Dirge for the Mitsubish Evolution

Posted: March 3, 2011 in Rants
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So – I might have had a little to drink tonight.  Ok, maybe I’ve had a lot.  Who knows.  This is the “Charlie Sheen writes about cars” style blog, so lets do it.

First off, this won’t be an actual dirge.  Why?  Because I’m not going to sing it.  Its really more of an elegy, although I’m not going to make it poetic so lets just call it a eulogy.   My cat is currently muscling in on the keyboard and I’m engaged in a battle for dominance on par with the Soviets versus the Wermacht in Barbarossa circa 1941.

Ok, do it to it.  The Evo.  Rumors are that Mitsubish has decided to terminate this car because it no longer fits with their new brand identity.  They want to build cars that are green and focus on EV technology, not cars that originally stemmed from rallying but no longer have any rally heritage since Mitsubishi left the WRC.

So, I hear the collective scream from the fanboys (as well as the grins of glee from the flat brimmed DC hat wearing, Monster energy drinking Subaru douches).  Oh noes!  The Evo is gone forevers!  Jeez guys, where’s the sadness from the death of the Eclipse?

Nonetheless, all kidding aside, this does sadden me.  You see, the Evo is one of the best driver’s cars out there.  I’ve had the privilege of driving both the Evo IX and the Evo X, and these are serious cars.  They make very little concessions in the way of comfort or convenience.  I mean, yes, its a 4 door car with a large trunk – but that’s about all you get.  There’s minimal sound deadening and lots of drone.  The steering ratio is VERY fast – not the best wafter on the highway if you know what I mean.  The engines are quite high strung – high boost small displacement turbo fours (which make insane power if done up right).  The suspension is not soft – its not unbearable but you will feel the road.  The gas mileage is horrible.  In exchange, you get a car that goes and handles like sports cars costing far far more (although those cars are generally better as liveable, day-to-day cars than the Evo – you get what you pay for).

I’ve always thought the Evo was one of the best street cars out there – it has just the right amount of power, just the right amount of performance to be usable on a public road – the AWD helps immensely with putting the power down.  I’ve never had the joy of driving one on a track or at the autocross, although the ride along in an Evo 9 that I took was pretty terrifying – the car was three wheeling and scraping the front lip with the stock suspension in place.

That said,  I do understand the death of this car.  Its a car that caters to an extremely small amount of individuals – people who are sick in the head such as myself.  People who don’t mind horrific drone on the highway or terrible fuel economy or demolished stock clutches.  But who am I kidding – I test drove the Evo X, supposedly the softest, most refined, driver friendly Evo out there, and I still chose the GTI over it simply because the Evo was still too raw as a daily driver.  As a devoted track beast?  Perhaps – but I already have a track car that I find to be absolutely perfect and to be honest, I would still choose something like a Porsche over an Evo simply because I’m a pretentious snob – that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments or capabilities of the car in any way.

But Mitsubishi is not in the business of pleasing warped enthusiasts.  Mitsubishi is in the business of making money – and they, just as Honda, have determined that if they’re going to remain competitive in a harsh marketplace they have to abandon any pretense of sporting inclinations and focus on efficient, reliable vehicles such as brand new EVs (although I’ve already discussed how electric vehicles are just a shell game that shifts the carbon emissions from the vehicle itself back to the power plant producing the power).

The problem is that enthusiasts are being crowded out.  Honda used to be a stalwart of the enthusiast driver – then they abandoned their double wishbone suspension setup for cheaper Macpherson struts and essentially killed off any sporting cars they made, leaving the consumer with nothing but an economy car tarted up in the form of the Civic SI, or the CRZ, which is supposed to be the second coming of the CRX, except that with 24 years of technology and progress, the modern car doesn’t deliver any more performance or any better fuel economy.

So, enthusiasts are left with the Mustang and Camaro as the budget options – but not everyone wants to grow a mullet.  The alternative is to hand in one’s testicles and purchase a Mini Cooper or Mazda Miata.  Every current attempt at a “performance” EV or hybrid has failed miserably (Accord V6 Hybrid, CRZ, Tesla Roadster).  History is repeating itself – we were in this position immediately following the last gas crisis of the 70s when we were left with 180 hp Corvettes, 4-cylinder Mustangs and emissions choked Ferraris.

I don’t know – this should upset me more but I don’t really care – all the cars I want were built before 1995 anyways.  Perhaps its just the booze that’s blunting my rage.  I’m going to sleep.

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Comments
  1. LS1RX7owen says:

    Wait, “enthusiasts are left with the Mustang and Camaro as the budget options” and that sit? Hey, what about the Subaru WRX, STI, the Hyundai Genesis coupe, the BMW 1series or the Nissan 370Z if someone is so hell bent on a brand new car? All of those are viable options, its not like the Evo owned the market for corner carving car maniacs. But awesome write-up without a doubt and I couldnt have said it better about Honda, what a dismal offering from them currently.

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