keenness to change directions instantly at every turn of the wheel.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A turbocharged inline-4 cylinder cranks out 291 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 300 pounds-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. It is mated to a distinct 6-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission with a choice of Normal, Sport and S-Sport modes. The car essentially can be driven like a manual but without the need for a clutch. The hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion steering is spot on. Front and rear suspension each gets Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers as well as stabilizers. Braking is handled by 13.8-inch front ventilated discs with four-piston calipers and 13-inch rear discs with two-piston calipers. And did we say the sedan is equipped with a solid all-wheel-drive system?
LOOK & FEEL: Up front, the flared fenders, bright grille bezel, aluminum hood with functional air intake and extractor vents for engine heat draw stares from onlookers. An MR badge with a large rear spoiler lends credence to the car's performance-driven capabilities. Slide behind the three-spoke leather steering wheel and you will be ensconced in spacious Recaro seats with leather bolsters and suede-type surfaces. The trip computer display sandwiched between the round tachometer and speedometer gauges, will come in useful during a long jaunt. Other standard amenities include a keyless access and start, dual front cup holders, center console with armrest storage, height-adjustable driver's seat, automatic air-conditioning and a wireless cell phone link.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, driver's-side knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control, adjustable rear headrests, rear limited slip differential, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
OUT THE DOOR: $38,290, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/40R18; wheelbase, 104.3 inches; length, 177 inches; weight, 3,517 pounds; fuel capacity, 14.5 gallons; city, 17 mpg; highway, 22 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: The performance-oriented sports sedan is fun, agile and a hoot to drive. We believe a warning is pertinent here. Just tread lightly on the gas pedal so you stay out of trouble on the roadways.