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My Blue Heaven
Subdriven Compares The STi, Evo and R32
by: Travis Kriza

Last edited: 06.03.03
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R32 Overview
Evo Overview
STI Overview
Time to Compare Pt.1
Time to Compare Pt.2
Performance Comparison
The Final Element
Counter Points
Time to Compare

Obviously, many of our readers will want to know who came out on top in our performance numbers. Sorry, I'm going to make you wait so we can tackle some other differences first. First we’ll tackle some creature comfort comparisons for those of you who actually want to drive a car on the street (who would've thought!) and lead into our performance comparison.

The Street
Raise your hand if you like to drive a race car every day. Okay, while some of these cars are the basis for race cars (or namely rally cars), they aren't quite like driving a full out race car on the street. But they can be almost as much fun. But where do you draw the line where comfort ends and your fun begins?

For most of us, the drive starts by getting in the car and sitting down. None of these cars provide a problem with that. All three cars can seat 4 people, albeit the R32 would be a bit cramped and I personally wouldn't suggest letting anyone other than kids or small adults go in the back of that R32. This is actually the greatest blessing the R32 has: 2 doors. Let your friends take their own car for a change.

When sitting in any of these cars, size can make a great difference in comfort. I myself am not small, weighing in near 230lbs and being around 6'1". I found each of the cars to be very supportive in seating and preventing me from sliding around. However, the R32’s Konig seats provide extreme side bolstering which proved to be somewhat uncomfortable when being pushed around. The EVO’s Recaros provided the perfect blend of snugness and comfort, whereas the STi seats seemed to be the least restrictive but still supportive and comfortable. Smaller drivers would most likely be most at home in the R32 and EVO's seats whereas the STi seats seem to be made for big people like me.

After sitting down, adjusting most of the seats proved easy and quick. Both the STi and R32 had simple and quick adjustments to get into a comfortable driving position. However, I found the Evo's seat adjustment cumbersome, actually having to exit the car to adjust the seat’s lean angle. Obviously, this isn't a big issue if you are the only driver of the car, but it is still cumbersome to say the least.

  What about your friends getting in the back? The folks at Mitsubishi put a little more consideration in for rear seat passengers by providing both an arm rest and cup holders. The designers at Subaru left out this minor detail, for better or worse. In my humble opinion, a four door car, no matter how sporty (unless race prepped) a car is, should cater to the number of passengers it's intended to be able to carry. While Subaru left out the rear armreset, the Evo had not only a fold down armrest but with integrated cup holders as well. Mitsubishi however left the backs of the front Recaro’s to be bare black plastic, remaining unsightly and uncomfortable for any back seat passengers.

After getting situated in the cars, it's time to hit the road. The first and most obvious pluses and minuses with each of the cars laid in their dash layouts. The most lacking in design thought was the Evo. While the engineers at Mitsubishi may claim to have designed a high-contrast and easy to read gauge cluster, in actuality it suffers from poor contrast due to poor color choice that makes visibility and readability poor and difficult. Size is also a bit small and the overall feel of the dash is simply cheap. Both the R32 and STi faired better. The R32 had a clean and easy to read dash with a layout that was comfortable and eye pleasing. In fact, the entire dash and interior shined of a quality not seen in the manufacturing process of both the Subaru and Mitsubishi. This is of course, where the luxury of the R32 stands out. If you want plush performance, this is where it's at. Looking at the STi gauge cluster the first time put me in shock. The backlit gauges provided unmatched visibility during the day and night. The gauge cluster is definitely what makes the Subaru stand out while the rest of the dash remains very similar to a standard WRX with occasional bits of red stitching which remains nice and simple but uninspiring.

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