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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I-X: Buying guide and review (1992-2016)

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I-X: Buying guide and review (1992-2016) Classic and Performance Car
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One of the most trustworthy barometers against which to judge a car’s potential for future classic status is its motorsport pedigree. Countless road-going versions of World Rally Championship stars help prove the rule, and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo’s dominance through the mid-to-late nineties suggests that its values of the road-going versions are only going to creep one way. 
UK buyers often shunned the Evo in favour of the Subaru Impreza throughout the Nineties - thank the exploits of Messrs McRae and Burns for that. However, the Evo was not only more successful in competition courtesy of Tommi Mäkinen’s four consecutive WRC titles, but contemporary road tests almost unanimously agree that the Evo feels sharper and more exciting to drive than the Impreza.
The cabins may have dated horribly since their release (only sports seats and steering wheels set the Evos apart from basic Lancers) yet the driving experience feels as modern as ever.  The steering is crisp, and the suspension - particularly on earlier models - feels supple without compromising body control. Evo IV models onwards were equipped with an active yaw-sensing rear differential - by pitching the car from the rear on turn-in it further exaggerated the razor sharp feel.
Power outputs remain similar to today’s hot hatches, so ground-covering ability remains deeply impressive. Regardless of the edition, the noise from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder lump could never be considered tuneful, but its angry-sounding blare, complete with turbo whistles and pops from the exhaust, certainly brings with it a sense of urgency.

Which Mitsubishi Evo to buy?

Four distinct generations of the Lancer were used to underpin various Evo modes - as a result the most extensive changes both mechanically and cosmetically to the Evo came with the VI, the VII and the X.
First-generation Lancer Evolutions began life with 244bhp, with each subsequent model gaining a gradual increase, first up to the Japanese mandated (yet almost certainly understated) 276bhp output of the Evos IV to VI and beyond to the extreme UK-only limited run specials like the 440bhp FQ-440 MR.
Arguably the peak of the Evo line came with the VI. The first to be officially imported to the UK, it was released towards the end of Tommi Mäkinen’s reign over the WRC. It took the highly-rated V and refined details like the intercooler, engine internals and turbocharger components. The V’s enormous front spotlights were replaced for smaller units, allowing for a larger front bumper aperture to improve airflow. 
The Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition is often referred to as an Evo 6.5, thanks to the extent of the upgrades – the wheels, suspension, turbine, and steering rack were all tweaked, and a front bumper, strut brace, and front seats were all new. Optional WRC car-aping decals made it look that little bit more special from the outside.
A similar step up was made mid-generation for the VIII too. The MR was even sharper than the model which first debuted in 2003 thanks to a trick set of Bilstein dampers, BBS alloy wheels and an aluminum roof to drop the centre of gravity.
Every Evo generation is available in the pared-out RS trim specifically marketed at customers who intended to take their cars onto the rally stage. The changes vary slightly in each version, but generally include thinner window glass, the inclusion of a mechanical limited-slip differential and the removal of hefty creature comforts (electric windows, air conditioning etc). Smaller-diameter steel wheels - more suitable for gravel stages - took the place of the standard alloys.
More unusual production models to look out for include the the Evo VII GT-A - a mildly softer Evo with an auto gearbox and the option of a smaller rear spoiler (or none at all) - and the Evo IX Wagon - a big-booted alternative which all of the saloon's performance.
Evos of all ages are popular among tuners, so it’s often tricky to find an original example. If you wish to venture down the tuning route, it’s possible to extract a reliable 400bhp from intake, exhaust and ECU modifications. Above that figure, it’s likely that more serious engine and drivetrain work will be required to ensure smooth running.

Performance and specs 

Mitsubishi Evo VI GSR
Engine 1997cc inline four
Power 276bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 275lb ft @ 3000rpm
Top speed 150mph
0-60mph 4.4secs
Fuel consumption approx 23mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2510mm
Length 4350mm
Width 1770mm
Height 1415mm
Weight 1360kg

Common problems

• Such high performance cars – particularly ones which are so popular with tuners – are likely to have ed a hard life. Search for blue smoke from the exhaust – a result of oil leaking into places it probably shouldn't – damaged cylinder liners are a likely culprit. Grey smoke, meanwhile, could be a result of a damaged turbo

• Likewise, high performance and relatively affordable machines are likely to have become a little too familiar with a hedge at some point in their lives. Check the chassis legs, beneath the boot carpet and under the bonnet for any signs of crash damage/poor repairs

• Clutches can wear very quickly if driven enthusiastically. It’s not uncommon for a hard-worked modified example to go through clutches in a couple of thousand miles, though more sympathetically treated clutches will last much longer 

• Warped brake discs are a well-known issue for the Evo VI in particular - they’ll make their presence felt via juddering through the pedal.

• Regardless of the generation, very little should go wrong with the suspension. Creaks and groans are usually a result of worn bushes, and are a cheap fix

• The chassis is very sensitive to changes in geometry, so the tracking needs to be accurately configured both to get the best from the car and to minimise uneven tyre wear

• Imported cars do have the same level of rust protection as UK cars. Check the body has been undersealed, or budget for preventative work to be carried out on a fresh import. The most common places for rot are the rear chassis legs, but it’s also worth checking the floorpan in general

• Evos have a 4,500 mile recommended service interval, (and tuned models will need to be seen to more frequently), so a detailed history is important.

Model History

Oct 92: Evo I debuts
Jan 94: Evo II takes the place of the original. Power rises by 8bhp to 252bhp, and suspension geometry is revised
Feb 95: Evo III’s revisions include a more aggressive body kit and another increase in power, to 270bhp
Aug 96: Evo IV released. Gains all-new chassis, and power output now at 276bhp
Jan 98: Evo V refines the previous model, gaining revisions to the bumpers, bonnet vent, wheels, Recaro seats, a wider track, bigger brakes and tougher engine internals
Jan 99: Evo VI gains redesigned aero package, larger intercooler and tougher pistons
Dec 99: Special edition Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition debuts, sharpening up the VI courtesy of chassis bracing, a quicker steering rack and new alloy wheels
Mar 01: Evo VII debuts an all-new platform. Active centre differential allows drive to be tweaked according to road surface, and changes to the 2.0-litre engine boosts torque
Jan 03: The Evo VIII replaces the VII with a more aggressive body kit and tougher Bilstein dampers
Mar 05: Evo IX ups power to an official 287bhp courtesy of variable valve timing and a revised turbo
Oct 07: Evo X sits upon a completely changed chassis, and the 2.0-litre engine is all new

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.lancerregister.com
• www.c1-r.co.uk

Summary and prices

Evo models from I through to V remain fairly affordable at the moment, with condition, mileage and the level of modification varying their values from anywhere between £5000 to £10,000. Sixes are marginally pricier, particularly Makinen editions - the cleanest examples fetch up to £20,000
Evo IX and X models, as the most recent (and in the case of the UK-only FQ models, among the rarest) are the priciest, with typical prices standing around £25-£30,000.
As long as tuning work has been carried out by reputable specialists, tweaked Evos are often worth more than original cars with an equivalent mileage. However, the money spent on modifications isn’t recouped in the total value of the car, so there’s less of an incentive to carry out work yourself - search for ready-fettled models from respected specialists instead.

Words: Alex Ingram
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Last updated: 14th Sep 2016
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Mitsubishi Lancer
9995 25194 GBP
  • MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION X GSR SST FQ300 2008 Auto 36700 Petrol Black

    £16,995 £16,995

    Viewing by appointment on this one. Very recent AYC pump repair (common issue at a cost of GBP 921.79) at a reputable specialist, also had a major engine and gearbox service and plenty of prior servicing recorded. Also 4 brand new Toyo tyres. Standard car with NO MODS., HDD Navigation/Music Server System, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Cruise Control, 18in x 8.5J Enkei Alloy Wheels w. 245/40 R18 93Y Tyres and Locking Wheel Nuts, Wipers,Auto Rain Sensors, Privacy Glass - Rear Side and Rear Windows, Stereo Radio/CD with MP3 Compatibility, MP3 Aux Input Port, Electric Windows Front/Rear Anti-Trapping, Drivers One Touch Operation, Multi Information Display with Trip Computer, Tracker Security System Thatcham Cat 5, Bluetooth Phone Connection, Alarm,Thatcham Cat 1, Front fog lights, Electric/folding wing mirrors, Twin exhaust. 5 seats, Black, Very good example, drives absolutely beautifully and is in really clean condition throughout. Hand paddle optional gear-change. HPI Clear. Located in Didcot, Oxfordshire OX110BS, Open 7 days a week, All Major Debit/Credit Cards accepted (2% fee for credit cards), Competitive finance packages available.

    • Mileage: 36700 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
    £16,995 £16,995

    £9,995 £9,995

    This is a stunning example of the rapidly appreciating and highly collectable EVO 6 UK RALLIART EDITION in the most sought after ICELLE BLUE.;The car has genuine low traceable mileage and has VOSA history to verfiy the low mileage;The car has been garage kept and we have stack and stacks of history for it!! ;The Bodywork is mint and has a awesome DEEP gloss finish to it.;Alloys are as new with brand new KUHMO tyres allround matching grip and depth.;This is one of the rarest colours and to make it more desiarble it is in mint condition bodywise.;The car has been kept mechanically stock and only has modifications to enhance the longevity of this car and to help it breathe and sing better.;;Particulars include but not limited to ;;Dumpvalve;Hardpipe kit;Alloy Radiator;Induction Kit;;;;;PLEASE DONT FORGET TO LOOK ON OUR WEBSITE FOR 40 PLUS PICS OF THIS CAR ;;WE ALSO OFFER NATIONWIDE GPS TRACKED DELIVERY AND CAN ALSO ARRANGE SHIPPING WORLWIDE;;PLEASE DONT HESITATE TO CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE FURTHER INQUIRES OR WOULD LIKE TO BOOK A TEST DRIVE.;;07565211101 ;;RING ANYTIME 7 DAYS ;;THANKS FOR LOOKING

    • Mileage: 92000 mi
    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995

    £9,995 £9,995

    Here we have the highly collectible and very sought after Evo 3 in superb condition throughout. ;It really is of the finest examples you will possibly be able to get your hands on.;The car comes with full service history from new (including Japan) we have lots and lots of invoices for it to proof the meticulous upkeep of this car.;Mechanically the engine is stock and all the modifications done are to enhance the pleasure and improve the longevity of this car.;Bodywise she is immaculate no rust or dents etc.;Mechanically perfect too drives absolutely perfect throughout no crunching when changing gears and does boost all the way to full power with no hesitancy or smoke etc.;Interior is very smart and clean the seat bolsters have not collapsed and the cloth is perfect too.;These examples are very rare to get hold of here in England and Japan too such that the value is increasing year on year. This is a very rare opportunity to get hold of a nice example below the GBP 10k mark. ;;SPEC INCLUDES BUT NOT LIMITED TO:-;;Date off first reg 01/04/1995;Date of import 28/10/2008;1 previous owner;Last owner since 15/09/2014;Japanese service history;MOTD 29/06/2018 with no advisorys;New clutch fitted 3/6/16 timing belt also water pump fitted;Ngk laser platinum plugs fitted;Import certificate;Stainless steel straight through;Exhaust;Nearly new tyres;16 gold alloys;BC coil overs nearly new;Oil catch tank;Super air flow converter Apexi;Air fuel ratio dials;Turbo boost gage;Removable steering with hijac lock fitted;Samco pedals;Pioneer 7tv Dvd screen with Bluetooth;Recaro folding seats;4pot branch manifold;Apexi air filter;Front mount intercooler with forge hard pipes;Forge blow off valve;Upgraded turbo;Relocated battery in boot;;Please dont forget to look on our website for 50 plus detailed pics of this car including underbody pics.

    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995

    £12,995 £12,995

    Mitsubishi Evo 6 fresh import;White with white alloys;131626 KM EQUATES TO UNDER 81000 MILES;Unmarked body no scratches dents or rust very clean straight panels;Original paint work;Clear lights (not faded);ORIGINAL Piaa front fogs in perfect condition;Upgraded light weight Mitsubishi alloys;Brembo red brake calipers front and back;Blitz Nur spec stainless cat back;Privacy rear glass;Folding mirrors;Wind deflectors;Tein Coilovers adjustable height ride;Adjustable camber;Adjustable ride soften/harden;Juran evolution motor sports gear strut brace;Hks mushroom air filter;Blitz blow off valve;Aluminium koyo radiator;Hid light kit fitted;Razor gear shift;Panasonic Tv Dvd screen headunit;Upgraded door speakers;Momo steering;Srs dash airbag;Dash display turbo boost dial;Blue recaro seats;Greddy profec b spec II electronic boost controller;Intercooler water spray;Gt spec race pedals;;;

    • Mileage: 81000 mi
    For sale
    £12,995 £12,995

    £11,995 £11,995

    Evo 7 in blue French blue ;Fresh import totally rust free ;131300km equtes to under 81500 miles only!!;;;BODYWORK;High gloss finish with no sctrches or dents;Chargespeed Front bumper fitted Colour coded properly to match bodywork;Carbon colour coded bonnet ;Led rear lights ;Wind deflectors;;WHEELS;17 white alloys with absolutely no marks on them;;SUPENSION+BRAKES;BC Racing coil overs fully adjustable.;Brembo Calipers all round ;;ENGINE;Strut brace ;K and n air filter ;Stainless straight through exhaust ;Front mount intercooler ;;INTEROR;Apexi turbo boost guage ;Esparco steering;;Tv Dvd headunit Tv sun visors ;Esparco gear shift ;Intercooler water spray ;Esparco race pedals ;Hks turbo timer ;Aux point ;Folding mirrors ;Rs diff;Recaro bucket seats ; ;CAR WILL COME WITH A 12 MONTHS MOT;PLEASE NOT WHEN COMPARING THE MARKET OUR CARS ARE ABSOLUTELY MINT, HAND PICKED EXAMPLES.;NONE OF THE USUAL 'IT'S OK FOR THE YEAR' 'ITS WHAT YOU EXPECT ETC ETC'';YOU WILL FIND OUR STOCK IS FLAWLESS;;Also please dont forget to look on our website for 50+ detailed pics of this car and other stunning examples of Jap performance cars.;;IF YOU LIVE TOO FAR AWAY OR CANT GET TO US FOR ANY OTHER REASON WHY NOT TRY OUR NATIONWIDE DELIVERY SERVICE??;;WE CAN DELIVER THIS CAR TO YOUR DOORSTEP!!;;CALL ANYTIME ON 07565 211101 or 01182077286;;Thanks for looking;

    For sale
    £11,995 £11,995
  • Mitsubishi Lancer

    £16,995 £16,995

    Bluetooth, Colour SatNav, Half Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Cruise Control, 12 month AA breakdown cover, 6 Month Warranty, FULL SERVICE HISTORY, Metallic Paintwork, Traction Control, iPod Connectivity, Xenon Headlamps, 4x4 We are specialists in obtaining finance for people from all walks of life. If you have had credit problems in the past thats NO PROBLEM !!We will find the best finance package available to you from our extensive finance panel even if you have defaults, County court judgements, mortgage arrears, no credit score, Debt management, discharged bankrupt, in the armed forces or Benefits only income. To qualify for finance you will need to be over 18 years old (if aged under 21 you may need a guarantor), a full uk driving licence and be able to prove your income with payslips or bank statements. PLEASE NOTE: Finance repayments quoted are based on an average only to help give you an approximate indication of repayments. They may be higher or lower depending on your circumstances. The factors that will dictate your personal repayments are: your credit history, interest rate, term of loan, amount of deposit put down, if you have a part exchange etc.To get a more accurate weekly/monthly repayment please make a finance application.

    • Mileage: 40000 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
    £16,995 £16,995