Quick Drive: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X SE

By Winding Road Staff

June 21, 2011

My fiancé, Molly, is really used to my having a couple of new cars to test out every week and, like anybody, makes a kind of subconscious judgment about each one as soon as she gets inside for the first time. Of course, even for the experienced driver/passenger, sometimes that means you make snap decisions that are dead wrong.

Case in point: picked up Molly on a Friday in the Evo SE. It was my first night in the car that week, though she’d definitely ridden in an Evo X of one kind or another before. Still, Molly hopped into the car without a word of comment, until I got to an open stretch of road and buried the throttle. As is its wont, the Evo leapt forward in a potent burst of acceleration and noise that pushed both of us well back into our seats, and immediately put an end to the conversation we were having.

Looking around at the rather plain Lancer interior with newfound interest and a tiny bit of fear, Molly asked, “Wait, what car are we in?”

Shock and awe, wrapped up in a fetching, but ultimately fairly forgettable visual package—that’s why we love the Evo. That such a visceral and, frankly, bonkers car can be produced from one so very average is a testament to so much of what I love about cars, too.

In summary of my review thoughts then, Mitusbishi Evolution: good as ever. Thanks for making the world’s most affordable supercar Mitsu, call us when it’s time for chapter XI.

—Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief

During my time with the Evo this time around, most of my driving was fairly casual. The car makes great fun out of running errands or getting from place to place. It’s great on the highway, and feels well composed as high speeds. Plus, except for at the very top end, it has plenty of juice in reserve to make lightning-quick maneuvers.

The thing is, though, to really appreciate the Evo, one must drive it close to its limits, as this is where the car really shines. When pushing it real hard through corners, it takes on a whole different nature. It responds really well to input, and communicates the road back to the driver almost telepathically. With all four tires on the verge of screaming, with lateral g-forces building up, the Evo buckles down, bites in, and amazes the driver with its capabilities. The experience is one of those automotive treasures that we search so hard for and rarely find, and in those fleeting moments we learn more about driving than we do in thousands of miles of semi-casual cruising.

—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor

This car is loud, and not always in a good way. The ride is too firm on anything but freshly paved roads. Fitting in the seats on a regular basis requires a workout plan worthy of Michael Phelps. And it costs almost $37,000.

Yes, I’m talking about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. And while you might think I’m slamming it, these are words of praise. The noisy exhaust and rough ride guarantee that you are the last person people will call for a designated driver. At the same time, they deliver an engaging driving experience worthy of the 87 the Evo holds on the Winding Road Involvement Index. Those seats, besides forcing you from letting your backside get too big, cosset you in a way that is scarcely found outside of racecars. Simply put, you’re not going to be sliding around during cornering. And that price of $37,000 (for our SE tester) is an absolute performance bargain that few cars can match.

—Brandon Turkus, Fleet Manager


  • Excellent handling near the limit
  • Scary fast, in a good way
  • At $37,000, the Evo SE is a rare performance bargain


  • Definitely not a fuel miser
  • Rough ride and noisy exhaust might make it a bit too harsh for everyday use
  • Everything about the top-dog Lancer seems economy car-ish, except for sick-nasty performance