2010 Mitsubishi Outlander — Review
By James Tate of MSN Autos
The crossover-utility vehicle market is filled with front-wheel-drive, high-riding wagons posing as legitimate off-road wonders. If you're someone who wants a serious all-wheel-drive weapon with plenty of space for your gear but doesn't want a gas-guzzling truck, your options are sorely limited — or at least they were. The 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT has the off-road mettle you need to take on Mother Nature's bad side and save some money while doing it.
SE trim trades those steel wheels for more attractive 18-inch machined alloy rollers, and buyers also get treated to a set of sportier cloth-wrapped seats. Mitsubishi throws in its passive key system on SE, XLS and GT-trim Outlanders, too.
If you're gunning for the ultimate in go-anywhere luxury from Mitsubishi, the XLS is your choice. Along with a rain-sensing windshield wiper system and automatic climate control, the interior gets sport seats with leather bolsters. The effect is a big upscale move from an otherwise low-bucks CUV.
Of course, if you're looking for the crème de la crème of the Outlander lineup, look no further than the GT, which affords you amenities such as xenon HID headlights, a sizable sunroof and excellent leather seats. It starts at $29,250.
Under the Hood
Surprisingly enough, compared with the 4-cylinder, the V6 has considerably more power without putting a huge dent in fuel economy. With 250 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque, XLS and GT iterations are noticeably more capable on- or off-road, and with up to 25 mpg highway, we can't see any reason to go for the four-pot.
The changes go deeper than some leather trim, though. Little details all over the cabin have been revised to make the interior more pleasant. From the GT's solid-feeling shift paddles mounted on the steering column to the gorgeous aluminum accelerator and brake pedals, it's hard to drum up a complaint.
GT and XLS trim vehicles also get enough slick technology to make Steve Jobs quiver in his sneakers. Along with that fancy hands-free entry system, buyers can brag to their friends about a ridiculous infotainment array, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and a media management system that Mitsubishi calls Fuse. Like Ford's Sync, it allows you to pick your audio poison just by saying a song title or artist out loud. Very clever and very cool.
On the Road
The 3.0-liter V6 seems to have plenty of torque on hand, and it's easy to spot a well-judged steering rack, even in the snow. Using the S-AWC selector on the center console, you can set the center differential any way you'd like, ranging from fully locked four-wheel drive to purely front-wheel drive.
Right for You?
(As part of an automaker-sponsored press event, Mitsubishi provided MSN with travel and accommodations tofacilitate this report.)
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side asSenior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.