After 10 generations, 23 years and countless miles recorded, Mitsubishi has announced the discontinuation of the Lancer EVO, letting the street-legal rally car drive off into the sunset.
2015 marks the final year of production for a car that has become so iconic in the world of rally car racing that it may have seemed unlikely the model would see its end.
“It was a Lamborghini kind of fast in this commuter, boring, four-door family car,”
said Dr. Joseph Pelletier, assistant professor of psychology and self-proclaimed “die-hard” car enthusiast. “It is like the ultimate sleeper, especially in factory form. You can walk on pretty much anyone with it.”
For the majority of its lifespan, the EVO’s only true competition has been rival Subaru’s WRX STI, which boasts an equally impressive record on the tracks when compared to the Lancer.
“As far as imports go, the EVO and Subaru WRX STI were always the golden horses on the market,” Pelletier said.
Although the end of the EVO era may be bittersweet, the car has been a staple for affordable sedans capable of high quality racetrack performance for the past two decades, and even past versions of the car still retain their value in the current car market.
“EVOs are becoming more rare and valuable in the rally market because of (the car’s) standard performance and legacy,” said Paul Yoo, senior business administration major. “EVO 9’s and EVO 8’s still hold their value compared to older (Subaru) STI models and other Subaru’s such as the GC series.”
The base model Lancer will make its return in 2016, but the EVO trim will be cut by Mitsubishi and only 1,600 “Final Edition” cars will be sold in the United States.
“Nobody builds good sleepers anymore,” Pelletier said. “It’s all bells and whistles, and that car was (very) fast in a very sensible package, and that engine was bulletproof, too.”
The standard EVO sold for $35,000 before modifications, which is a deal for 291 horsepower, Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control and five-speed manual transmission when compared to the pricetag of similar sport sedans in its class.
“It is a corner of the market that is dying out and Subaru
has the corner on it now,” Pelletier said.