2007 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

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High Gear Media Staff High Gear Media Staff  
September 10, 2006
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by Al Vinikour    



Mitsubishi is celebrating its 25th anniversary of selling cars in the U. S. by unveiling the second-generation Outlander compact SUV, and the competition should take notice. Compact in name only, the 2007 Outlander is longer, taller, and wider than the model it replaces. A wider track helps increase hip room. And despite a minimum ground clearance of 8.5 inches, step-in is easy and car-like.


In other words, this new Outlander’s a much stiffer competitor for the RAV4, the CR-V, and the Escape. And with its newly acquired third-row seat, the Outlander puts a foot in the world of true mid-sized utes like the Honda Pilot.


The new Outlander retains the nimbleness, sporty design and fuel economy associated with the smaller size, though. Granted, you are not going to drive around long-legged supermodels in the third-row seat but you can hold small kids captive. (But if you are toting supermodels…hey, where’s our phonecall?)


The Dramamine antidote


I recently drove the ’07 Outlander on the twisty, hilly roads and freeways north of San Francisco , an area where I’d like to have the Dramamine concession. This time the queasies stayed at the hotel: the Outlander performed seamlessly thanks to fine suspension tuning and a new six-speed Sportronic transmission coupled to a 3.0-liter, single overhead cam V-6.

The V-6 puts out 220 horsepower and 204 pound-feet of torque, lifting the Outlander from its laggard four-cylinder roots. It’s still no neck-cracker, but the Outlander no longer needs to be coaxed to get out of its own way.


Mitsubishi uses the same powertrain in all three trim levels, starting with the ES, the well-equipped LS and the sport/luxury XLS. The XLS has steering wheel paddle controls for the transmission, a nice sporting touch.


Front-wheel drive is the name of the ES’ game. However, both the LS and XLS versions can be optioned up to a new electronically controlled all-wheel drive system. Estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway for 2WD models; 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway for AWD versions.


Body language


In terms of personal growth, the Outlander seeks to keep pace with the growing American family, as well as the growing American backside. The ’07 Outlander has a wheelbase of 105.1 inches and an overall length of 182.7 inches. Width is 70.9 inches and height is 66.1 inches. The Outlander’s Curb weight ranges from 3527 pounds for the ES/LS 2WD to 3791 pounds for the XLS 4WD.


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Both the ES and LS come with sharp 16-inch steel/alloy wheels and P215/70R16 tires, while the XLS comes with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and P225/55R18 tires.


Towing capacity for the new Outlander is 2000 pounds for front-drivers, and 3500 pounds with the all-wheel-drive system.

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The world inside


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The Outlander’s interior is a fine complement to its exterior styling. Except for the prison-like 27.7-inch leg room in the third row — those supermodels need be chummy — the rest of the vehicle is quite spacious. Front-seat legroom is 41.6 inches and rear-seat legroom is 39.6 inches for ES/LS and 36.8 inches for XLS.


Flexibility has a place inside the Outlander, too. The second-row seat features 60/40 split fold and tumble seat backs, a 3.15-inch fore/aft slide range and reclining seat backs.


And when it’s all opened up, with the second and third rows folded down, the Outlander’s a capacious little beast. Behind the front seat, total cargo area is 72.6 cubic feet (12.3 cubic feet more than the first-generation Outlander). It’s 39.0 cubic feet behind the second seat and 14.9 cubic feet behind the third seat (which folds flat into the floor when not needed). The bonus is a unique flap-fold tailgate. When lowered it provides a flat entryway to the cargo area and can serve as a seat for outdoor activities. Its capacity is 440 pounds.


Besides the ample cargo area there are plenty of bins and compartments and door-panel bottle carriers.  


The instrument panel is well-laid out. HVAC controls are intuitive and ergonomically friendly. The instrument cluster is large enough for those of us fighting wearing glasses to drive. My objection to the instrument lighting is that it’s red. I know that studies show red can be easier on the eyes and helps retain your night vision. However, I’m not a submarine commander and am not distracted by easier-to-read white lighting (or even blue). With the exception of the ES trim level, steering wheel audio remote control switches are standard.

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Tech frenzy


Mitsubishi has gone all-out to equip the Outlander with tech-savvy features. If you have the cash or the credit score, you can order a 30-gigabyte navigation system with music server; a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium Audio System with digital signal processing; Sirius satellite radio with a six-month pre-paid subscription; hands-free calling via Bluetooth wireless technology; and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system with nine-inch wide-format LCD screen.


Standard safety features include a full array of airbags including side and curtain bags. Anti-lock brakes are standard too, along with traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.


Its new V-6 power, larger size, and high-end features put the Outlander into the realm of a luxury SUV — not bad for a vehicle whose pricing begins in the low $20,000s. Final pricing will be announced closer to its November on-sale date.


2007 Mitsubishi Outback
Base price:
$21,500 (est.)
Engine: 3.0-liter V-6, 220 hp/204 lb-ft

Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front- or all-wheel drive

Length x width x height: 182.7 x 70.9 x 66.1 in (67.7 in w/roof rails)
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Curb weight: 3527-3791 lb
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 20/27 mpg (2WD); 19/26 mpg (AWD)
Safety equipment: Front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction control and tire pressure monitors
Major standard equipment: A/C; power windows/locks/mirrors; AM/FM/CD/MP3 player
Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles basic; ten years/100,000 miles powertrain

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