Long term tests

Mitsubishi Evo MR 340

Last month I may have given you the impression that the Evo was foolproof. I can still recall the exact phrase, in fact: 'It seems impossible to wrong-foot the Evo'. They are words that will haunt me forever, mainly because they're written in foot-high letters on the 'wall of shame' in Evo Towers, and because just a few days after I'd written them, the FQ-340 had a minor brush with a lamp post. This month, then, I'll tell you exactly why the Evo is no match for an idiot in a hurry...

Last month I may have given you the impression that the Evo was foolproof. I can still recall the exact phrase, in fact: 'It seems impossible to wrong-foot the Evo'. They are words that will haunt me forever, mainly because they're written in foot-high letters on the 'wall of shame' in Evo Towers, and because just a few days after I'd written them, the FQ-340 had a minor brush with a lamp post. This month, then, I'll tell you exactly why the Evo is no match for an idiot in a hurry...

It's dark, cold and wet. The Evo's green digital clock is reading 5am. It's Sunday morning and I've got a rendezvous with the 550 LM in Stoke Poges and then I'm booked onto the 8.30 crossing from Portsmouth to Le Havre. I'm in a bit of a hurry. Not the stupid, brain-out hurry that the FQ-340 occasionally draws you almost imperceptibly into, but a slightly groggy, what-the-hell-am-I-doing-up-at-4.30-on-a-Sunday-morning hurry. The surface is greasy but not unusually so, and the Evo's four-cylinder turbocharged engine is gulping lots of lovely cold air.

The A43 between Northampton and the M40 is eerily quiet and I'm making good time: perhaps too good. The motorway is just up ahead, brilliant, just this roundabout to negoti... oh no, oh s**t... please don't hit the... BANG! The left rear wheel smashes into the kerb... but I'm slowing down pretty quickly... maybe it'll be alri... BANG! The Evo comes to a stop with the passenger door and front wing mangled by a very immovable lamp post. Where did it all go wrong?

Well, I was praying to the gods of Super Active Yaw Control within milliseconds of turning into the roundabout and a split second later when I realised there wasn't the room to pull it out of the skid I was leaning on the ABS for all it was worth. It's a deeply surreal experience between the moment you know you're going to crash and the actual impact. Everything went quiet and slowed to Matrix speed and then, just as the rear wheel tore itself apart on the kerb, the noise ramped up to deafening levels and I seemed to fast-forward into the lamp post. The sickening crunch is still lodged in my head.

So, here I am. Backwards down a steep bank, one spoke-less wheel loosely held on by snapped suspension and bits of bodywork lying all around. All the S-AYC, ABS and EBD couldn't save me from myself. Not the Mitsubishi's fault, but a rather embarrassing reminder that even the grippiest and most sophisticated cars can't defy the laws of physics... still, at least we caught the ferry.

Running Costs

Date acquiredSeptember 2004
Total mileage6889
Costs this monthStill waiting to hear...
Mileage this month207
MPG this month20.9

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