Saturday Road Test – Bigger Than Some – Smaller Than Others

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                  Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 SEL

                     Surprising In Many Ways    

By Ron Amadon

 GAITHERSBURG, MD. – Here is something you may not realize about Mitsubishi – It is celebrating its 100th anniversary according to the company web site.

 That may surprise many when the company as the company has been trying for some time to establish greater visibility on these shores.

 So it was with a great deal of interest that I approached the upscale 2017 Outlander in the road test driveway. Its exterior style, to my eye, gets a five star rating, not to overlook the jazzy 18-inch alloy wheels.

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 The Outlander is 184.8 inches long riding on a wheelbase of 105.1 inches. For comparison sake that means it is longer than a Toyota RAV4 and shorter than the Highlander.

 New for 2017 is Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert along with Forward Collision Mitigation System with Pedestrian Detection.  

 The audio system now works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Automatic high beam headlights, a multi-view camera system, heated steering wheel and electric parking brake switch are also new.

 Virtually all Outlanders get the 2.4-liter Inline 4-cylinder rated 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque.

 It is married to a CVT unfortunately. Around town the power train gives the driver good pickup, but when quick moves are needed there was a lot of rpm’s but little forward gain. Look for a 0-60 in the 9 or 10 second range.

 The four is happy on 87 octane fuel, and the EPA rates it at 24 mpg city, 29 highway, for a combined 26 mpg. In a week of mostly suburban stop and go driving I came in at 26.8 mpg.

 Occupants will enjoy the smooth ride and generally quiet interior. On a blustery day with 45 mph wind gusts, the Outlander stuck to the desired course better than many others on the interstate. Handling is not its forte but is about what one should expect in an SUV. That is the tradeoff for the smooth ride.

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 The driver is greeted with easy to read white on black instruments. To the right is a 7-inch touch panel for audio controls that are also available on the leather wrapped steering wheel.

 Row two offers seating for three, but two would work better. There was ample leg and foot room even when there was a 6’ tall driver. But headroom was limited for those of the same height. The second row split seat slides forward for third row access but not enough for those less than very nimble. Rethink leaving your Yoga class.   

 Those relegated to row three will find very limited legroom. And in the raised seat back position, the headrests blocked virtually the entire driver’s rearward view. If you wish to fold these seats down for additional cargo room, the headrests must be removed.

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 A $4,000 “SEL Touring Package” included a 710 watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with 9 speakers that would almost rattle the windows. Also a list of safety features, a heated steering wheel, a remote liftgate that sometimes refused to work, a sunroof, and LED headlights among other goodies.

 On the safety front the Outlander received a top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety meaning it received good scores in five crashworthiness tests.

 That brought the MSRP from a base of $27,495 up to $32,390 with delivery included.

 While there was a lengthy list of equipment on the Outlander, missing was a navigation system, and lumbar adjustment for the front seats. The former might not be a big deal to those with Smart Phones but the latter could be important on a long trip. As is, the 8-way adjustable driver’s seat proved to be comfortable with just minor adjustments on a day long trip.

 A navi system is standard on the more upscale GT model.

 Mitsubishi offers a generous warranty: Fully transferable 5-year/60,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty, 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty, and 5-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance.

 In terms of quality construction and materials, around town performance, and an attractive, generally comfortable interior, the Outlander stands out. But it is also competing in one of the most competitive markets in the industry. A reworking of the option packages, a bit more power and a quicker and easier way to create max cargo space would be worthy additions.

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 If you are seeing this for the first time please tell your car buff friends about this Saturday Road Test feature, and my five week day capsule summaries of the day’s top auto news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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