Tired of the domestic and foreign SUVs you continually see coming and going? Then take a look at the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
3.0 GT S-AWC ("Super All-Wheel Control"--same as all-wheel drive) SUV.
The roomy, handsome Outlander 3.0 GT has a strong V-6, good roadability, decent fuel economy (20 city, 28 highway), AWD, advanced technical features and a third-row seat--although that seat is best left to kids and is difficult for even limber adults to reach.
However, the first- and second-row seat areas are roomy.There is little cargo room with the third-row seat in its normal position. However, you can fold down that row, and the second-row seatbacks fold down with a 60/40 split. The result of all that is a generous cargo area.
There are a variety of Outlander models, starting with a front-drive 2-liter four-cylinder 166-horsepower version at $23,195.
The strong 230-horsepower V-6 is standard for the GT and works with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission, which can be manually shifted via easily reached paddles behind the steering wheel.
It takes extra effort to enter the Outlander, with its high step-in, and rear door openings are rather narrow. However, occupants get a good view of surroundings once inside the quiet interior.
Front cupholders are placed a bit low, but windshield sun visors are lit. The engine has a convenient pushbutton start, but the front seats should provide more side support. The large fold-down rear armrest contains twin cupholders.
Gauges can be quickly read, and controls are well-placed and easy to work. There are a decent number of storage areas, including a deep console bin.
My test 3.0 GT S-AWC version had a desirable, but costly, $6,100 GT Touring package.
That alluring package contains a power glass sunroof with tilt/slide function, forward collision mitigation, leather-seating surfaces, navigation system with a high-definition touchscreen, killer 710-watt sound system, power driver's seat and power tailgate. Safety items include lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
Some may feel that package isn't really needed. Standard for the Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC are heated front seats, rearview camera, color-keyed bumpers and door handles for a sportier look, 18-inch alloy wheels, tilt/telescopic wheel and a 6.1-inch touch panel display audio system with 6 speakers.
Other standard items are steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, power windows and power locks and large folding power sideview mirrors.
Safety items include active stability control, traction control logic, driver's knee airbag and side curtain airbags.
The 2014 Outlander was made to look larger and more substantial, but weighed some 200 pounds less for better performance and fuel economy.The formerly plain interior with its marginal plastics got soft-touch materials throughout, and the instrument panel was improved. The 2015 Outlander GT has a softer-touch upper instrument panel and door trim.
The improvements helped the 2014 Outlander in the crowded SUV field, although Mitsubishi lacked the promotional firepower to really put it on the map. The 2015 Outlander gets a minor face lift, interior refinements and a freshened chassis.
While the current model's ride is firm, it's supple, and the electric power steering is precise and has a good feel. The anti-lock brakes have electronic brakeforce distribution and a brake assist system for surer stops.
The competitively priced Outlander doesn't get the credit it deserves, if only because it's largely buried under promotional material from other automakers. But that shouldn't stop savvy SUV buyers from checking it out.