Car Culture, Featured, News&Reviews

9 Reasons Why The Subaru Impreza WRX STI Is Better Than The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

For about two decades, Subaru and Mitsubishi have locked horns. And while both have built incredible rally cars for the road, the Impreza will always be king. Here’s why…

1. It was Colin McRae’s weapon of choice

Colin McRae was one of the greatest drivers to ever grace tarmac, gravel and snow in the World Rally Championship. He was a hero of mine when I was little, and now he’s inspiring a new generation as his exploits are chopped up into awesome compilations and shared on YouTube. If the Impreza was good enough for this legend, it’s good enough for me.

2. It has an iconic sound

I’m a sucker for something unique, and in that iconic rumble, caused by this Boxer engine’s
unequal length headers, the Impreza has a very individual soundtrack. When an Impreza revs its engine, even part-time petrolheads within earshot will just know that a Scooby is coming into view.

3. It’s more understated

Yeah, there’s something to be said for the crazy styling of the Evo, but I’ve always preferred the subtle approach. Sure, Imprezas are famous for wearing rather shouty rear wings, but remove that and it’ll fly under the radar. It’s got the performance, and that’s all it needs to impress.

4. It has a bonnet scoop

Okay, so I know I said I liked subtlety, but come on… selling a car from the factory with a bloody great bonnet scoop is absolutely brilliant.

5. It has a better culture surrounding it

In the UK at least, you only have to spend five minutes perusing the classifieds to see the massive gulf in price between the Impreza and Evo. As such, almost anyone can afford the Scooby, so they’re much more common and easier to modify.

Exclusivity is cool when you’ve just dropped £1m on a hypercar, but at this level it’s all about finding like-minded people to share your car with. The Impreza is rare enough to be different, without being so exclusive you never bump into other owners.

6. It has its own iconic colour scheme

Throughout the ages, petrolheads have associated cars with colours; Ferraris are red, Jaguars are British Racing Green, and Lamborghinis are yellow. If you can become associated with a colour scheme, you know you’ve made an impact, and with the Mica Blue body work/gold wheels combo, the Impreza has a suitably unique signature paint job.

7. There are loads of cool special editions

From the moment the Impreza became dominant in rally at the hands of Colin McRae, Subaru began building special editions to capitalise on that success. In the UK it kicked off with the Series Colin McRae, but there were countless specials including the RB5, P1 and R205. Perhaps the most iconic of all is the 22B (above), which was built to celebrate Subaru’s 40th anniversary and its third successive WRC title. It’s the perfect blend of super saloon practicality, aggressive stance, and blistering performance, thanks to the 280bhp 2.2-litre engine. So. Much. Want.

8. It still looks badass in hatchback form

Much was made about the WRX ditching its saloon styling (and Impreza moniker) for its third generation, however once all the drama had subsided, every rational petrolhead realised that it still looked great. It’s not as subtle as some of the earlier models, but particularly in STi guise (above), it wears its chunky bodywork well.

9. It has outlived the Evo

Mitsubishi killed off the Evo this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be making a comeback any time soon (though there have been murmurs it could return as a hybrid, god forbid). The WRX STI is still going strong, and when we drove it last year we fell in love with its hooliganistic personality. It’s a whole lot of performance for not a huge amount of cash – sure its interior would’ve been outdated in the 90s, but who cares when you’re having so much fun?

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Car Culture, Featured, News&Reviews

9 Reasons Why The Mitsubishi Evo Is Better Than The Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The competition between the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI has been going strong since the early 90s, and recently, we’ve been adding fuel to that fire. Here is the second side to the story, and obviously the truth..

Not so long ago, CT staff writer Darren Cassey wrote something that I, and many of you disagreed with. The article was called 9 Reasons Why The Subaru Impreza WRX STI Is Better Than The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and as an Evo owner myself, I had to give my side of the story. Here are my arguments for why it’s the Evo that’s in fact the better car:

1. It’s sharper to drive

Sure, Subaru has been able to make a name for itself through Colin McRae, but he drove a heavily modified STI with all the best equipment and factory sponsorship. He probably had to replace the entire chassis and suspension to make it a frontrunner. The 2015 STI has a bit of improved steering and suspension over previous generations, but any reviews and first-hand experiences say the Evo still feels sharper and grounded while still being light.

If you buy a stock Evo, you can have the better handling without spending the extra money if you can’t afford it. It is well known that the chassis is more responsive in the Evo, and the S-AWC creates the best possible traction in all scenarios. In fact, you’ll feel more of the road, and it unknowingly makes the beginner driver improve more quickly. It’s confidence inspiring.

2. The noise is better

If you’re looking for a car that always sounds like it’s trying to clear its throat, you’ve found the right one in purchasing a STI. The reason why everyone knows when the STI is coming is because they’re searching for the car that sounds like it is, in a raspy way, rapidly misfiring.

On the other hand, is the smoother, low grumble of the Evo. Even stock these cars give you the satisfaction that you’re driving a
brilliantly quick car. If you’re looking for something that lets the neighbours know your Evo is home before they see you, there are loads of aftermarket exhausts that seal the deal without annoying the entire block; or having them look for the teenagers in a riced-out Civic.

3. It’s more understated

You can’t tell me the STI is more understated. Look at the picture. Tell me that this is not a sleeper. Go ahead, I dare you.

4. Evos have a bonnet scoop too, and it’s better

Yes, the STI has a bonnet scoop. The Evo has a bonnet scoop, too (in fact, it has two more practical vents on the hood than the STI). And it’s more streamlined. As the driver you can even see across the hood to the other side of the car – there isn’t anything there to block your view!

Plus, the Evo has functional fender vents that aid in cooling the brakes and venting air normally trapped in the wheel well, and, of course, add to the rally looks of the car.

5. Evo owners aren’t snobs

This probably depends upon the country, but certainly in the US it feels as though many STI owners around do not understand that the competition between the STI and the Evo is what makes the cars succeed; they tend to be snobby and stick to their own car club. The competitiveness, though, is what has driven the manufacturers to build the best cars possible, and what has pushed them to the top for all of these years. Owners of both brands should be, even considering brand loyalty, praising each other’s work. The Evo culture here is doing exactly that.

And, although it may surprise you, the majority of STI owners I have spoken with at car meets and competitions admit they wish they had an Evo. The Evo is STI-owner approved.

6. Who cares that the Impreza has its own colour scheme?

I will admit I grew up wanting the exact iconic colour scheme of gold rims on Subaru Blue. It is iconic – I’ll give them that. Subaru has done a great job branding using that paint arrangement. However, don’t just throw the Evo out because they don’t have an explicit colour scheme. They’ve branded themselves with their overall looks; they are not hiding behind specific colours.

The body kit on the Evo X SSS package has it all – it’s sporty, sexy, and sleek. The front lip not only is a functional aid in
aerodynamics, it gives the stock Evo the lowered aggressive look. The side skirts add width and make the body flow from front to back, and the spoiler is just big enough without being over-the-top (ahem 2015 STI ahem). The newest STI just looks like an Evo and a Civic SI made a baby.

Let us not forget about those Recaro racing seats that come with the stock Evo. Oy vey those are comfortable and snug for tight, fast cornering – even for a woman’s hips! I’ve done multiple 2500-mile road trips in those seats; I know they’re comfortable. But let’s face it, why are you buying this type of car if you aren’t going to drive hard? You don’t want the no-name plush seats with somewhat functionality, you want the racing seats.

7. No limited edition Evos = a good thing

Yes, Subaru has done well by offering Limited Edition and special occasion STIs. But who has that money to throw down for one of those? And if you can buy one, you’re going to be too afraid to drive it hard for fear of it losing value! What’s a rally car without the rally?Or, buy the Evo. No limited edition. No special authenticated plaque. If you care about a special colour scheme, have it custom done. Then take all of that extra money you didn’t spend on the Limited Edition Subaru and throw it into modding the crap out of your already awesome Evo. Then it truly is a special edition.

8. It still looks awesome in hatchback form

Just in case you haven’t stepped outside your Subaru bubble recently, Mitsubishi also has a hatchback. It might not be as aesthetically pleasing, but when it boils down to it, is Subaru making the hatchback anymore? Nope. Besides, a hatchback is for practicality. It’s said that the STI is a more practical, friendlier daily driver. That may be so, but I have two points here that may make you look twice at the Evo instead.

1) My Evo is a daily driver. It’s comfortable for long treks (see my bit about the seats prior) yet track ready when I need it to be.

2) I can fit a rear-facing car seat and a stroller in my car (yes, in the ‘small’ trunk without removing the sound system). What is more practical than a family car? If you need to haul something bigger than what can fit in the car, buy a truck.

9. The STI has outlived the Evo

We all heard the news that Mitsubishi has discontinued the Evo X. Yes that means the STI is the last one standing, but is it the best one left? Or just left? From the very beginning Mitsubishi and Subaru were battling, producing the Lancer Evolution versus the WRX STI- specific rivalry in 1993. Ever since their induction the STIs have been playing catch-up to the Evo, it’s not a secret.

Subaru producing the STI with no direct competitor is only going to increase the price of your STI while limiting the pressure on Subaru to produce a better car. I mean, c’mon, Mitsubishi didn’t stop producing the Evo because it was losing to Subaru and the STI.

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