We all miss the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the iconic turbocharged all-wheel-drive rally car for the road. What if the Japanese carmaker resurrected its Evolution model—but this time based on the little Mirage?
We should note that a heavily modified all-wheel-drive version of the little hatchback competes in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship. This, however, is what we think a Mitsubishi Mirage Evolution would look like. We’ve incorporated many of the Evo’s styling cues while keeping the design contemporary.
Up front, it retains the Dynamic Shield face of the regular refreshed Mirage, but gets a large upper mesh grille and matching massive lower intakes. The hood gets central heat extractors. Moving to the side profile, flared front and wheel arches contain both the wider tires and the increased track width. At the back, our little concept gets a unique wide rear bumper with a functional diffuser. The polished twin exhaust tips recall those found on the Evo X. At the top of the tailgate is a large high-mounted roof spoiler. Five-stud 17-inch lightweight alloys and 215/45 tires complete the transformation.
Inside, our Mirage Evo gets a flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a short-throw shifter, and available optional Recaro seats. It also features an upgraded instrument cluster that incorporates an analog temperature gauge.
Let’s take a peek under the skin and see what makes this an Evo. Powering this hot hatch is a 4B11-based 1.6-liter MIVEC turbo-four gasoline mill that puts out 268hp and 360Nm of torque. Power is sent to the four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Like the Lancer Evo X, this one comes with the Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drivetrain.
The reinforced Mirage-derived platform has a larger central tunnel that can accommodate a propeller shaft, and the rear suspension has also been upgraded to an independent multilink setup. Up front, it gets a double-axis strut suspension with a separate steering knuckle; this design reduces the scrub radius of the tires. Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs are standard. Since what goes fast must also stop fast, there are two-piece Brembo front rotors with red calipers.
Our Evo hatch measures 3,865mm long, 1,780mm wide, and 1,475mm tall, and rides on a 2,470mm wheelbase. Its curb weight is an estimated 1,195kg. Top speed is projected to be 241kph (electronically limited), while 0-100kph is estimated to be 5sec. Cargo volume is 230 liters, nearly identical in size to that of the standard Mirage. The spare tire and its well have been removed to free up space for the rear differential, IRS, and relocated transverse-mounted muffler. A tire mobility kit takes the place of the spare.
How much would it cost? With all the Evo performance hardware, this AWD hot hatch would probably fetch about P1.9 million. It would be a direct competitor to the Toyota GR Yaris and a pint-sized alternative to the Subaru WRX STI.
If Mitsubishi were to build the Mirage Evolution, would you consider it?