How did you get into cars?
Well, when I was younger, I remember spending hours standing by the highway near our house with my brother. I'd bug him to take me there and being the youngest, I always used to get my way. So he'd take me on his bicycle and we'd watch each and every car, truck or bus pass by and I learnt to identify many different makes and models.
What was your first set of wheels?
A BMX bicycle. I got that when I was eight — it was a gift from my elder brother. It was just launched in my city and I was the first person in my school to own one. I remember how I used to pedal as fast as possible and jump over speed bumps.
When I was a little older, he bought me a Honda motorbike and taught me about the accelerator, clutch and brakes. I was riding it myself 15 minutes later. I changed bikes three times as I grew up and looking back, riding bikes to university, where I completed my master's, was a real pleasure. Since all three of those bikes were Hondas, my first car was a Honda too. I always loved the 1992 model Civic, but couldn't find a decent one so ended up buying a 2004 model instead.
But you always wanted something a little more exciting, didn't you?
That's right, I wanted something with better performance and so I test drove a Subaru Impreza WRX and a Civic Type R. But I got a good deal on a Peugeot 307 with a 2.0-litre engine and a manual gearbox so I snapped it up. I still own it and love its handling and comfortable ride.
Granted, it's a good car, though it wasn't quite punchy enough…
No, so to fill the void, I bought myself this 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer X. I must thank my wife for giving me the push to buy it. The fun and excitement levels of this machine are amazing.
That's for sure, but didn't you fancy something a little more exotic?
No, because it's a wolf in sheep's clothing and that is what I like. I like normal-looking cars with plenty of power and this is certainly that. I could have bought a brand new Mustang or a Golf GTi for a similar amount of money that I spent on getting my Evo X but this four-door saloon and that row your own gearbox was a major pull.
It's a sleeper and it can compete with the very best of them on the road. It belonged to a gentleman from the UK who'd advertised on the internet. I went to check it out and decided to buy it on the spot.
Wow, you certainly didn't beat around the bush. It's a neat and tidy car and has very low mileage…
When I bought it, it just had 22,000km on the clock. The body had a couple of minor scratches otherwise it was perfect and best of all, it was stock.
But I came pretty close to buying a Subaru WRX saloon in my favourite shade of blue. I didn't and thought I'd regret that decision but then along came this Evo X, which is far better than a WRX in my opinion and so I was delighted.
What impresses you most about it?
Its handling and the responsive steering. I am able to take turns at high speed with huge confidence thanks to the all-wheel drive, and the suspension is nice and firm so body roll is non-existent. It really is a gem of a car and I love it.
Since it has a five-speed manual gearbox, it gives me more control of the car. I don't like my left foot going on vacation when I drive. And by engine braking, I reduce the load on the pads and discs too.
These cars are a tuner's delight. There are so many modifications that can be done on them. Have you got any plans up your sleeve?
Maybe but not that much. My wish list is to replace the stock exhaust with a slightly louder one to get a deeper note when I hit the loud pedal. Plus, I love the sound of blow-off valves so I'll definitely put one of those in. Other than that, I'm pretty satisfied with its performance and as I use this car daily, a lot of modifications are probably not advisable as I want reliability. I especially won't go for any cosmetic mods as I love its sleeper look and people are stunned with its performance.
Apart from a slight drink problem (I get 300km back from a full tank of petrol) and the cost of replacing the Brembos (Dh2,000) it has been a delight and I have not encountered any issues with it. Long may that continue.
You'll find fans of these cars all over the world. You must get quite a reaction on the roads here…
It certainly does get lots of appreciation — mostly from me after I stun other drivers thanks to the way it picks up speed and its handling. But yes, it's a crowd pleaser and my friends also really appreciate its performance. In fact, some of them are scared of it.
These cars are not for the faint of heart…
That's for sure. Even though it is a stock FQ300 model with a 2.0-litre engine, it is still capable of competing with some full-blown sportscars that cost a lot more. I love driving it. Trust me, no matter how bad a day you've had, or no matter how stressed you feel, the moment you sit in these bucket seats and turn the key, a devilish smile appears on your face. It engages you so well that you forget everything else and just indulge yourself in pure driving pleasure.
Do you have any favourite roads where you can unleash it?
The track would be the best place, but so far I have not had the chance. But it has so much grip that it even makes the interchanges fun to drive on.
I have a few including an Aston Martin One-77, 1967 Mustang Shelby GT350 and a Dodge Ram 1500.
- Name Mian Muhammad Fayyaz
- Job IT project manager
- From Pakistan
- Wheels 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
- In the UAE Eight years