Here’s Why The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Absolutely Must Return – And Why It Should Have More Power

  • New reports suggest Mitsubishi is working on a new version of its rally car icon, the Lancer Evolution
  • If the company builds it, it could have up to 341 horsepower.
  • Should Mitsubishi build it? Vote in the poll below!

After learning that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, fondly remembered as the Evo, might return – I did some research. Autocar recently reported Mitsubishi could be working on an eleventh generation model with up to 341 horsepower and 319 lb-ft of torque. Put it this way — the decision to revive the Lancer would be a complete about-face for Mitsubishi as they recently dedicated all their resources to building crossovers.

This time around, Mitsubishi may turn to its alliance partner Renault for its 2.0-liter engine. A 48-volt mild hybrid system coupled to the engine from the hot hatch Renault Megane RS could put a revived Lancer Evo XI out in front of Subaru’s STi on power.

Sign me up baby. I have no problem admitted I’m an Evo fanboy.

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition
We were sad when Mitsubishi killed off the Lancer Evolution…we hope it makes a comeback! [Photo: Mitsubishi]

Here’s what we know

Mitsubishi pulled the plug on the Evo after 2015, and killed the Lancer model as a whole in 2017, because the old car wasn’t selling. Mitsubishi Motors North America’s (MMNA) executive vice president and CEO at the time, Don Swearingen, stated that Mitsubishi would end all Lancer production without developing a successor.

Of course, Lancer sales were slow for a reason. Mitsubishi shot themselves in the foot by not updating the Lancer enough to be competitive. Very little changed internally on the car since 2008, save a few minor updates.

Mitsubishi did build a few interesting variants of the Lancer, like the Sportback and even the GT. However, they still fell behind the competition. The interiors were generations behind and the quality was so-so. On top of that, even the mighty Evo grew dated and stale in the wake of its arch-rival’s makeover into the modern WRX and STI models.

I always liked the look of the Lancer, especially the GT and EVO. They had so much potential. The biggest issue with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was its steep price and the fact that the Subaru WRX STI soundly outsold it.

Mitsubishi needs a halo car

If Mitsubishi is going to compete in this space again, it needs to bring its A game. It needs to have more serious performance, especially in the wake of the new Toyota Supra and its contemporary Subaru rival. That said, it’s still something Mitsubishi should explore, if they aren’t already.

Sure, people are buying mediocre crossovers like Roman buys hair product, but some look for more passion. The modern video game generation knows exactly what a
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is, and they want a new one. Even more important, Mitsubishi needs a car with some major clout to firm up its identity.

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition
[Photo: Mitsubishi]

It’s totally doable.

The Alliance has a platform that’s only a few steps away from making a killer EVO:

  • There’s the 296 horsepower 1.8-liter turbo in the Renault Mégane RS 300 Trophy that makes 295 lb-ft of torque. It’s a track monster.
  • Mitsubishi builds some of the most advanced AWD systems out there.
  • Add to that the fact that Mitsubishi is toying with supplemental hybrid systems that can increase performance across the board and you have the makings of a (possible) all-new EVO!

It would be nice if they offered a slightly detuned/less-expensive/manual transmission option too. Something to go against the regular Subaru WRX. A new Lancer GT perhaps?

Yes, I want this car to return. Not just a beefed-up crossover, but a serious rally car that embarasses higher end/more expensive sports cars… like it once did. I want it to force Subaru, hell – all automakers – to up their game too.

What do you think?