2007 Mitsubishi Outlander – Test drive and new SUV review – 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Utility Vehicle

23 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander – Test drive and new SUV review – 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Utility Vehicle
Mitsubishi Outlander

The Inside Scoop on the Outlander

Oversized fender bulges that hint at the vehicle’s handling and performance are a favorite styling cue of Mitsu’s talented design team.

I just spent a wonderful afternoon driving the all-new 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander around Bodega Bay and the surrounding San Francisco area, and now I understand why the Japanese love this Sport Ute so much. Official pricing is yet to be announced. Expect pricing to start in the low $20K range when the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander goes on sale in November. A new comprehensive warranty includes 5-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain plan.

EPA estimates: 20 city/27 highway.

First Glance

The new Outlander has a more modern design than the SUV it replaces. Mitsubishi says the Outlander is the first vehicle to highlight the manufacturer’s new design language, capturing the performance-oriented essence of the brand. That performance leaning is evidenced in the large wheel arches, laid-back grille, sharp nose, upswept beltline, and strong character lines front to rear.

The goal was to project ruggedness with sophistication in a clear, simple execution, and I believe the designers were successful in that mission.

Overall dimensions are also increased, with a longer wheelbase, a wider track, and a taller profile for more presence. No question the new Outlander has a strong, athletic stance that was lacking in the previous iteration. There are five trim levels: ES 2WD, LS 2WD, LS 4WD, XLS 2WD and XLS 4WD. Tire sizes range from 16 inchers on the ES to 18s that come standard on XLS models.

Mitsu is even stepping up with available Xenon gas headlamps on XLS versions.

My favorite exterior feature is the rear taillight styling. They are horizontal instead of vertical, and are nicely integrated with the rear liftgate. They feature a multi-bulb setup that is instantly identifiable and delivers a modern feel to the back end.

In the Driver’s Seat

Note the paddle shifters on the steering wheel; they’re magnesium alloy, and are easy to reach for shifting when using the Sportronic transmission.

photo #169; Mitsubishi Motors

The clean lines don’t stop at the outside. The compact SUV’s interior also was completely reworked, and bears the fruit of many hours in a design studio. Cool ideas like the unique flap-fold tailgate that quickly and easily drops down to extend the load floor or the greatly enhanced second-row leg room prove that a lot of thought was extended to this vehicle.

You can opt for 5- or 7-passenger seating, but that third row is strictly a part-time, child-occupied seating arrangement. It’s not the most intuitive to raise or lower — it definitely takes practice to get it — but Mitsubishi is betting that its use is infrequent, and I have to agree; it’s definitely a just-in-case feature.

I like the leather seating comfort, love the ear-bleeding available 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, and think the hard drive incorporated into the system is a good idea, since everyone else has it or is thinking about doing it. (The upcoming Chrysler Sebring will feature it as well).

The navigation system works well, but two nits here: it’s hard to see the screen with polarized sunglasses, and while Bluetooth compatibility is wonderful, linking the phone to the Mitsu system takes some work because it has to be done with voice commands.

On the Road

There is a lot of competition in the compact SUV segment (close to two dozen at last count), and Mitsubishi knows the Outlander has to sell well for them to keep the company moving forward. Therefore, a lot of effort was spent on delivering a quality ride.

The new chassis was designed as a global platform, and while this is the first vehicle using it, the coming Lancer and Lancer Evolution also will use it, which underscores the performance attitude of the Outlander. It’s actually fun to drive around corners because of the strong lateral rigidity, and the Mac strut front and rear multi-link suspension setup do an impressive job of dampening the ride without being overly compliant.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Using the paddle shifters that come on XLS models was probably the most fun, since it wasn’t necessary to move the 6-speed automatic transmission lever over to the Sportronic mode to engage it. And they remain stationary so they’re easy to locate even when driving hard. As soon as you blipped the paddle on the steering wheel, the transmission immediately switched over.

The new V-6 felt strong with 220 horsepower, but as always, I longed for just a bit more torque than the 204 lb-ft delivered, even though you get 90 percent of it from 2,000 rpm.

Journey’s End

Note the cool multi-lamp taillights. Say, why does the bumper have cut lines in it?

photo #169; Mitsubishi Motors

The Outlander has many more nice features than I have space to cover. The FAST-Key system allows drivers to keep the key on their persons and still lock, unlock, and start the car. Available redundant audio controls on the steering wheel, rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, and standard side curtain airbags are just a few more receiving honorable mention.

While I didn’t drive long enough to measure fuel economy, EPA numbers put it at 20-mpg city and 27 highway for the ES and LS 2WD models. Those are reasonable, especially when you take into consideration that the 3.0-liter V-6 scores a California Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle certification.

I can see why the Outlander does well in the home market. It delivers on its promise of a quiet, smooth ride, fun-to-drive capabilities, and what should be a reasonable entry price. Mitsubishi, like many other manufacturers lately, won’t quote production numbers. That way no one can say it met the mark or missed it by a mile.

Mostly what Mitsubishi wants is to have a compact SUV that’s competitive in the marketplace, and one that offers features and benefits the others can’t.

In a few months you’ll decide that for yourselves, but I think the Outlander will serve the company well.

Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander

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