When the Mitsubishi Evolution VIII was released between 2003-2005 it had superb handling, an impressive four-wheel drive system, in my opinion the greatest engine ever made by Mitsubishi and dominate racing heritage. It was the type of car that you can take to the track and put it through its paces. If that's not your style, you can always drive it through the twisty mountains and notice how it eats up the corners with grace and style.
Though all that is excellent, the real question is, does my 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES CG live up to the hype of its beefed up sibling. Well, No not by a long shot. But it does share the same body, same engine compartment and interior layout and that's really about it.
When my father first purchased the car brand new back in 2003 it costed him $30K. Let that sink in for a minute. Just a little bit more.
Now you're thinking what am I talking about. Let me explain. With that kind of money, he could've bought a new Corolla or a Impreza which were better cars, but no he bought the Lancer.
This $30K car has no power windows, no sat nav, no ABS, no ESP, no leather seats and not even a set of alloy wheels. Its just a white box with no stylish curves, it has the looks of a cereal box. I'm not even sure what the ANCAP rating of this car is, but I guess my father didn't care about safety or style.
In today's money $30K can get you one of the best selling cars on the market, that includes all the modern luxuries like sat nav, leather seats, auto headlights, cruise control and ABS. But that also means more cars to pick from and frustrating times ahead to choose the right car, that tick all the boxes.
Under the bonnet of the Lancer sits a 2.0L 4G94 SOHC 16 Valve engine mated to a four-speed auto producing mind bending power ratings of 92kw. Torque ratings aren't that impressive, with figures of 176Nm of torque. With my foot flat to the floor and the engine almost about to explode it takes about a life time to reach 100km/h. It also shows that my father didn't care about speed either.
Handling and suspension aren't a very big statement that this car makes. It produces noises when you turn, and feels like its about to fall apart when the smallest of speed bumps is approached. Just imagine holding a priceless piece of art work, and not dropping it on the floor.
With that being said it has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. Its has over 160,000kms on the clock and has never skipped a beat, not even once. Servicing the car is the best part about owning the vehicle, with cost ranging from a schedule service at about $200 to the major service of around $600.
When it comes to the interior, well how can I put it in words without hurting anybodies feelings. Its like when you open a bag of chips and its just air. You know the feeling where its missing the rest of the inside, and you are looking in the bag trying to find the rest of it. That's how it is, disappointing. The only modern electronics in the vehicle is the stereo, which I had to change due to poor sound quality and a digital clock.
The front seats look like Mitsubishi spent 20 minutes designing them. And another 20 minutes trying to make them comfortable. With wear and tear coming in to factor, I can finally tolerate the corner of the metal frame piercing my shoulder, while rear seat leg room is surprisingly very comfortable.
When people say to me “why don't you just buy a new car”, its always the same answer, I can't. I love this car, its been in my family for over 10 years, regardless if its not the best looking car or the fastest in the world. There is a certain attachment you have with cars when you have owned it for that long.
Yes, its boring and dull but its my boring and dull car. Yes its banged up and has scratches all over, but that just gives it character. Ask any real car enthusiast the same question, the car can be 5 years old or 70 years old and it will always remain the same.