The Mitsubishi Outlander has been completely redesigned for 2010. It has a new look on the outside and has a re-engineered 3.0 V-6 powerplant under the hood.
The Outlander GT, which I tested with a pricetag of $29,250, is a new model for 2010. The GT is the Outlander loaded with all the new technology and available options. It comes standard with the V-6 and six-speed automatic and uses the same all-wheel drive system as the high-performance Mitsubishi Evolution, the all-conquering Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). The GT trim also adds rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon HID headlamps, aluminum pedals, and a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system. The Premium leather package, which will set you back $3,000, adds heated seats and a reversing camera. Navigation remains an option.
In the fully loaded Outlander GT with optional navigation on a big screen and plush leather, you've got a very nice interior. The interior design gives the 2010 model a new dashboard and instrument panel that’s functional and easy to read. The leather seats fit good and the rear seat folds forward to create 72.6 cubic-feet of cargo space. Heating and air conditioning vents are included in the rear, and the rear seats slide giving passengers an extra level of comfort. The GT has a standard compact third row, although the two flip-up seats are as small as they come and only usable for small children.
The 3.0-liter V-6 version has 230 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to a sharp six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Engineers improved the SOHC V-6 (with MIVEC electronic valve timing) by increasing intake efficiency and the compression ratio. It gets an EPA-estimated 19/25 mpg city/highway, and while premium fuel is recommended with the higher compression, the Outlander runs just fine on regular unleaded.
The S-AWC all-wheel drive system provides good control and traction, as well as secure handling in corners. The vehicle performed well in a section of mountain curves and if it was actually the S-AWC at work, the intervention was undetectable. It’s not quite like driving an Audi A4 quattro, but it's still pretty darn good for an SUV.
The only complaint is the warning chime that notifies the driver when the temperature drops below 37 degrees. It gives three loud warnings that are distracting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the vehicle and it takes your eyes of the road looking for why this alarm is going off--I almost hit a deer as I was distracted from the road. Mitsubishi could have come up with a less obnoxious indicator like other manufacturers.
The S-AWC system in the Outlander GT uses an Active Front Differential and electronically controlled center differential. Mitsubishi has a test they use by driving up a hill with the left wheels on pavement and right wheels on ice. The automaker claims that the system is not fooled and will adjust for the difference in traction. There's a dial on the console with three positions: Tarmac, Snow and Lock.
Another advanced feature in the GT is called Idle Neutral Logic, which puts the transmission into neutral when the vehicle comes to a stop, using less fuel at a stoplight--I never detected that the system was at work.
The redesigned 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander stands out from the SUV crowd with its new looks and powerful yet fuel efficient 3.0-liter V6. The Outlander offers plenty of cargo capacity, a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, and all the technology you could want--at a reasonable price.