Upgraded transmission, improved interior; all-wheel drive; family-oriented practicality
The Mitsubishi Outlander has two available engines: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder making 168 hp, available in the ES and SE trim levels, and a 3.0-liter V6 making 230 hp in the XLS and GT trims. The 4-cylinder is mated to a CVT transmission, while the V6 uses a 6-speed Sportronic automatic transmission. The SE, XLS and GT also have standard magnesium paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The ES, SE and XLS can be had in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while the top-of-the-line XLS gets Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control System (S-AWC for short). The new system has the first electronically controlled active front differential on a CUV, which detects traction of the front tires and directs power appropriately, improving both safety and performance. A dial allows the driver to select from three settings, depending on conditions: Tarmac, Snow and Lock.
In 2009, the Outlander earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick; with the same safety systems on board, Mitsubishi expects nothing less in the redesigned 2010 model. Six airbags are standard, as are active stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring and pedestrian impact crumple zones. In addition to the S-AWC system, the GT also has standard Hill Start Assist.
As for the interior, the ES base model has fabric upholstery with 60/40 split folding rear seats, plus manual a/c, cruise control, power doors and windows, and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo. The SE upgrades include a leather-wrapped shift knob and multi-function steering wheel, leather bolsters with sport fabric seats, a 6-CD in-dash changer, and Bluetooth.
The XLS adds automatic climate control, independently adjustable rear seats, a rear seat that can be stowed under the floor, and the FUSE hands-free link system, which allows the driver to interface with a Bluetooth-enabled phone or the stereo using voice commands. Heated front seats, leather seating surfaces and trim, and a power driver's seat are available as part of a package for the XLS.
The GT includes everything in the other Outlanders, plus the standard S-AWC system with active yaw control for even more stable handling, aluminum sport pedals, and a powerful 710-watt Rockford Fosgate 9-speaker sound system. An upgraded leather and power interior package can be added to this trim level, too.
The 2010 Outlander got a complete refresh, most obviously in its exterior redesign. The massive "jet fighter" grille is in line with Mitsubishi's new design language, also seen on the super sporty Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The bumper, mirrors, fenders, hood and headlights all got a new, sportier look to match. The sport styling continues inside, with new available aluminum racing-style pedals. The fuel economy, all-wheel drive, and technology features all got an upgrade, too.
The all-new Outlander has a lot of features for its price bracket and will give its rival, the new Kia Sorrento, a run for its money. Gas mileage is pretty good too, with the base-level ES turning in 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Even the 7-passenger XLS equipped with all-wheel drive gets 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway.
As a ?crossover", the Outlander crosses the line between sporty handling and sport utility. The 4-cylinder engine is aimed at drivers who want sporty styling along with great fuel economy, while the V6 has significantly more horsepower for spirited driving. While it might not be the rally-ready racecar its Lancer Evolution stable mate is, the Outlander reveals itself to have similar bloodlines but with crossover-utility practicality.
Vehicle Price: 21,605.00
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