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2009 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

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2009 Mitsubishi Outlander

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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

Despite the fact the Mitsubishi Outlander is a decently equipped affordable vehicle, it could get lost in the car lot due to the fact its just another compact crossover. It must be carefully compared, and I couldn't help thinking during my week-long test drive the best vehicle to do a side-by-side study would be the Subaru Forester.

A 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander with a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) engine, a 6-speed auto transmission with 2WD, the high-end XLS trim (standards include roof rails, fog lights, stowable 3rd-row seating, steering wheel mounted paddle shifting), the Luxury Package ($1,650 with xenon headlights, leather seating, heated seats) and Sun & Sound package ($1,600 for Rockford Fosgate 9-speaker audio system and power glass sunroof) totals to $28,355.

In retrospect, a 2009 Forester with the 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylindar PZEC (Partial Zero Emissions) engine ($451), a 4-speed auto transmission with Sport Shift ($1,000), the All-Weather Package ($400) and a standard premium package that comes with a large, power moonroof, roof rails and steering wheel mounted controls totals to $25,623. Remember, no leather or power seating unlike the Outlander. Both do not have navigation.

The Forester PZEV and the Outlander ULEV engine is basically the same thing; although these vehicles use gasoline, they produce extremely clean (or practically zero) evaporative emissions.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Forester did drop its nerdy look and adapted an SUV sex appeal; the Outlander hasn't really changed its looks since 2005 (it doesn't need to). My Forester model didn't have power seating; the Outlander did (at an extra cost) and leather really makes a difference. The climate controls on the Forester were very basic with only four settings, making it more difficult to maintain the right temperature. The Outlander, on the other hand, had two flexible dials. The panoramic moonroof is a real standout on the Forester.

Reliability & Safety Factor: There is a helpful longer-than-most delayed dome light that comes on during leaving with the Forester; and when the unlocking button is pressed on the key fob, a bluish light casts away any dark shadows under the car. The Outlander needs larger side mirrors for better clearance. The Forester has the honor of being awarded Motor Trend's 2009 Sport/Utility Car of the Year; also it's Consumer Report's top-rated small SUV.

Cost Issues: In a nutshell, a $25,623 Forester gets you cloth seats, a great moonroof, all-wheel drive and roof rails – step up to a limited trim and make it just like the Outlander, adding much-missed leather seats, power seating and a turbo engine, and you'll pay around $28,860 – but the Outlander has a V6 at this price.

Activity & Performance Ability: I had a hard time believing the Outlander had a V6 under the hood (performed on the scale of a 4-cylinder). The Forester's 4-cylinder not loud and whiny. The Outlander has a pull-up or stowable 3rd row; although it's not comfortable, it's convenient.

The Green Concern: Gas estimations for the Outlander are 17-mpg city and 24-mpg highway with the V6; the Forester's 4-cylindar gets 20-mpg city and 26-mpg highway. So go with the Outlander's 168-horsepower 2.4-liter engine instead which will net you the same.

Essentially, you are staring at the same car. I suppose the Forester's panoramic moonroof lends edge; but the Outlander offers a V6 at the same price of a Forester's 4-cylinder (if interior features were equal) and stowable 3rd-row seating. Both vehicles pull at your purse strings by using modesty about being very capable and affordable.

MORE: Mitsubishi Specs, Comparisons and Prices - Mitsubishi Buyers Guide

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2008 Katrina Ramser