2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Can’t We Keep It Longer?

21 Apr 2010 | 4,654 views | No Comment
This week was a bit blue at our corporate offices here at Automobile Journal. We had to give up one of our favorite toys--the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander. mitsubishi outlander Mitsubishi’s products have always been among our favorite rides of choice, and some of us have wicked grins when we think about the Evo we had to play with last year. But the new Outlander was a big surprise for us. It’s astonishing how much Mitsubishi has done to improve this car, which, after all, has only been with us a couple of years in its second generation. When a car company can make the best of limited resources and be skilled enough to make only changes that really matter, that’s a good thing. Ford’s good at this, Porsche is good at it, and now it’s clear Mitsu’s good at it, too. Not that last year’s model was anything to sniff at. It was a good product. But the Outlander we had back then suffered from a touch of “the rattles,” moderate engine noise, and, as we recall,  only average refinement, what with the so-so nature of interior materials, fit and finish, etc. But this Outlander felt rugged, solid, put together as tight as a drum, and with an interior that was far better than what we had in the previous model. 2010 mitsubishi outlander This new one had a lovely, deep exhaust note, comfy seats, strong acceleration, and an overall sophisticated, classy look thanks to tasteful applications of chrome around the windows, nice, new wheel designs, and a tough, aggressive looking front end patterned after the fabled Evo which made the Outlander look like one cool ride. It’s clear, for instance, that a lot of attention was paid to the interior. The seats look and feel better, the door panels look more expensive, and the instrument panel; gauges have been changed. You’ll see more soft touch materials throughout the updated Outlander, and we really liked the contrasting stitching used on the seats and elsewhere. Equipment wise, the engine has a few more horsepower, and now there’s a hands-free link system which lets you operate your cell phone and use your audio files by employing voice commands. The multi-communications system is terrific, although the buttons are too small, and we would prefer conventional dials and switches here instead. But with this system you can get things like the barometric pressure, latitude and longitude, fuel; economy, an altimeter, and a system to help you monitor and prepare for maintenance. There’s also an improved front differential system that can vary torque between the front wheel to make the most of the car’s traction. Our test car was a 2010 Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC, done in a dark blue shade called Cosmic Blue. It had a base price of $29,250. That included a 230 horsepower, 3.0 liter V-6, six speed Sportronic automatic transmission,  drive mode system selected that used a handy dial to adjust for tarmac and snow, and a lock feature for the differential for optimal off-roading, a sunroof, a terrific Rockford Fossgate audio system, hill start assist, paddle shifters, and a lot of other equipment. It also had a third row seat; more about that later. 2010 mitsubishi outlander Optional equipment included a premium leather and navigation package that included a 40 gigabyte HDD navigation system with a music server and real time traffic feature, and a reverse view camera system. Fuel economy is 18/24, and the estimated fuel cost annually is about $2,100 based on 15,000 miles of driving at $2.80 a gallon.  The Outlander has five star ratings for frontal crash protection for driver and passengers. Because of all the improvements, the Outlander now has a solid, heavy feel to it while still being fast on the road. You won’t have much trouble keeping up with traffic with this one. Cornering and handling are both quite capable, and the Outlander has a brisk, lively feel to it behind the wheel. In addition to the smallish radio controls, we also were bothered by the cumbersome, tough to use third seat; better to do without it unless it’s upgraded considerably by making it more comfortable and easier to fold away. We also noticed one place where Mitsubishi still needs to pay a bit more attention to detail, and that’s the tracks for the seats. You can see all the steel workings and bits and pieces when the seat moves back and forward; it gives the impression of being shabby and a sign of corner cutting. One more positive: we like the fact that the handbrake lever is on the other side of the console for easy access; putting it any closer to the driver makes for some physical straining and cramped quarters as you see on many other cars. We really were smitten with the Outlander; be sure and put it on your short shopping list for crossovers.

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