Now in its third generation of sheet metal and power train, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has taken some conservation classes (of the gas variety) while working on its athletic looks. Gas sipping abilities with a rocking audio system make this family hauler a viable option for the minivan-phobic.
Not to be confused with the lesser-equipped ES model, this SE 4WD tester came with a bundle of niceties as standard. Just to name a few:
- Hands free Bluetooth phone and audio
- Pushbutton Start/Stop
- Automatic HID Headlamps
- Rain sensing wipers
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters
- Leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
- Heated front seats and side mirrors
In addition to the above features, the Premium ($2,050) and Navigation ($2,000) packages found their way into the vehicle featured here. The Premium Package adds a panoramic glass roof framed with black roof rails, 710-watt Rockford Fosgate Punch audio system (with 10-inch subwoofer!), auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear camera system. The Navigation system is a 40GB hard drive that is dually purposed as a music server.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter DOHC inline four cylinder engine. It’s mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which churns out 148-HP at 6,000-RPM. You get 145-lb. feet of torque once the rev-meter hits 4,200.
A Love/Hate Relationship
After spending some considerable time with the Outlander, you will more than likely start to love the mileage you’re getting out of the 15.8-gallons of fuel nestled in its undercarriage. With an estimated 24-mpg city, you’re wallet will love how less frequently you’ll hit the gas pump, however, your ears may start to hate the groaning sound coming from the engine bay. You see, in order to get the EPA estimated 26-mpg combined rating, that CVT tends to work overtime, always hunting for the right gearing ratio. The result is higher, louder revs — especially when attempting to accelerate past that crazy 18-wheeler — with very little “go” to speak of. It seems this is common issue with smaller engines mated to CVTs — just check out reviews of the Mazda CX-5 for comparison.
I should probably mention there is a significant amount of wind noise coming from the A-pillars. It’s a small thing that doesn’t deter most buyers at the Outlander SE’s price point (staring at $23,695), but I felt I should mention it.
On the flip side of things, just because something is loud, doesn’t mean it’s it should be hated. Case in point: the optional Rockford Fosgate 10-inch subwoofer. Man, this thing THUMPS with authority! Where were these audio options for family cars when I was a teen?
The optional navigation unit does a good job of getting you from destination to destination. The touchscreen is extremely intuitive, and I can safely say it’s the first unit since the all-new Dodge Dart that I haven’t had to crack open an owner’s manual to figure out a particular feature. If there were any gripes, one would be that the graphics leave much to be desired. The low-resolution screen screams, “1990 Nintendo Gameboy.” C’mon Mitsubishi, you’re better than this.
In all, I found the Outlander a capable errand taskmaster, with its 20.1-cubic feet of cargo area able to easily swallow a Saturday worth of tools to get a DIY job done. The seats are comfy, the interior is pleasing to the eye, and visibility is confidence inspiring. With a 5-star NHTSA side impact rating (4-star in the front), I’d recommend this gas-conscious family hauler for newer parents and parents-to-be.
Oh, and on the TFLcar.com recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it
– Forget it
I say, BUY IT!