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2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution  IX Special Edition

The Good :)  Power. Engine Sound. Track car with warranty.

The Bad :(  Old interior styling.  Low quality in body panels inside.  Rear seat is very very soft and short.

Engine 2.0L 4CYL Twin Turbocharged
Output 286 hp / 289 lb-ft
Top Speed 150 mph
0-60 mph 5 sec
Weight 3300 lbs
Price As Tested $33,874

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Every car has its place in the marketplace.  Some cars are for commuting, some are for transporting kids to school.  Most cars try to be too many things and please too many people, all at the same time.  Manufacturers try their hardest to turn SUV's into Sporty SUV's or luxury sedans into Sporty Sedans.  Can you truly turn a large truck or a long wheelbase luxury sedan into a sporty car?  The answer is NO.  Ask any weekend racer what it means to have a sporty car and they will give you a completely different answer compared to what most manufacturer's tell us is a sporty vehicle.  There are only a few cars on the market today and even fewer, maybe only two or three, which cost under $35K, that offer true performance characteristics similar to cars used on race tracks. 

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX is one such car.  It brings pure raw performance, without the fancy bells and whistles, to the common man.  Mitsubishi has taken the best aftermarket performance parts and integrated them into a package that is sold directly through a new car dealer.  Rarely have people been able to go and buy a car from the dealer that features the same aftermarket products they would buy from tuner shops like Autosupermart.  The Evo features 17 inch BBS alloy wheels, Brembo 'big red' brakes, Recaro sport seats, Momo steering wheel, a turbocharged engine, lightweight aluminum body panels, sport exhaust, quick shifter, front strut tower brace, Yokohomo high performance tires and a large carbon fiber rear wing.  With all these goodies, the Evo is a blast to drive and a dream come true for any racing enthusiast.

 

The exterior of the Evo has a classic rally car design.  If you have ever watched television coverage of rally car racing in remote mountains then you know how much fun it can be.  Cars fly off dirt roads barely missing local farm animals and occasionally tumble down hillsides. A driver and navigator race on dirt roads like a skier sliding from turn to turn kicking up lots of dust.  Mitsubishi uses a slightly modified version of the Evo IX for its championship world rally car, and slightly modified is the key phrase here.  What you are getting in the Evolution model is a race car.  The Evo's front end is very aggressively styled and makes even the non-car enthusiast take a second glance.  The lower air dam has a large opening for the massive intercooler that shows through the black mesh grill.   On each side of this are oval holes that look like fog lamps but are actually air vents that suck in the much needed cool air to keep the engine at optimal temperature.   The front headlights are a one piece unit that has three circular lamps with the main HID unit tinted in a blue color.   The headlights are attractively designed and wrap around to the side fender.  The engine hood is made of aluminum and has a large mesh opening cut into its center to provide even more cooling to the twin turbochargers hiding beneath the hood.

 

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From the side profile view, the Evo continues its aggressive sporty design theme. The race car character comes from the darkened 17 inch BBS multi-spoke wheels. They are wrapped in low profile Yokohama 17 inch P235/45 high performance tires.  The lightweight BBS wheels give the Evolution IX a race car look and are of the same design used on many racing circuits around the world.  The multi-spoke design makes viewing the large red Brembo brake calipers easy. There is very little wheel gap and this makes the car appear to ride low, just like a true rally car.  For any racing enthusiast, they will instantly appreciate the high quality performance parts used on the EVO, from the BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, to the large Carbon fiber wing on the back lid.  Yes the Evo features a hard-to-miss rear wing that sits 8-inches high from the deck lid and is almost 8-inches wide.  The flat top portion of the wing is made of carbon fiber to be even lighter in weight. 

Subtle design elements add to the look of the Evolution IX which are best suited for in-person praise.  A beltline starts from the front wheel fender and then disappears midway and yet reappears over the rear fender.  Darkened carbon look tail lights have two red circular lights and one white backup light.  Also integrated in this one piece unit is a rectangular clear turn lens with yellow bulb, giving the Evo a very aftermarket trendy look.  The rear is large with a high and flat trunk lid.  The lower rear fender is styled beautifully in a fluid manner with circular design elements viewed when looking at the Evo directly from the tail end.  One large exhaust pipe outlet provides the growl we hear each time we turn the ignition key.

 

Inside, the Evo will make any young teenagers mouth water.  The beautiful suede/leather Recaro front sport seats are both elegant and functional.  They have large side bolters that extend almost 5-inches from the seat back, enough to keep any driver in place as they navigate back country roads.  The bottom cushion has 2-inch high side supports which hold your bottom in place without feeling like you are sitting on concrete.  The seats feature fine red stitching, leather outer trim, perforated cloth trim as you near the center and then suede trim in the inner most portion of the cushion.  The steering wheel is a sporty Momo design, which is nicely integrated with a horn button.   Try to install an aftermarket Momo steering wheel yourself; it will never look this professional.  Also featured are aluminum pedals which add to the sporty theme.

The leather wrapped gear shift knob is a small unit that has a quick shift gate pattern.  The shift motion is smooth and very precise.  This coupled with a smooth and lightweight clutch pedal makes for easy driving.  Everything comes together for the driver in the cockpit in true race car form.

If there is one thing to change, it has to be the dashboard design.  The Evo has a dated and rather flat dashboard.  The main radio head unit looks old and outdated.  It's a single CD unit that looks like one of those unites sold in Walmart.  Below this are three dials for the manual climate control system.  Temperature, direction, and fan speed dials look quite normal in this otherwise flamboyant vehicle.

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The instrument cluster features silver dials with red text on a black background.  It too is dated considering many new cars feature finely trimmed dials with chrome accents and electro-luminescent dials.  The all important RPM dial is prominently located in the center for your pleasure.  When shifting into the 8,000 rev limiter range, you feel as if you are on a fighter jet going supersonic speed. 

Below the central dash is a large opening where you can place small items which sadly will fall out when you accelerate.  Mitsubishi could have designed better center storage, knowing this would happen. In the center between the front seats are two cup holders and the E-brake. There also is a simple storage unit that is topped with suede which can hold a small camera, cell phone, and wallet. 

The rear seats have the same design theme as the front seats but are not sporty and lack any support at all.  They are probably the worst rear seats we have ever tested.  They are too short and flat, and are very soft which makes you slide forward uncomfortably.  We can tell that Mitsubishi never had anyone sitting in the back seats when testing this car.

 

 

Overall the Evo does feel light.  The doors, hood and trunk are made of lightweight aluminum which adds to the impressive driving characteristics of the car.  Even the roof panels and front fenders are made of aluminum to save on weight.  There is only one car in the market today that can truly compare to the Evo, the Subaru Impreza WRX.  While there are many other high performance cars on the road today such as BMW's M line, or Mercedes AMG Line, which all provide large horsepower and fast acceleration, they tend to be more comfortable and refined for daily driving and not as raw in their driving characteristic as the EVO.

The 2.0 Liter DOH 16 valve 4-cylinder engine produces quite a punch considering its small size.  With 286 horsepower, and 289 lb.-ft. of torque the Evo takes off with lightning speed. There are two-scroll turbochargers that not only propel this car to 0-60 in less than six seconds, but also sound like a jet taking off in the process.  In fact, the sound of the engine over 5000 RPM is intoxicating as you reach redline.  The fabulous all-wheel drive with active center differential keeps all four wheels firmly planted, even in the tightest corners.  The revolutionary Active Center Differential continuously optimizes torque delivery to the wheels that have the most traction during cornering.  You can adjust the manner in which the system reacts by way of a dash mounted switch which offers three different settings from tarmac, to gravel, to snow.  The Evo also features both front and rear limited-slip differentials. 

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The Macpherson strut suspension has inverted shock absorbers and are super firm to keep the car flat with minimum lean in turns.  In fact, the car stays flat in almost every scenario we threw at it.  It is brilliant for the track, with go cart like stability.  The Front suspension is forged aluminum which saves on weight and there is also a front tubular strut tower brace.   The steering is a power assisted quick ratio rack-and-pinion unit but we felt there was a noticeable torque steer.  This made quick take-offs and precise turns a little hard when you are above 5000 RPM.

The Evo has dual front airbags and front and rear crumple zones.  Also it features child safety locks and a latch system for child seats, though it is hard to imagine driving the Evo around town with small children in back.  There is also an anti-theft engine immobilizer, something that you may actually need if you own this vehicle.  Mitsubishi offers a 10 year /100,000 mile power train limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty.  Also included is a 5-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance plan.  The vehicle is made in Kurashiki, Japan with 100% of the parts content from Japan.  Fuel economy is rated at 19 city and 25 highway.

The 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX starts at $31,399.  With the Special Edition Package that cost $1,850, you get the front airdam extension, BBS wheels, red seat stitching, aluminum roof panels and HID lamps with fog lamps.  The total price with destination of $625 comes to $33,874.  For those seeking race car performance for track weekends or just daily driving, the Evolution is a continuation in a series that has a loyal following.  Continued modification with an upcoming new model called the Evolution X should give us something more to look forward to.

 

 

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PRICING

INVOICE

RETAIL

Base Pricing

$29,593

$31,399

Destination

$625

$625

PE   Special Edition Package

$1,619

$1,850

PC   Sun, Sound and Leather Package

$2,727

$3,120

 

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COMPARISONS 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
IX 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
2006 Subaru Impreza
WRX STI Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 Mazda MAZDASPEED MAZDA6
Sport 4dr Sport Sedan AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 MINI Cooper
S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 Audi A4
2.0T quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
MSRP $31,399 $33,495 $27,995 $21,200 $30,340
Invoice $29,593 $31,618 $25,833 $19,162 $28,143
Basic 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Roadside 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Rust 7 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders inline 4 flat 4 inline 4 inline 4 inline 4
Base Engine Displacement 2.0 liters 2.5 liters 2.3 liters 1.6 liters 2.0 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Compressor turbocharger turbocharger turbocharger turbocharger turbocharger
Horsepower 286 hp @ 6500 rpm 293 hp @ 6000 rpm 274 hp @ 5500 rpm 172 hp @ 5000 rpm 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque 289 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 290 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 280 ft-lbs. @ 3000 rpm 191 ft-lbs. @ 1600 rpm 207 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm
Driven Wheels all wheel drive all wheel drive all wheel drive front wheel drive all wheel drive
Independent Suspension four-wheel four-wheel four-wheel four-wheel four-wheel
Tires P235/45R17 W
performance
225/45ZR17 90W
performance
P215/45ZR18 93Y
performance
195/55R16 87V
all season
215/55R16 H
all season
Wheels alloy
17 x 8.0 in.
painted alloy
17 x 8.0 in.
alloy
18 x 7.0 in.
alloy
16 x 6.5 in.
alloy
16 x 7.0 in.
One-Touch Power Windows 1 1 4 2 4
Power Steering power steering speed-proportional power steering speed-proportional power steering electric speed-proportional power steering electric speed-proportional power steering
Steering Adjustment tilt-adjustable tilt-adjustable tilt and telescopic tilt and telescopic tilt and telescopic
Front Air Conditioning air conditioning automatic climate control automatic climate control air conditioning automatic climate control
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror Not Available electrochromatic electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional
Turning Circle 38.7 ft. 37.4 ft. 36.8 ft. 35.1 ft. 36.4 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 10 cu. ft. 11 cu. ft. 12 cu. ft.   13 cu. ft.
City 19 mpg. 19 mpg. 19 mpg.   22 mpg.
Highway 25 mpg. 25 mpg. 25 mpg.   31 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity 14 gal. 15.9 gal. 15.9 gal. 13.2 gal. 16.6 gal.
Length 178.5 in. 175.8 in. 186.8 in. 146.2 in. 180.6 in.
Width 69.7 in. 68.5 in. 70.1 in. 66.3 in. 69.8 in.
Height 57.1 in. 56.3 in. 56.3 in. 55.4 in. 56.2 in.
Weight 3274 lbs. 3351 lbs. 3589 lbs. 2668 lbs. 3549 lbs.
Wheel Base 103.3 in. 99.4 in. 105.3 in. 97.1 in. 104.3 in.
Front Headroom 39.9 in. 36.3 in. 38.7 in. 38.8 in. 38.4 in.
Rear Headroom 36.7 in. 36.6 in. 37.1 in. 37.6 in. 37.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room 54.1 in. 52.7 in. 56.1 in. 50.3 in. 55.1 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 53.3 in. 52.9 in. 54.9 in. 44.7 in. 53.4 in.
Front Leg Room 43 in. 42.9 in. 42.3 in. 41.4 in. 41.3 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.6 in. 33 in. 36.5 in. 29.9 in. 34.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 10.2 cu.ft. 11 cu.ft. 12.4 cu.ft.   13.4 cu.ft.

 

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