Meet the Mitsubishi D-Evo …. the diesel that thinks it’s an Evo

By Philip Hedderman

I think I’ve discovered a new species.

Like all life forms it has evolved …. quite literally.

Yes folks, what you see before you is the Lancer D-Evo – a diesel that thinks it’s an Evo.

It was inevitable really and the more you look at the end result the more bloody obvious it was.

There it was staring us in the face for years, just waiting to be uncovered.

The only surprise here being that it took so long to manifest itself.

Lets look at the basic ingredients.

Think Mitsubishi, add Lancer and you come up with Evo.

Think diesel and look no further than the best 4X4s and heavy duty machinery in the world.

Put them together and what do you get?

A high-powered oil burner that has enough torque to tow a 10 tonne truck and the acceleration to match any hot hatch bearing a GTi/RS badge.

The irony here is I don’t think that is what MMC actually set out to do.

You see,the Evo connection with the Lancer is so ingrained in the car’s DNA that performance had to be a given. Anything else would be seen as utter treachery.

To motorsport fans the Evolution is the two-time winner of the world rally championship, to me it means high-octane, Adrenalin- pumping drive of your life.

To others it just fun – hardcore fun multiplied by 290.

Real petrol heads will know it more affectionately as the FQ-300, but if that’s too tame for you then there’s always the FQ-330 and FQ-360.

The figures above relate to brake horsepower and the letters …  you’ll have to guess.

Now, that kind of amusement comes at a hefty price and unless you’re a banker or Lotto winner is pretty much out of reach.

Thankfully, the top engineers and designers over at MMC swapped their unleaded hats for diesel and have come up with a true revelation.

I get the impression that the new powerplant is somewhat of an accidental hero.

Either that or somebody forgot to sitck the GTi badge on the head and it somehow ended up being called DiD .

You see, the 1.8 litre, 150bhp oil burner has a frightening amount of torque and poke.

Drop the hammer and you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised as the needle hits 100kph in well under 10 seconds.

There is a massive amount of grunt up through the six-speed gearbox with smooth changes all the way to its top end of 207k/ph.

That kind of  oomph matches the sleek design surrounding what’s been dubbed by their marketing gurus as the “Jet Fighter grille” and “shark nose”.

All the Top Gun spin aside, I was baffled as to why there was mud flaps on the front and none at the rear.

Bizarre, but what I really liked and which drew the most comments was the vibrant colour.

Several people stopped me in the street to enquire about the Indigo blue paintwork.

You’ll also be more than impressed by its green credentials as emissions are kept at a very respectable 139g/km (meaning €156 annual road tax) while returning 53mpg.

It handles pretty well too with plenty of grip and very little body roll on winding roads while sturdy and quiet on long motorway runs.

Hard driving does hit fuel consumption and we achieved about 44mpg, but it was a bloody good experience.

The new offering is also loaded with goodies and the ‘Intense’ model comes with 16 inch alloys, Bluetooth with voice control, Air Con, Cruise Control, leather steering wheel with audio controls and fog lights.

It’s dripping with safety features including nine air bags (front, side, curtain and knee) Active stability control, Electronic traction control and reinforced body shell.

Inside the dash is well laid out with all the switchgear within easy reach. It is uncluttered and gimmick-free while hooded clocks and leather three spoke steering wheel give the cockpit a sporty feel.

There is ample room onboard for the usual 2 plus 2 and with split folding rear seats give it added versatility needed to be considered a proper family saloon.

The only downside is the absence of a boot switch meaning you had to either use the key or open from the inside.

This proved a real pain especially when struggling with shopping and a couple of toddlers.

Its biggest enemy though is the price of €22,995.

It’s a little steep considering the Ford Focus (the big fish in segment C) comes in a little cheaper.

Tart it up with 19′ inch alloys, throw on side skirts, a couple of spoilers and I’d gladly part with the cash.