2009 Mitsubishi Outlander

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Flash Drive: 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander ES 2WD

By Staff of MSN Autos

Having enjoyed the Outlander with its V6 engine and high-tech all-wheel drive, the base-level model was a bit of a disappointment. Priced in the low 20s, the Outlander is one of the lowest-priced crossovers on the market to offer 7-passenger seating. But the third row feels chintzy and cramped, and the operation to open and stow is complicated. Second-row seats fold out of the way for easy access to the third row, but they're heavy and take considerable effort to put back in place. When the third row is stowed, cargo space is plentiful, and the tailgate feature makes loading heavy items easy. Handling is decent, but power is lacking — the 4-cylinder engine just doesn't have enough oomph for a vehicle this size, and while the continuously variable transmission helps with fuel economy, it doesn't do performance any favors. The Outlander ES is an inexpensive option if you need 7-passenger seating, but forgoing that requirement opens up plenty of options that provide better features and power for the money. – Perry Stern

The Mitsubishi Outlander definitely stands out from its Honda and Toyota peers thanks to the edgy and distinctive styling. Our Outlander came equipped with a 4-cylinder engine, which generated 27 mpg in combined driving. Unfortunately, the CVT felt unusual and wasn't entirely smooth when accelerating. When using the magnesium steering-wheel paddle shifters, the Outlander's transmission seemed to react better to the throttle changes. Inside, the Outlander has comfortable seats; nice, well-lit controls; and third-row seating that is practical only for children. For audiophiles, the Rockford Fosgate stereo is an excellent option if you enjoy listening to your music clearly and loudly. For about $25,000, buyers can take a well-equipped Outlander home and know that they got a lot of value for their money. – Joe Chulick

The Mitsubishi Outlander is a car-based SUV, built on the same platform as the Lancer sedan, and although it looks relatively basic on paper, the result is a sporty, fun-to-drive compact SUV. Powered by a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter engine combined with a CVT, the Outlander has enough power for good drivability, and the CVT allows the driver to take advantage of all the available torque when needed. The stiff platform allows Mitsubishi to tune the suspension for a sporty feel and a nice overall balance, combined with quick, direct steering to appeal to real driving enthusiasts. The exterior and interior designs are clean and functional. Although a third-row seat is available, it is complicated to fold into position, and there is so little room that it really makes more sense to consider the Outlander as strictly a 5-passenger vehicle. – Mike Meredith

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BB04 - 8/29/2014 7:26:32 AM