For a long time Mitsubishi has felt like a one-hit wonder, trading off the credibility hard earned by its Evolution models on the world rallying stage. The company has taken that trading to new heights with its most recent models, slapping the Evo face on its cars whether it suits or not. It's inappropriate on a £10k supermini, but might just work on the saloon the Evo is nominally based on, the Lancer.
It works, just about, lending the Lancer some of that credibility - Evo owners might feel like they are seeing their dad in hip hop clothes for the first time, but for Lancer buyers the looks should work in their favour. Whether you like the aggressive styling or not is another matter, but that's down to personal taste.
The Lancer is very roomy inside, and the interior materials made of solid stuff. Normally hard-wearing would be used as some kind of euphemism for cheap plastics, but that's not quite the case here with an interior that is of good quality but genuinely feels robust enough to stand up to a bit of abuse.
Apart from slightly compromised headroom in the rear seats, the Lancer offers a generous amount of space compared to class rivals. If you don't plan on taking any tall passengers it would be ideal. The boot is in a similar situation, offering plenty of space yet slightly compromised by the layout and intrusion of the rear wheel arches.
Dynamically, although the Lancer's chassis does offer plenty of grip, the package is let down by steering that is over-assisted and feels far too light, and sports suspension that comes as standard and offers a bone-shakingly firm ride. If you were driving one of the sporting Evo models this would be fine, but in a family saloon you don't want the car to be constantly buzzing with the state of the UK's roads.
The engine figures are fairly average across the board, so your choice of motor will largely be down to taste. The issue here is the amount of engine and road noise the car lets in - you'll be driven to distraction over longer journeys with the levels of noise getting through. This is a shame, because it spoils what is otherwise highly competent motorway cruising.
The Lancer doesn't quite make sense here - if you want an Evo you should probably just buy one of those instead.