Good passenger and cargo room, Versitile interior, Reasonable price
CONS Engine drone, Lots of hard plastic inside
Base to basics Japanese automaker Mitsubishi made its mark on the U.S. market by selling fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient, small vehicles. Much like Subaru or Suzuki, Mitsubishi always managed to carve out a niche in the marketplace selling vehicles that were different enough to stand out among more traditional competition. A few years ago, Mitsubishi made a conscious decision to go mainstream with its vehicles.
Galant was redesigned to go head-to-head with Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Endeavour set its sights on Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Though sales were strong, they were artificially boosted by 0 down, 0 interest incentives. Once that program lost steam, Mitsubishi's overall sales tanked. The decrease in sales wasn't necessarily due to bad product, but perhaps bad marketing and an over-reach of the brand's potential.
Mitsubishi hopes its new Outlander will help right the ship and get sales moving forward again. It's certainly aimed at one of the fastest-growing market segments--compact crossover SUVs. In an effort to help Outlander stand out from the crowd, Mitsubishi aimed a little north of the heart of the market with features like a standard V6 engine and available seven-passenger seating.
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander LS AWD
Base Price: $23,770
As-Tested Price: $26,135
Built in Japan.
OptionsSun and Sound Package
Engine: DOHC 3.0-liter V6
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: all-wheel drive
The '07 Outlander is two inches longer in wheelbase and 3 inches longer overall than the vehicle it replaces. It is available in ES, LS, and XLS trim. ES is front-drive only. LS and XLS are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive that does not have a low range and is not intended for severe off-road use. The AWD system does include a locking center differential for extremely slippery conditions. All models are powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 200 horsepower. It mates to a 6-speed automatic transmission that has shift gate for manual operation.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. ES models include air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry, and power mirrors, windows, and locks. LS adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated radio controls, cargo cover, roof rack, and alloy wheels. XLS adds automatic climate control, third-row seat, Bluetooth cell-phone link, and fog lights.Options include leather upholstery, heated seats, HID headlamps, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, and the Sun and Sound Package. It adds a sunroof, Rockford Fosgate audio system with MP3 player input, and satellite radio. Retail prices range from $21,370 to $25,010. Destination charge is $625.
Get up and Go
Give Mitsubishi a little credit for making a V6 engine standard. Still, the Outlander's is a little smaller than most V6 engines in the class, which is both good and bad. Compared to a typical four-cylinder engine, the Outlander's V6 offers more power and smoothness. Compared to larger V6 engine, the Outlander's V6 gets better fuel economy.
Mitsubishi doesn't quote 0-60 mph times, but they are easily in the 8 second range. This, and seat-of-the-pants observations, place Outlander acceleration times smack in between four- and six-cylinder competition. The engine offers decent pep from a stop and good pickup in midrange passing situations. However, with a full load of passengers or in highway passing situations, the engine feels a little underpowered.
The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and does a good job of finding the right gear for any giving driving situation. Going up hills it quickly downshifts to help the vehicle maintain speed, and on the highway it smartly resists the urge to downshift for more power unless called upon.
EPA estimates for the all-wheel drive version are 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Those are smack dab between four- and six-cylinder competitors. In routine driving expect to average about 19 mpg, but if you do a lot of highway commuting a light throttle foot will easily net 22 mpg overall. Mitsubishi says that Outlander's V6 will run fine on less-expensive regular-grade fuel.On the Road Outlander rides more smoothly than most compact SUVs thanks to its long wheelbase and smartly tuned suspension. The ride's not perfect as the vehicle tends to bound over large bumps but overall it's more than acceptable than most and a good compromise between sport and comfort.
Thanks to fast and communicative steering and grippy tires, Outlander feels quite nimble in quick transitions and on expressway on ramps. Models with 18-inch wheels feel more athletic with little penalty in ride quality. Brakes are strong, but the antilock feature seems to kick in prematurely and that can lead to longer stopping distances on dry pavement.
Like many compact SUVs, Outlander suffers from too much engine noise. It's not that the engine is loud, but that it's constantly making noise--even in mild acceleration. Thankfully wind noise is low and road noise is kept in check except on rough concrete surfaces, where the tires drone loudly.
Behind the Wheel The interior has a very modern and sturdy feel, though a few more padded surfaces would be appreciated. Gauges are easy to read and the control layout is generally good. Despite having a touch screen, the available navigation system is overly complex.
Front seats are soft and generally comfortable but could offer more leg and lower back support. There's plenty of head and leg room up front as well. Outward visibility is good thanks to a command-of-the-road seating position, thin roof pillars, and large outside mirrors. Rear park assist or a back-up camera would be nice.
Second-row seats are adult comfortable and offer plenty of head and leg room. They are also adjustable fore and aft, which is a nice touch in the class. Third-row seats are only available in the XLS. That's OK because the hammock like seat is really only suitable for kids.
Cargo space is impressive for a compact SUV. All seats easily fold to create a flat load floor. Unlike many of it's competitors, the Outlander has a clamshell rear tailgate. This means that the rear window opens up and the tailgate opens down. It makes it easy to load and unload small items, but it also quite a stretch to reach in the cargo bay when the tailgate is down.
NHTSA Crash-Test Results, 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander
|Front Impact, Driver ||NA|
|Front Impact, Passenger ||NA|
|Side Impact, Driver ||NA|
|Side Impact, Rear Passenger ||NA|
|Rollover Resistance ||NA|
The new Outlander is a perfect example of Mitsubishi ingenuity. It's larger than most compact wagons, but smaller and more car-like than most compact SUVs. It offers seating for up to seven and comes standard with a willing V6 engine. Those two features alone make it a standout amongst its competition. Add to that an excellent factory-backed warranty and attractive pricing, and the Outlander becomes a must-see for new-car shoppers.
|Specifications, 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander LS AWD|
|Wheelbase, in. |
|Size, liters/cu. in. |
|Length, in. |
|Horsepower @ rpm |
220 @ 6250
|Width, in. |
|Torque (lb-ft) @ rpm |
204 @ 4000
|Weight, lbs. |
|EPA Estimates, mpg|
19 city / 25 highway
|Cargo Volume, cu. ft. |
|Fuel Capacity, gals. |
5 years / 60,000 miles
|Front Head Room, in. |
10 years / 100,000 miles
|Front Leg Room, in. |
7 years / 100,000 miles
|Rear Head Room, in. |
|Free Roadside Assistance |
5 years / unlimited miles
|Rear Leg Room, in. |
|Free Scheduled Maintenance|