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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC Review

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Model: Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC
Engine: 3.0-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 230 hp @ 6,250 rpm/215 lb.ft.@3,750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic Sportronic
Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
Length/Width/Height: 183.7 x 70.9 x 67.7 in.
Tires: 225/55R18
Cargo volume: 14.9/36.2/72.6 cu. ft. (3rd row seat backs up/down/2nd row seat backs down)
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gal.
Sticker: $32,990 (includes $740 destination and handling charge and $3,000 in options)

The Bottom Line: Although I'm not thrilled with the new corporate front-end redesign, the underpinnings of this crossover make it a serious competitor for the RAV4 and CR-V. It has reasonable comfort, utility and all-wheel drive that can take you anywhere.

When the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover was introduced in 2002, I remember that it was a solid small SUV with decent credentials. We drove it over some interesting roads in the Pacific northwest and the Outlander proved itself capable of handling anything (within reason, of course).

Well, it's eight years later and the Outlander was ready for a redesign. Fortunately, although I personally feel some of the beauty is lost with the new corporate "great white shark's open mouth" grille, none of the capabilities are lost. And, to present another opinion, several people we encountered while driving the Outlander liked the huge grille.

Our tester is the GT version with a 3.0-liter engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic (manual shift capability) and all-wheel drive. The package is very nice, with more than enough power (230 horsepower) and nice road manners.

The engine was noisier than expected on acceleration. However, when the vehicle was underway the noise level diminished, but still, the Outlander has a definite sound. It's not quite a roar, but thankfully it also isn't a buzz.

I liked the "dead pedal" to the left of the brake pedal as aplace to rest your left foot on long drives.

Handling was very good on my favorite hillclimb, both up and down. there's a tight U-turn at the bottom that is always a challenge, but with the ability to downshift manually, we didn't lose any power or torque when it was needed. We also made the trek in full automatic and noticed no loss of performance.

There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel if you want to go manual. Just move the shifter to the left.

Interior ergonomics is excellent. Although I prefer a knob to tune the audio system, the intuitive radio was easy to learn. The readout on the navi screen was clear, colorful and informative.

The Outlander is slightly larger than a RAV4, although the cargo capacity is almost identical. Comparing the RAV4 we tested recently, the pricing is almost identical as well, so you pays your money and you takes your choice.

We had true keyless entry in the Outlander (meaning you can keep the key in your pocket), but there's a false "key" that you use to start/stop. This is great for the intellectually challenged among us who need more than a pushbutton.

There's plenty of room for five passengers in the Outlander, with a flat center rear floor. In addition, there's a compact stowable third row seat that's more like an afterthought. I know I wouldn't want to ride back there, although it might be ideal for smaller children.

Front seats have some side support, while the rears are bench-like. There's a fold-down arm rest in the rear with a pair of cup holders. There are also cup holders in the doors.

The tailgate is a clamshell affair, with a larger top/window section and a smaller bottom. With the smaller bottom lowered, it makes stowing larger objects easier.

Matching the tailgate is a dual glove box.

The instrument panel is clear, with white-on-black dials and red pointers.

In the center console is a rotary knob with adjustments for tarmac and snow. Wouldn't you know it, with all the snow we've had in the northeast this winter, we had a warm spell the week we drove the Outlander.

Despite the inability to test the "snow" setting on the AWD system, we still feel the Outlander is a good SUV with power and adequate size for transporting almost anything, although I'm certain my wife and daughters would love to truly challenge that thought.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate