Smooth transmission, quality 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 all come standard with front-wheel drive, while the SE can also be outfitted with All-Wheel Control (AWC). The top-of-the-line Outlander GT comes only in Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control System (S-AWC for short). The 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.
The Outlander is loaded with safety features that make it smart buy. 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 air conditioning, cruise control, power doors and windows and a 6-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.
Following a complete refresh last year, the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander receives almost no significant changes. ES and XLS models are no longer available with all-wheel drive, leaving only the SE and GT trims as the AWD options.
The Mitsubishi Outlander has a lot of features for its price bracket and will give its Kia Sorento rival 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 blurs 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 race car its Lancer Evolution stable mate is, the Outlander reveals itself to have similar bloodlines but with crossover-utility practicality.
Vehicle Price: 22,805.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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