With snow in the forecast, I was looking forward to seeing how the all wheel drive Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC would weather the storm.
I have fond memories of my brother’s Mitsubishi Galant which was Import Car of the Year back in the day. I had always lusted after the all wheel drive VR-4 version throughout the 90’s.
But today we have the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo to lust after for an all around affordable supercar beater. And with the Mitsubishi Outlander, you are getting an SUV built on the same chassis, and because of this it handles pretty well. More fun than you would expect for an SUV.
Mitsubishi has created a four wheel drive system that they call “all wheel control”. In their words, “AWC combines electronically controlled 4-wheel drive with Active Stability Control with electronic traction control (TCL) and a tuned suspension, plus an aluminum roof that helps to lower the center of gravity for better handling response.”
So the first thing I did with the Outlander was to treck out in some freshly fallen snow see how the AWC handled. I started off in the front wheel drive “Tarmac” setting because there was only a few inches of snow, and it faired pretty well.
Switching in to “Snow” mode I definitely felt the added grip of the all wheel drive. With the traction control on, the Outlander does all it can to keep you going in the direction you are pointed. I recommend the snow setting for any adverse weather conditions.
There is also a “Lock” mode which locks the differential and provides a hair more power to the rear wheels. This can be used in all conditions and not just at low speeds.
If you spring for the V6 in the XLS or GT, you will also get some power to go with the sport tuned handling. I clocked a 0 to 60 time of 7.5 seconds using the full automatic mode. The 3.0 liter V6 makes 230 horse power and will have you averaging around 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
If you equip your Outlander with the ES or SE trim levels with the 2.4 liter 168 horse power 4 cylinder you can expect a 0 to 60 time of around 9.5 seconds. Fuel economy will be about 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. All wheel drive will deduct about 1 mpg for all models.
The entry level front wheel drive Outlander ES starts at just under $22,000. An all wheel drive SE with the 4 cylinder starts at just under $25,000.
My all wheel drive GT test car with the V6 starts at $27,795. The $2700 Touting Package adds power leather heated seats, 9 speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio with Sirius radio, sunroof, and alarm. The $2,000 Navigation package helps keep you out of traffic and adds a back-up camera. This brings the price with shipping to over $33,000.
The infotainment screen is large on the Outlander and it shows all of the information that you’d like to see. I found it to be a bit quirky though. I’m used to a knob for volume and tuning, and the Outlander’s is all touch controlled with no knob. I also found the navigation interface to be a bit quirky as well, but once you get used to them, they both seem to work well.
The heated leather seats were very nice with temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s during my test drive. I liked the look of the black leather with white stitching. There are two glove boxes and plenty of other places to store items near the front seats. The cup holder to the left of the steering wheel is a nice touch, but it will only handle a 12 oz can or small cup of coffee.
The automatic transmission works well and will be sufficient for most drivers. If you want to conjur up the inter Evo in the Outlander you can shift with the paddles behind the steering wheel.
They are not connected to the wheel, but they are large and long enough so that you can use them even with the wheel slightly turned.
I prefer to shift with the shifter and this is also an option. Just slide the shifter over to the left from the drive position and have at it!
What sets the Mitsubishi apart is that it offers 3rd row seating for two. The seats pull up out of the floor thus making the Outlander a true 7 passenger vehicle. The Outlander is also more of a driver’s SUV than many of its competitors.
One of the best warranties available also sets the Outlander apart from its competition. The powertrain is covered by a 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty and there is also a 5 year / 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.
Looks wise the Outlander is a bit of a “butter head”. I think it looks pretty good behind the front wheels, but the front end is sort of quirky to my eye. But then again big grills are in. Even Audi’s grills have been getting larger over the last few years.
I think the Outlander is sort of the Japanese GMC. The GMC Yukon and Terrain also have big grilles I can say on a positive note that with the big grill, it is easy to recognize any current Mitsubishi, and thus it is also part of their unique style.
Overall the Outlander is a great SUV for someone who needs seating for seven, wants to stand out from the crowd a bit, and likes to have a bit of fun when the roads get windy. As a bonus, the Mitsubishi Outlander has a bit of the Evo built in as well.