One of the older vehicles from Mitsubishi, the Outlander crossover is also one of their better efforts. Related distantly to the Dodge Journey, the five- or seven-passenger Outlander was updated in the 2010 model year with a new front end and a refreshed interior, while it added a GT model and new tech features, too.
Those new design cues play well on the Outlander's raked crossover body. The shark-like snout bears a passing resemblance to the one on the Mitsu Evo, and the interior now compares well with other crossovers thanks to new soft-touch materials, such as the leather-like padding on the armrests and dash. An LCD screen on the center of the dash conveys some of the higher-tech feel.
A choice of engines are offered to Outlander buyers. The base four-cylinder is standard on the Outlander ES and SE; it's a bare-bones sort of powerplant, hardly adequate to motivate this crossover, particularly through the sluggish responses of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It's also noisy. The Outlander XLS and GT models come with a much-preferred 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out 230 horsepower through a responsive, easy-shifting six-speed automatic with paddle controls mounted near the steering wheel. The V-6 doesn't exact too much of a fuel-economy penalty in exchange for its ample power.
The SE version can be optioned up from front-drive to four-wheel drive, complete with a locking center differential. The GT version adopts the all-wheel-drive system of the Lancer Evolution and Ralliart models, and has a knob-controlled choice of Tarmac, Snow, and Lock traction modes. With its Active Front Differential and electronically controlled center diff, the GT has nearly seamless distribution of torque between the wheels. Good, communicative steering is an Outlander hallmark, and the ride and braking feel are like those in the smaller Lancer--nicely firm.
The Outlander carves out enough space for adults in the front buckets and on the second-row bench seat, but the third-row seat will be tight even for small children. The second row slides on tracks to increase legroom or cargo space as the situations arise, and the seatback reclines, too. With both the rear rows of seats folded, the Outlander supplies 73 cubic feet of hauling room. A unique fold-down tailgate will support more than 400 pounds.In prior tests, the Outlander has earned nearly perfect "good" scores from the IIHS and five-star ratings in the federal government's crash tests. However, with both agencies changing their ratings systems this year, the Outlander's 2011 safety scores are still undetermined. All Outlanders come with front side airbags, side curtain bags covering the first two rows, front active headrests, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes.
The base 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander ES model has the four-cylinder and keeps it simple, though it includes air conditioning, keyless entry, and a 140-watt, six-speaker sound system. At the top of the lineup, the luxurious XLS picks up fog lamps, steering-wheel audio controls, remote start, cruise control, and automatic climate control, plus the new FUSE hands-free link system, controlling audio and calling functions with voice commands. The GT includes, along with other appearance extras, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, leather seats, bi-xenon HID headlamps, and a more powerful 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium sound system with nine speakers and a huge 10-inch subwoofer.
For an in-depth look at this crossover, read our full review of the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander.