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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII Review

A Road Rally Champion for the Street

A side view of a yellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

In short: It doesn't get much more fun than this.

Road rally racing is not a much appreciated sport in the U.S., but in Europe and other parts of the world it's quite a different affair. In fact, winning that Championship is a prime target for manufacturers, as it will help sales.

An interior view of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII The other by-product of competition is technological innovation. A few years after these developments take place, consumers are able to benefit from this racing experience and drive better cars and certainly more fun ones, as in the case of the Evo. The famous Monte Carlo Rally featured Minis, Porsches, Alpine Renaults and Lancias. Later, the invincible Audi Quattros, R5 Turbos and hyper-developed Peugeots came onto the circuit. These days, the Championship is dominated by Subarus, Peugeots, Fords, Citroens and Mitsubishis. Hence the Evolution VIII.

True, it's not a car for everyone but a car everyone should test-drive. It's an outstanding value for the performance package it offers, but there are no extras luxuries here. And if you drive the car the way you are supposed to [and don't get in trouble with the law] it might not be the most quiet and comfortable ride out there. You could easily test any high performance—and high priced—sports car at the traffic light and give them a pretty good run. Not only is the acceleration with the twin-water-intercooled turbos rocket like, but you'd also be hard pressed to find a better handler. The best thing about it is that your insurance won't be crazy and you have four doors and a full trunk. Going to the grocery store has rarely been more fun.

Read a review of the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR
and the 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Front and rear views of a yellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

Warranty/Service: Three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty; five-year/ 60,000-mile powertrain warranty; seven-year/100,000-mile rust perforation warranty.

Price as tested: $29,500

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 2.0-liter turbo; 271 hp

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Safety: dual front airbags; anti-lock braking

Top Speed: 125 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds

Braking: 60-0 mph in 117 ft

Fuel Economy: 18 mpg city;
26 mpg highway

Handling: MacPherson struts, forged lower control arms, coil springs, tube shocks, and anti-roll bar in front. Multi-link with forged aluminum links, coil springs, tube shocks, and anti-roll bar in rear.

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Photography: Walter Mladina

(Updated: 01/30/09 SV)

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