2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Review

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent steering and handling
  • potent turbocharged engine
  • long features list
  • available automated-clutch manual transmission.
  • Tilt-only steering wheel
  • driver seat doesn't adjust for height
  • interior materials don't match the Evo's lofty price
  • tiny trunk
  • stiff ride.
Other years
List Price

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Possessing aggressive styling and track-tuned performance, the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a keen choice for driving enthusiasts on a budget.

Vehicle overview

There are a handful of new cars today that can deliver driving excitement without breaking the bank. The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution can certainly be counted among the cheap thrills group, and it also manages to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack.

Though based on the regular Mitsubishi Lancer sedan, the Evolution is a performance car, thanks to its turbocharged engine, all-wheel-drive system, stiffer chassis, bigger brakes, a sport-tuned suspension and sporty body cladding. After all is said and done, the Evo sprints to 60 mph in about 5 seconds and weaves through the slalom at speeds approaching 70 mph, numbers that are about as good as you'll find for something costing $35,000.

One of the Evolution's best attributes is its available dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, which allows the control of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic. Using the steering-column-mounted paddles, you can rip off super-quick shifts for maximum performance or you can simply keep it in automatic mode when battling traffic. In either case, this transmission is simply one of the best on the market. The same goes for the all-wheel-drive system that channels power to individual wheels as needed, and it all happens with little or no sign of intervention.

This excellence is tempered by a few drawbacks. For one, the Evo's interior doesn't stray far from the economical regular Lancer, which actually has one of the more downmarket cabins in its class. Newly padded door panels for this year certainly help in this matter, but the cabin is still a disappointment for the price. Also, the steering column does not telescope, which could pose comfort issues for taller drivers. Finally, the suspension tuning is pretty stiff, even for this class of car.

Among the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution's competition, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI will always be the Evo's archrival for all-wheel-drive supremacy, but it now falls far short of the Evo in most areas. Therefore, we think a stronger contender is the Ford Mustang GT and its burly V8 engine, though its handling certainly isn't as sharp as the Mitsubishi's. Other choices could include the BMW 135i and even the Nissan 370Z with its two-seat layout. Overall, though, the Lancer Evo continues to provide excellent bang for the buck for driving enthusiasts.

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution models

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a high-performance compact sedan available in GSR and MR trim levels that correspond to the transmission choices. The GSR receives the five-speed manual, while the MR gets the automated manual "Sportronic" transmission with paddle shifters.

Standard equipment on the GSR includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a large rear spoiler, full power accessories, automatic climate control, cruise control, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, Recaro sport bucket seats, Mitsubishi's Fuse voice-activated electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The MR is similar but has BBS alloy wheels, a smaller rear lip spoiler, xenon headlamps and softer suspension calibrations.

Optional on the GSR is the Sight and Sound package, which adds xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry and a Rockford Fosgate sound system with 10-inch subwoofer, satellite radio and an in-dash six-CD changer. Also available is the Sun and Leather package that adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, added sound insulation and an upgraded center console with covered bins.

Available on the MR trim is the Premium package, which includes the Rockford Fosgate audio system, chrome exterior trim, leather and faux-suede upholstery, keyless ignition/entry and the upgraded center console. A Touring package is also available that adds the sunroof, heated mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, full leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and added sound insulation.

Either trim level can also be had with a hard-drive-based navigation system that boasts real-time traffic and digital music storage.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution receives only minor changes, including soft-touch door panels and an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Performance & mpg

Every 2012 Lancer Evolution is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The GSR comes only with a five-speed manual transmission, while the MR is equipped with Mitsubishi's excellent six-speed automated manual transmission with column-mounted paddle shifters. Power is sent to all four wheels through an advanced all-wheel-drive system.

Acceleration for either Evo is impressive. In Edmunds performance testing, a GSR required only 4.9 seconds to sprint from zero to 60 mph, while the MR did it in 5 flat. Fuel economy, as a result, is much less impressive, at an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the GSR and 17/22/19 for the MR versions.


Standard safety features for the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution include antilock brakes, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag, stability control and a variety of advanced handling technologies.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Lancer Evolution came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 113 feet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular Lancer a top score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.


The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a sports car in compact sedan clothing. The advanced all-wheel-drive system works behind the scenes to give the car very impressive handling and traction abilities. Spirited drivers will also appreciate the Evo's ultra-responsive steering and ample amount of road feedback.

For daily commutes, the Evo is less inspiring, mostly because the ride quality is rather stiff. That goes for the MR models as well, though their Bilstein dampers give them a touch more ride compliance. The excellent automated dual-clutch manual transmission makes the MR trims the clear choice for those who plan to commute in their Evos. Regardless of which model you choose, you'll have an immensely fun car with performance that's nearly impossible to beat for the price.


The Evo's interior is tame compared to its aggressive exterior styling. Recaro sport bucket seats, alloy foot pedals, fancier gauges and a different steering wheel are the only things that differentiate the spicy Evo from the commonplace Lancer GT. Those Recaros are highly supportive and comfortable, but the driver seat's lack of a height adjustment and the steering wheel's tilt-only column make finding an ideal driving position difficult for many drivers, not just tall ones.

Most of the interior materials are the same as those on the regular Lancer, which is to say that they're below average for an economy car and downright disappointing for a vehicle costing about $35,000. This year's new soft-touch door panels are at least standard on the Evo, whereas they're optional on the higher-trimmed Lancer.

The Evo's utility is actually less than the regular Lancer's, as the rear seats don't fold down and the battery and washer fluid reservoir have been relocated to the trunk for better weight distribution. Total trunk space is just 7 cubic feet, which is on par with tiny roadsters. Adding the optional stereo upgrade with the massive trunk-mounted subwoofer reduces that capacity even further.

On the plus side, most controls are within easy reach and simple in operation, and the standard Fuse voice activation system makes some audio and navigation functions a hands-free affair.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Wicked is Right
GSR 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I spent a lot of time looking for a car with a stick and passing power (i.e., Mazdaspeed3, etc). The Evo unexpectedly has more rear leg room behind my driver seat, then other cars; attribute this to where I need to adjust the driver's seat in order to accommodate my physique. The Ford Escort and Mazdaspeed3 had very little leg room after I got comfortable in the driver's seat. This car loves the high revs. If you just try to take it easy, it will fight you. The tranny is only smooth up top. Take your time shifting at lower RPMs. The ride is hard and the car isn't quiet. I swapped out the tires for All-season DWSs. If you enjoy driving, the Evo is for you.
2012 Evo MR to rule them all
MR 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
We traded in our 2005 Evo 8 GSR/SSL for this new 2012 Evo X MR in Wicked White , We purchased the car in Aug 2013 and it has been worry free. This is by far the car that does it all, if you wanted the best of all worlds this is the car to get.. I have owned many different cars over the years and the Evo just does it all. Great all weather performance and head turning style, some of the older folks will not understand what makes this car special, but if you know what an Evo is then you know why the car is special. My current cars as of writing this list.. Evo X MR Lotus Elise Porsche Cayman S Porsche Cayenne S C3 Corvette I like them all, but the best overall car is the Evo.

More about the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Overview

The Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is offered in the following submodels: Lancer Evolution Sedan. Available styles include GSR 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and MR 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM). The Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 6-speed automated manual. The Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR is priced between $30,599 and$30,599 with odometer readings between 66394 and66394 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2012 Lancer Evolutions listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $30,599 and mileage as low as 66394 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Can't find a used 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $12,766.

Find a used Mitsubishi for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $22,651.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for sale - 6 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $9,810.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $19,901.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mitsubishi lease specials
Check out Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution lease specials