The war between Mitsubishi and Subaru has been raging on for years. Even gearheads who weren’t born yet when Japan invaded the U.S. and turned the car industry upside down still rumble about which is better: the Lancer Evo or Subaru WRX?
No matter what era you were born in and how you watched these two Japanese juggernauts go head-to-head, this piece has something for everyone. That’s mostly because starting and trying to end a Subaru vs. Mitsubishi argument will be completely fruitless, even if we tried. However, we can look at one side and marvel at the sports cars that made that company great. And for this piece, we’ll shine the light on Mitsubishi.
Don’t get it wrong, Subaru has always released formidable machines to the market. But as far as these 10 Mitsubishis are concerned, Subaru’s adversary just had the upper hand.
10 1995 Eclipse
Paul Walker, played by Brian O’Conner, was introduced in The Fast & The Furious not just as an unforgettable character but also as one who drove an unforgettable car. In his command was a green 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse RS. And this marque looked and performed more tantalizingly than the abysmal Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross we have today.
What made the original and forgotten Eclipse and its GTX Turbo edition special was how many aftermarket modifications you could add to them. It was also a great beginner sports car before you dived into the wild world of mid-level sports coupes.
9 3000GT VR-4
This marque was referred to by many pundits as Mitsubishi’s dark horse when it came out. This was the company’s newest creation in 1990. And as people gathered more details about it, they became more amused by what this car had been created to be.
The 3000GT VR-4 was less of a sports car and more of a grand tourer. But then, Mitsubishi packed it with features only found in supercars at the time. The 3000GT VR-4 had full-time four-wheel drive, active aerodynamics, four-wheel steering, and an electronically controlled suspension.
8 Colt GTi-16 Turbo
Hot hatches are one of the most fun creations ever made in the car industry. The Colt GTi-16 Turbo was Europe’s favorite. Sadly, despite the rise in fame, this marque couldn’t topple the cultic following hot hatches such as the Golf GTi, Peugeot 205 GTi, and Renault 5 Turbo were getting.
Under the hood, the GTi-16 Turbo donned a 1.6-liter turbo petrol engine that developed 128hp. This made the marque’s performance very accessible, resulting in a car that was very easy to drive. And despite its sports car cues, the Colt GTi-16 Turbo helped establish Mitsubishi as a family carmaker, given how great it was at daily driving.
Back in the 1990s, having a full-size premium sedan parked in your garage was one of the coolest things ever. The Diamante was designed to capture the attention of this emerging market while directly putting the aim at the big German automakers.
That is how the Diamante ended up looking like a BMW 5 Series, especially when in black. However, despite never packing as much punch as the 5 Series, this marque was still very comfortable. And that is where it won the battle. The Diamante used futuristic technology such as active suspension, a power sunroof, and a CD player to give itself an edge against the German competition.
6 Galant VR-4
The Galant was a feared machine in the world of Rallying. This marque was a 6-time WRC rally stages winner. It dominated so many stages, including Finland’s 1000 Lakes. The road-going version of this marque was thus impressive. But it’s the top-trim VR4 Galant that left a lasting impression.
The engine development done in this car was amazing. The first-gen Galant had an inline-four that developed 237hp. But for the following two generations, Mitsubishi swapped the four-pot for a V6. The first one was a 24-valve 2.0-liter V6 that developed the same amount of power as the inline-four. That power unit was later upgraded to a 2.5-liter V6 that developed 279hp.
5 Lancer 1600 GSR
This is the first Mitsubishi car to ever become a rally legend. In the ‘70s, this marque dominated numerous rally stages, especially the most difficult ones. It won two rally stages in Africa, one in 1972 and the other in 1974. Because of this fete, it earned the nickname “King of Cars.”
Because of how sturdy the Lancer 1600 GSR was, it was used in private races long after its production was axed by Mitsubishi. The road version was a respectable performer, with the engine developing 108hp. The rally version, however, was tuned to produce 169hp.
4 Lancer Evo VII
This was the first Lancer Evo to get a full redesign from the concept we had seen from the rally-era Mitsubishi Lancers. The new external design for the 2001 Lancer Evo 7 generated positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Mitsubishi had also reworked the interior, delivering a new level of comfort and smoothness with the Evo 7.
This marque donned full-leather Recaro seats, something that was rare back in the day. The suspension settings had also been tweaked. The engine was also given a slight boost by the engineers.
3 Lancer Evo 8
The previous-generation Lancer Evo 7 was a masterpiece. But the new generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 was a greater leap by the company. This marque flawlessly combined the new design philosophy introduced in the Evo 7 with the power and comfort we had gotten accustomed to not just in the Evo 7 but also in modern cars of the day.
With the Evo 8, Mitsubishi sold more cars than it had ever done. As a result, newer Lancers became more luxurious, more consumer-friendly, but still rally-bred from its roots.
2 Lancer Evo VI – Tommi Mäkinen Edition
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI was a magnificent ride. However, the marque that took most glory was the Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition. To date, it stands as one of the most memorable limited special edition Mitsubishi Evo models ever built.
Only 2500 Tommi Makinen Edition Lancer Evo VI were ever made. Tommi Makinen was a big name in the rally world and a special name in Mitsubishi quarters. He was a rally legend who’d won four WRC championships in the control of a Mitsubishi. For this special edition Evo VI, Mitsubishi fitted special front bumpers, TME edition stickers, a faster-spooling titanium turbine, and a lowered ride height for tarmacked rally stages.
1 Lancer Evo X
The Lancer has come a long way and the Evo X was the climax and end to this incredible ride. Put together, the Lancer provided one of the most iconic sports car series of all time. And as it was clear with the 10th and last generation, this marque had never stopped evolving.
The Evo X was an AWD powerhouse. Its engine developed anywhere between 276hp and 440hp, depending on the trim level. And as it bowed out, this marque left even Subaru diehards feeling sad, marking the end of one of the most heated rivalries in automotive history.
Subaru is one of the most revered Japanese automakers among western car enthusiasts today. But, the company’s had as many misses as they’ve had hits.
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