A high performance bargain
Nothing has gone wrong with this car.
Driven hard, the EVO 8 is awesome. In terms of brakes and handling, this EVO is nearly track ready. Adding just $2K worth ECU programming, down pipe and cat-back exhausts to a stock EVO 8, I can't think of anything under $40K that will touch it on the track in the US.
The turbo has no lag, starts to spool at 2900 rpm, and it'll push you back hard starting at 3300 rpm and levels off at 5000-6000 rpm, there is little point in taking it to the 7000+ rpm red-line without exhausts system upgrades. This is while running 91-octane premium gas. My understanding is that it would do better on 93-octane gas, but 93-octane gas not readily available in Southern California.
The standard 6 speaker AM/FM/CD sound system is pretty good.
The HID headlights are excellent, as an added bonus, they are height adjustable from within the car and the car comes factory stock with additional driving lights.
In terms of daily use, the EVO's gas mileage is not good for a light car with a 4 cylinder engine. (I'm getting 18 mpg combined) It's tuned to run pretty rich (safe). However, I don't think people buy EVO's for the gas mileage. Additionally, the mileage should improve significantly with more aggressive tuning associated with the ECU reprogramming and exhausts system upgrades.
The steering is quick to the point of being a little nervous. This can be tiring for a daily driver for some people.
The stiff suspension is pretty hard on your kidneys on freeway expansion joints at 10-30 mph. A little like a slammed sub-compact with stiff springs.
The sight lines out front are excellent; the large carbon fiber rear wing is located exactly at the height where it interferes with the rear view from the center mirror. The Right side wing support distracts a little bit for over-the-right-shoulder view during right hand lane changes on the Freeway.
The transmission gear ratio and spacing works well, but the shifter is not as good as Honda or BMW, it's a little bit notchy. The clutch is a little bit heavy, but this is to be expected for a performance car.
The Recaro bucket seats are excellent.
The huge Brembo brakes are great. However, the pads are a little noisy, dusty and likely to wear quickly for a daily driver, but brake pads should be easy and reasonably cheap to replace.
The heater, AC and defroster all work well.
I want to be clear; the negatives I have stated above are very minor for people looking for a reasonably priced high performance automobile and should be expected for this level of performance.
This car has an amazing level of performance for not too much money!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th March, 2004