At my house, we’re phasing out television, with the sole survivor a 13-inch Mitsubishi that’s worked perfectly for 25 years. The company’s cars and SUVs aren’t quite that bulletproof, but almost. Mitsubishi vehicles are always distinctive-looking, and they are designed and engineered with care. I think the company’s niche position in the U.S. market results from fuzzy marketing, not inadequacy of the products.
The Outlander crossover, with refreshed styling and a few other upgrades for 2010, feels heavier, more substantial and safer than most crossovers its size.
The rear cargo area is huge, and it’s accessed by a thoughtfully conceived two-piece tailgate. Upper trim levels with leather upholstery are really posh for a nonluxury crossover this size.
And if this is important to you, the premium Rockford-Fosgate stereo with 10-inch subwoofer is hard to beat. It’s a potent, thumpy system you hope the teenage boy next door never gets his hands on.
The base Outlander engine is an adequate but not entertaining four-cylinder. I prefer the three-liter six, juiced up 10 horsepower to 230 this year, and liquid-smooth six-speed automatic. Handling and on-road dynamics are excellent for this class of SUVs, which are typically just tall station wagons with optional all-wheel drive.
The Outlander all-wheel drivetrain is more sophisticated, with a system that switches to optimize traction for pavement or snow, but better yet, provides a differential lock for when the vehicle gets stuck. You may never use the lock, but if the need arises, it can be a face-saver and even a lifesaver.
Base models have an attractive interior, but
Continued from D the optional leather package adds stitched leather on the dashboard and the luscious seats. This compact crossover is one of the best at accommodating tall drivers and those with larger-than-average girth.
My Outlander test model included optional rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers, un- usual in this class of vehicle.
Outlander prices range from $21,500 to about $34,000. And here, too, brush up on your horsetrading skills. The discounts should be there at your demand.