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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Review +VIDEO


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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER VEHICLE
Mitsubishi gets credit for continued efforts in making the mid-size Outlander act like a contender in the crossover market, boasting over a hundred different engineering and design improvements for the 2016 model. Price can be another alluring factor, claiming it can beat out what the Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento and Ford Escape can offer for similarly equipped trims.

I drove a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander with the larger 224-horsepower 3-liter V6 engine paired to a six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission featuring paddle shifters and Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) with Active Front Differential. Available in three trim grades – ES, SE, SEL and GT– my top-of-the-line Outlander GT came with the following standard features: leather upholstery; seven-passenger seating; dual-zone climate control; heated front seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; 6.1-inch touchscreen audio display; upgraded Rockford-Fosgate audio system; XM Radio; HD Radio; FUSE Hands-free Link System; power rear liftgate; rearview camera; steering-wheel mounted controls; paddle shifters; sunroof; roof rails; push-button start; LED head and tail lights; fog lights; eighteen-inch wheels. Total cost for vehicle described without options came to $30,995.

Of the many great competitors, the 2016 Kia Sorento serves as a suitable contrast where similar price, performance and quality is concerned, so I will pit the Outlander against that vehicle.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Outlander has advanced its interior image over the last few models, with my test drive featuring a pleasing two-toned color scheme (black and tan) and ash wood-like inlays. The grilled also has a tougher look. The Rocksford-Fosgate audio system is one of the best on the market and the leather upholstery is well crafted. But hits and misses are still scattered throughout: sunroof could be bigger; lots of misplaced commands; screen is too small; and I had trouble linking my phone to FUSE. The Kia Sorento’s UVO eServices sync your phone instantly for touch and voice commands – the system also features a nifty Parking Minder app that can actually help you located your car in a busy parking lot, and the graphics still outshines the Outlander’s.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – the Sorento is a pick on this list as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle a 4-Star rating. Standard safety equipment includes hill-start assist, anti-lock brakes, active stability control, traction control logic, and an advanced airbag system with side curtain airbags. A suite of safety technology (Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning) is built into an optional package.




Cost Issues: A base price of $22,995 is reasonable for a mid-size SUV; the Sorento isn’t too far off at $24,900. Keep in mind when you start piling on the options, my fully loaded Sorento Limited trim reached $45,800 – it was extremely impressive, but in cost is right up there with an entry-level luxury SUV like the Acura MDX. My top-of-the-line Outlander GT featured an optional $3,350 Touring Package (navigation and a suite of safety technology) but cost $34,345.

Activity & Performance Ability: On the longish side, the Outlander felt a bit bulky at first with some visibility concerns. The V6 sounds just isn’t on par in terms of response and smoothness with most V6 engines in its class, but will deliver you roughly 21.4 miles-per-gallon in combined highway and city driving with all-wheel control – 23 is their claim, but it’s still a great number. The secret is two-fold: the S-AWC can be turned off and there is an ECO mode. As far as the Kia Sorento is concerned, I have reported the 2016 model to offer a more robust ride and a more secure feel with due to enhanced rigidity and higher strength steel. Setting up both these vehicle’s third-rows is a tedious task and requires sliding second row before folding it flat in order to pull-up third row cargo floor seats.

The Green Concern: In regards to V6 fuel economy, the Outlander beats the Sorento – in fact it stays very competitive at 20-city and 27-highway for a combined 23 miles-per-gallon. The Kia Sorento’s slightly larger 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 gets 17-city and 34-highway for a combined 19 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The Mitsubishi clearly features alluring looks, fuel economy and price, but comes up short here and there with performance and interior conveniences. The mid-size SUV market is a competitive one with some high-priced models, but in terms of similarly priced vehicles you need to carefully inspect the Kia Sorento and even the Mazda CX-9 before you settle on the Outlander.

©2015 Katrina Ramser

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