Last Update: Thursday, December 12, 2013
|MAYNARD'S GARAGE- 2014 Outlander: Mitsubishi's Redesigned Crossover Has Laser-Etched Vibe|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 31 October 2013 06:00|
Photo Credit Creative Syndicate
The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is all new with a starting price of $24,000.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a flag-waving disciple for this manufacturer that is getting wheels rolling again in the United States.
The 2014 Outlander is all new with a new four-cylinder engine and an option for all-wheel drive that evolved from the system used in the legendary Lancer Evolution sport sedan. The redesign adds seven air bags and seats for seven, with a smart, fold-flat third row. It's smart because the large cargo capacity is more inviting than the small, extra seats.
Its traditional wagon-esque shape is now different in the current landscape of swoopy, aggressive lines in most other crossovers. The smooth styling gets visual texture from what look like laser-etched lines on a circuit board.
The treatment implies advanced technology, and many of the latest electronic driver aids and infotainment systems are available.
If nothing else, the pricing should put the Outlander on the shopping list. Sold in three trim levels with two engine and transmission choices, starting prices range from $23,820 to $28,620 for the top-line 3.0 GT S-AWC, today's test car. Building the confidence level is a strong warranty: 5-years/60,000- miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain.
With one option package, the tester was $34,720 with standard six-speed automatic transmission. The $6,100 GT Touring package, included navigation, leather upholstery, Rockford Fosgate audio, power tailgate and adaptive cruise control and lane departure and forward-collision warnings.
So for about $35,000, you can get a V-6, six-speed automatic, Super All-Wheel Control and real-time driver aids in a creatively styled package that is fairly enjoyable to drive. That's something to consider when the average transaction price of a new car is $30,000.
There was much emphasis on weight savings for this thirdgeneration model, which also will be offered as a plug-in hybrid model for 2015. Using more high-strength steel, the structure is more rigid and 220 pounds lighter, now with a curb weight of 3,571 pounds. That's a little lighter than a Toyota RAV4, which doesn't offer seven seats or a V-6.
Among the long list of safety features is a "Top Safety Pick+ (plus)" award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. And top-line models with the Touring Package get a range of safety technologies, including Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control system.
The Outlander is the right size for an active family of four. It is tough and usable but not a blunderbuss in congested, urban conditions. Front headroom is tall at 40.6 inches and the sightlines are unhindered. The turning circle of 34.8 feet is incredibly maneuverable. There are soft-touch plastics in the upper areas that are seen and felt with harder stuff below where it won't hurt to scuff it up. Super-wide high-intensity discharge headlights emit lasersharp white beams. That's an asset usually seen only on luxury cars.
The rear seats recline, there is more than three feet of legroom and the low center transmission tunnel allows decent center-seat comfort. The generous cargo area (with the third-row folded) has side boxes and basement storage.
The GT test car was a showcase of Mitsubishi engineering, but I expected more edge to the performance. There is more than 224 horsepower to be finessed from this 3.0-V- 6 and even its 215 foot-pounds of torque (strongest at a high 3,500 rpm) isn't demonstrative when channeling power through all-wheel drive. This model is, after all, an offspring of Evo, but there's no Sport mode to spike performance. Instead the powertrain is set for fuel economy, which is OK at 20 mpg city, 28 highway and 23 mpg combined, but premium fuel is recommended.
What distances the Outlander from other mainstream SUVs is its electronically controlled Super All-Wheel Control with a "lock" mode for maximum traction. Four-wheel-drive systems are pretty useless without a locking differential, which keeps traction flowing to both wheels on the axle even when one loses grip and spins. The system also has modes for Eco and Snow. Whether trail riding or getting to the ski lodge, S-AWC is the difference between go and no go.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder puts out 166 horsepower and 162 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. With the standard continuously variable automatic transmission, fuel economy ratings are 25/31/27 mpg on regular unleaded.
The Outlander is an SUV in transition from old to new but enlightened by relevant technologies and creative engineering.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC
■ Body style: midsize, 5-passenger crossover ifrontor all-wheel drive
■ Engine: aluminum, 224-horsepower, SOHC 3.0-liter V-6; 215 foot-pounds torque at 3,500 rpm
■ Transmission: 6-speed automatic
■ Fuel economy: 20/28 mpg city/hwy.; premium
■ Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
■ Cargo space: 34.2 to 63.3 cubic feet
■ Front head/leg/shoulder room: 40.6*/40.9/56.4 inches *39.9 w/moonroof
■ 2nd row head/leg/shoulder room: 38.4*/37.3/56.1 inches
■ 3d row head/leg/shoulder room: 35.7/28.2/50.6 inches
■ Length/wheelbase: 183.3/105.1 inches
■ Curb weight: 3,571 pounds
■ Turning circle: 34.8 feet
■ Standard equipment includes: super-wide HID headlights, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, 6.1-inch color touchscreedisplay, satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth phone connection, rearview camera, fast-key entry/ locking with push-buttoignition, dual visor vanity mirrors, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, floor mats
■ Safety features include: Seveair bags (including driver's knee bag), stability and tractiocontrols, hillstart assist, ABS with brake-force distribution
■ Base price: $28,620, including $8254 freight charge; price as tested $34,720powertrain