2011 Mitsubishi Outlander

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT — Review

This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2015.
By Evan Griffey of MSN Autos
Rating: 8.2

Bottom Line:

The 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT certainly can compete with its rivals in terms of fashion-forward styling. It offers leading-edge connectivity, a pleasant interior and impressive overall versatility. However, it falls a bit flat in the price department. Even so, it’s worth a test drive.
Pros:
  • Pleasing, proportioned styling
  • Impressive Fuse in-car connectivity
  • Quick handling, quick shifting
Cons:
  • Heavy, numb steering feedback
  • V6 needs to be revved to pull 3,780 pounds
  • $29,000 starting point a bit high

Flaming red Mohawks, neon-hued leopard prints and bling-bling jewelry are great ways to shock the psyche and stand out in a crowd. Unfortunately, crossover segment contenders have to earn their reputations the old-fashioned way — by delivering substance. Getting noticed is no easy task in a category that is more crowded than a Tokyo commuter train during rush hour. Competition is picking up as new faces abound and the titans of the segment, the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, defend their high ground.

The Mitsubishi Outlander has been a perimeter player in the segment since its introduction less than a decade ago. However, the automaker hopes to thrust the small sport ute into the limelight in 2010. The all-new Outlander GT leads the charge, with a premium sport philosophy that merges style, luxury accents and connectivity into a fun-to-drive package.

Model Lineup
Though the 2010 model is being touted as a "mid-cycle freshening," the new-look Outlander is more transformational than transitional. The Outlander begins its march to recognition with the striking shark-nose, jet-fighter intake duct aesthetic of its front fascia and its distinct family ties to other popular Mitsubishi products.

The 2010 Outlander is offered in four trim levels; we were on hand at Mitsubishi's press event in Palm Springs, Calif., to dig our spurs into the all-new Outlander GT. The Outlander lineup is anchored by two 4-cylinder versions: the base ES and upmarket SE. Two V6 trims, the XLS and the new-for-2010 GT, constitute the upper half of the lineup.

Mitsubishi has priced the Outlander from $20,840 for the ES to $29,250 for the top-of-the-line GT. At $2,000, Mitsubishi's Premium Navigation and Leather Package is the only option on the Outlander GT order form. The package adds leather seats, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, a 40 GB hard-drive-based navigation system with music server and real-time traffic updates, Diamond Lane Guidance System (which can help guide you to high-occupancy vehicle lanes to reduce drive times), a rearview backup camera and auxiliary video input jack.

Under the Hood
Outlander ES and SE trims are equipped with 2.4-liter MIVEC 4-cylinder engines rated at 168 horsepower and backed by continuously variable transmissions.

A MIVEC-equipped V6 engine provides motivation for the sport-tuned Outlander GT as well as the XLS. The freshened 2010 edition of the 3.0-liter engine uses air-intake improvements and a jump in static compression ratio to bump output 10 ponies, from 220 to 230 horsepower at 6250 rpm. Low-end grunt registers 215 lb-ft of peak torque at 3750 rpm.

The Outlander GT's driveline can trace its origins to the Lancer Ralliart and Evolution models. Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system combines an active front differential and an electronically controlled center differential to transmit power from front to rear and left to right to the front wheels, providing a more sure-footed demeanor in stormy driving conditions.

A dial just behind the shifter allows the driver to tailor the system to road conditions. The Tarmac setting delivers the best fuel efficiency and sportiest on-road grip. The S-AWC's Snow setting is designed to enhance stability in bad weather. And Lock produces more of a 4-wheel-drive effect for trail running.

A Sportronic automatic transmission is also a throwback to the Lancer Evolution line. Its six gears can be manually manipulated via magnesium paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

Inner Space
The GT's cabin is minimalistic in its lack of knobs and buttons, but big on upscale features while offering a high degree of functionality. The interior of the Navigation-equipped GT we drove featured the Nav system's touch screen and three ventilation controls on the center dash and that's it; simplicity is refreshing these days. The GT's premium aura is generated by its stitched synthetic leather dash and door panels as well as a new, high-contrast, multicolor LCD instrument display nestled between the electroluminescent speedometer and tachometer dials in the main cluster. Comfortable, supportive in all the right places and pleasing to the eye, the Outlander's seats — either the cloth or optional leather versions — are high points.

Connectivity is becoming a key component in today's driving experience, and Mitsubishi has an innovative system in the Outlander. The Fuse Hands-free Link System is a Bluetooth 2.0-enabled device with advanced voice recognition for hands-free calling and wireless streaming of audio. USB connectivity has been incorporated into the Fuse system, allowing voice command of music by artist, genre, playlist or album through iPods or USB-enabled thumb drives. Fuse can link up to seven different phones and can access the phone's phonebook or a separate phonebook written to the hard drive.

A 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and an ultrasonic wave sensor-equipped security system are also standard on the Outlander GT. A 40 GB HDD navigation system with rearview camera is also available, which for 2010 now includes Real-Time Traffic (RDS) service with no monthly fees.

Other useful interior bells and whistles include a unique "flap-folding" tailgate and emergency third-row seating. The tailgate design eases access by lowering the cargo area's threshold, which makes loading heavy and/or bulky items as well as pets much more convenient. Emergency third-row seating is standard on XLS and GT trims and optional on ES and SE trims. It's small, even for kids, but does give the Outlander an added dimension.

On the Road
The Outlander GT's suspension and performance-oriented 18-inch rolling stock hit the mark, providing nimble, agile reflexes while retaining a civilized ride. Steering feedback could be better; the steering wheel feels heavy in the hand and a little vague when the vehicle is pushed past pedestrian-type situations. Overall the Outlander is confident and predictable and doesn't try to be something it's not.

The 3.0-liter V6 engine does an ample job of motivating the 3,780-pound GT in most situations, but we were a bit underwhelmed with its onramp acceleration; the engine felt and sounded as if it was straining. Mitsubishi's Sportronic transmission, with its quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts, is the key to an inspired driving experience. The revs can be held in check, extracting maximum performance when the situation dictates rapid-fire downshifts to ensure stability and maximum fun, especially when road signs announce twisty roads.

Right for You?
As the quality of craftsmanship, mechanicals and materials equalizes, it becomes difficult for any vehicle to stand out, or for buyers to decide what is right for them. This is where CUVs currently find themselves. At this point, opinions are swayed by seemingly less substantial elements such as style, the feeling exuded from the vehicle, comfort and security, and so on. The Outlander GT certainly has points to score with its fashion-forward styling, leading-edge connectivity, pleasant interior aura and overall versatility. If the new-look Outlander fires the artistic right side of your brain, give it a test drive and see how it interacts with your other senses.

Evan Griffey served as an editor of Turbo & High Tech Performance, a pioneering publication about sport-compacttuning. Today Griffey freelances for Import Tuner, Sport Compact Car, Car Audio and Siphon.

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BB03 - 8/30/2014 1:33:07 PM