Although not much has changed from 2014 to 2015 as far as the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover introduced last year is concerned, there are new gains in design features and equipment upgrades for 2015.
With its smooth surfaces and crisp, modern lines, the latest Outlander wears a lightweight body that is 200 pounds less than the previous generation vehicle. Visual changes for this year’s model includes a new upper front grille design, front and rear silver bumper trim, wheel arch trim and chrome-accented fog light bezel.
Available in base ES, mid-grade SE and top-of-the line GT models, all Outlanders now are available with Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system; a new brake control and electric power steering for outstanding performance and stability.
For 2015, as in past models, the Outlander has a third row. Even if leg room is compromised, at least it is there. A third row in a compact sport utility vehicle is a rarity, and credit is due the Outlander for its seven seating positions that have been reconfigured for improved comfort/ergonomics as well as for ease of operation of the fold-flat seats (2nd and 3rd row seating sections)
At an official 28.2 inches of leg room, the roominess in the third row approximates that experienced in the rear seat space of a coupe. OK, not much, but parents will appreciate having the option of a third row if multiple younger children are to be transported from here to there. The third row has its own beverage holders and storage compartments.
Outlander also is one of the better deals in the compact sport utility vehicle market.
Prices begin at $23,195 for a four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive ES, move up to $24,195 for an SE, which also has four cylinders, and then to $26,195 for a GT model with a V6 engine. If that GT has what Mitsubishi calls "super all-wheel control" the price climbs to $28,195. S-AWC also is offered on the SE model.
S-AWC means the Outlander is equipped for mild off-roading. An active front differential distributes engine power between left and right on the front axle. There is a center-locking differential.
On normal road use, S-AWC's stability controls helps keep the vehicle on an intended path when cornering and improves control and stability if braking hard. With S-AWC, four modes can be selected and they are Normal, Snow, Lock and Eco.
All 2015 Outlanders have three rows (two rear rows fold flat) and can seat seven. They have automatic climate control, an economy drive mode, power windows (driver's express up and down), door locks and exterior mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel where audio and cruise controls are mounted, cruise control, air conditioning, micron air filtration, hill-start assist (no
rolling back when stopped on an incline for a stop sign), and seven air bags, including one for the driver's knee. Storage capacity is 63.3cubic feet when the two rear rows are folded flat.
This year Bluetooth, a USB port and a voice-activated Fuse hands-free package are standard equipment. Fuse allows, among other things, connection to an iPhone. There have been customer complaints about Fuse so be sure the system works before signing a sales agreement.
Unlike the ES and SE, the GT can pull a 3,500-pound trailer with its 3-liter, 224-horsepower V6 engine mated to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission. There are paddle shifters behind the tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The other two models have a power plant consisting of a 2.4-liter, 166-horsepower engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. The GT has leather trim, 18-inch tires mounted on alloy wheels, heated front seats, SiriusXM satellite radio, panels with wood trim, rain-sensing windshield wipers, remote keyless entry and ignition, high intensity discharge headlights and LED taillights.
The GT's V6 engine performed admirably and economically during the test week. Usage of premium unleaded gasoline averaged 25 miles per gallon with two persons aboard and travel was evenly divided between suburban roads and interstates. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the GT at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
A suspension system with stabilizer bars, struts in front and multilinks in the rear is standard for a unibody SUV and provided a balanced ride. Insulation factors are nothing to brag about. It takes some effort for a driver to converse with a companion in the front passenger seat. Engine noise is not the culprit. It is the exterior noise.
Brakes with single piston calipers control 11.6-inch ventilated discs in front and 11.9-inch solid discs in the rear. In automotive media testing, they have stopped this crossover sport utility from a speed of 60 miles per hour in 123 feet. For a vehicle of this size and weight, that is average.
A 16-inch spare tire is stored underneath, and the GT also has skid plates. Cruise control, air conditioning (zoned), lighted vanity mirrors on visors plus reading lights front and rear, floor mats, air filtration and wood and metal trim are among the amenities.
On the safety side, there are traction and stability controls, a four-wheel antilock braking system, air bags in front (including driver knees), sides and overhead for two rows, fog lights in front, headlights that sense dusk, headrests serving two occupants in front, three in the middle row and two in the rear row. Third-row headrests are foldable so the split seats and fold to create a flat load floor. Wipers also service the rear liftgate fixed window.
There are two power outlets, one in front and the other in the lighted cargo area which also has tiedowns.
A $6,100 option package includes an intuitive next-generation High-Definition navigation system with color seven-inch touch screen, 3D mapping and real-time traffic, roof rails, power liftgate that's activated from the driver's seat or by the FAST-key entry remote fob, driver's seat and glass tilt and slide sunroof . The package also upgrades the sound system from 140 watts to a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate affair with nine speakers, a lane departure warning system and adaptive cruise control.
A total of six exterior paint colors are offered, including shades titled Copper Metallic, Labrador Black Mica and Diamond White Pearl.
Warranty coverage is five years or 60,000 miles and 10 years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain. The warranty is transferable and includes 24-hour assistance for five years or unlimited mileage. For information, visit www.mitsubishicars.com.
Vehicle: GT S-AWC model of 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
Type: four-wheel-drive, four-door, seven-passenger midsize sport utility vehicle
Engine: 3-liter, single overhead cam, 224-horsepower V6
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel: premium unleaded recommended
Fuel tank: 16.6 gallons
Towing: 3,500 pounds
Tires, wheels: 18-inch
Brakes: discs, 11.6-inch ventilated front, 11.9-inch solid rear, single piston calipers
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length: 183.3 inches
Width: 71.3 inches, includes mirrors
Ground clearance: 8.5 inches
Height: 66.1 inches
Weight: 3,571 pounds
Cargo: 63.3 cubic feet maximum, 34.2 cubic feet behind upright second row and flattened third row, 10.3 cubic feet behind upright second and third rows
Leg room: 40.9 inches front, 37.3 inches second row, 28.2 inches third row
Turning circle: 34.8 feet
Suspension: struts front, multilinks rear, stabilizer bars
Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles on