During a recent trip back to New Zealand, René needed some wheels. One cheeky Facebook post later and he was rolling around in a vehicle worthy of New Zealand roads!

With a few personal things going on in New Zealand lately, I needed to head back home for a week to sort a few things out. The only hitch, though, was that I no longer have wheels in New Zealand as I sold my track Civic to move and work in Sydney. Well, when I say I didn’t have wheels to use, I mean that I didn’t have anything fun to drive! Let’s be honest, New Zealand has beautiful winding roads north of Auckland where I was going to be staying, so the current Honda Odyssey on offer wasn’t up to par. After posting a cheeky ‘wanted’ post to Facebook, photographer Erron Soon contacted me and told me I could use his Mitsubishi Evo IX MR FQ360, which NZ Performance Car featured here

Seeing as we’ve featured it in the past, I wasn’t too interested in the specs, but rather what it would be like driving an Evo such as this around for 10 days. It’s nearly on the ground, it’s extremely fast, and it makes all the right noises. The perfect practical car to get everything done while I am home right? Yeah, sure … 

When I picked the Evo up from Erron, what was instantly evident was that it was rigid. This is thanks to both the HSD coilovers set up fairly firm and low, but also thanks to the bolt-in roll cage. It also doesn’t help that the 19x10-inch Rotiform TMB Directionals are wrapped in 234/40R19 Falken FK452 tyres. Avoiding potholes became second nature I will admit, as I had strict instructions not to scratch, damage, or kerb the Rotiforms! 

Now, Erron mentioned in his Daily Driven feature that, to him, the ‘FQ’ of FQ360 means ‘F**king Quick’, and after driving it on varying road conditions I would have to agree. In the dry, it hooks up every time, no matter the road surface. In the wet, stand on it in first gear and it claws forward along the tarmac, propelling you towards the redline ready for the next gear to be plucked.

In the wet, every gear from then on is dead straight at wide-open throttle. The sensation of being pushed into your seat in first with this sort of power is something I will never forget. The factory 0–100kph time listed for this vehicle is 3.9 seconds, and I wouldn’t think it was too far off that in the wet. Another thing that surprised me about the Evo was that I enjoyed the sound. If you bring it on boost then back it off, it chirps and whistles like its older rally-bred siblings. 

Another cool feature I found useful while using the Evo was this phone set-up that displays all of your vital ECU outputs. Intake temp, boost, speed, gear, throttle position, load, acceleration times, and more can be displayed whenever required. For daily-driving duties, I used this display as I found the mix of engine vitals was most important. 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed pedalling around the Evo for the 10 days I was in New Zealand. There probably could’ve been more practical cars to borrow during my stay, but that was forgotten about as soon as boost came on. Considering just how quick it is, it didn’t use much fuel either. I would just like to thank Erron again for the use of his Evo, I really didn’t want to give it back. It has got me thinking now — I have been put off R33 GT-R ownership lately as they seem to be getting stolen quicker than they are getting imported. Maybe an Evo V or VI would be a better option for my circuit dreams. Who knows! Until next time, guys. 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.