Notes From the L.A. Auto Show, Part... Oh, I forget, IV or V, or somethingBy Kent Shocknek

Where were some of these cars  when I was growing up?  Or, if not exactly growing up, learning to drive? Mitsubishi keeps cranking out performance-on-a-shoestring rides that are the most fun, this side of a carnival.  Only now, they have styling to match their mad performance.

The Lancer line is a case in point: the Evolution looks like an only slightly dangerous cousin at the wedding, until you get in, buckle up, and hit the go-fast pedal. Mitsu has built these cars to fly (no surprise, coming from a company that’s made airplanes for decades). The Evo is one of only two cars in which I’ve almost become car-sick…. as a driver. And that’s a good thing. It’s a kick to toss around: it’s hard to believe how much performance you can wring out of it, on a skid pad.

LANCER EVOLUTION MR WITH PREMIUM PACKAGE
 
For the slightly more conservative, there’s the Sportback, which packs a lot of interesting-looking styling, with more room in back, to stash stuff. It’s also nearly half as expensive as the  $35K Evo… starting at about $18.5K.
 
LANCER SPORTBACK
 
Next up, look for the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, which debuted at the L.A. Auto Show. It’s not a sports car, but it’s a couple hundred pounds lighter than the 2013 model, so it should have better performance.  And having spent time in the ’13, that’s good news. the ’13 was a decent driver, but the new model appears to be vastly improved, and will arrive next year with engine options, from a 2.4 litre 4, to a 224 hp V-6. Eventually, look for a plug-in hybrid as well.  It’s not clear what it’ll cost yet… this year’s version  starts just north of $23K.
Again, where were these cars 20 years ago? Oh yeah, the technology to make them either didn’t exist, or cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
(Photos courtesy manufacturer)
 
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