2009 Outlander New Car Test Drive
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a tidy and versatile sport utility vehicle that offers a choice of a thrifty four-cylinder engine or a responsive V6, two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, five or seven-passenger seating, an affordable price, and an appealing list of standard and optional features, all wrapped up in an attractive and modern shape.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on Outlander ES and SE models, which are EPA-rated 20/25 mpg City/Highway. The four-cylinder engine is matched with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, designed to offer good fuel economy and operating smoothness. The Outlander XLS is standard with a 220-horsepower V6, which is matched to a six-speed automatic with a sport-shift feature, and a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system.
The Outlander can seat up to seven passengers when equipped with a fold-down, compact third-row seat. All models come with a full complement of occupant safety features. The Outlander features an electronic skid and traction control system and a modern four-wheel independent suspension. Its available four-wheel-drive system is designed more to be pavement-friendly than backwoods-capable.
The Outlander can be equipped to be quite luxurious, boasting automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats, a rear-seat entertainment system with a nine-inch LCD screen and wireless remote and headphones. A GPS navigation system featuring a seven-inch touch-screen is available with a hard disk for speedy data retrieval and recorded audio tracks. Formula 1-style magnesium shift paddles mounted on the steering column allow the driver to shift manually, while a keyless ignition system eliminates the need to fuss with keys.
All Outlanders are available with front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (4WD). The four-cylinder version is rated to tow 1500 pounds; the V6 is tow-rated at 2000 pounds with 2WD, and 3500 pounds with 4WD because the 4WD models come with a bigger radiator.
For 2009, a third row, giving seven-passenger seating capacity, is optionally available with the four-cylinder SE model, the factory-optional navigation system on the XLS six-cylinder model now includes a rear-view camera and the hard-disc drive capacity is increased from 30 GB to 40 GB. Other changes for 2009 include some new features and trim details. The LS V6 model has been dropped.
Competitive performance, fuel economy, and interior space along with aggressive pricing make the Mitsubishi Outlander a compelling SUV.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander is available with five-passenger or seven-passenger seating and comes in three trim levels. The ES and SE are powered by a 168-horsepower inline-4 coupled to a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). The XLS has a 220-hp V6 and a six-speed automatic. Both transmissions feature a Sportronic manual override.
The ES 2WD ($20,580) and 4WD ($22,900) come with fabric upholstery, air conditioning, the usual power-adjustable features, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted switches, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with six speakers, 60/40-split rear seat, remote keyless entry, and P215/70R16 tires on steel wheels. A Convenience Package ($920) for ES adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, RCA auxiliary audio input jacks, pre-wiring for Bluetooth, 12V power points in both the cockpit and cargo area, a storage pocket in the driver's seatback, floor mats, rear privacy glass, black roof rails, color-keyed mirrors and door handles, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The SE 2WD ($23,980) and 4WD ($25,380) upgrade with mesh fabric seats with leather bolsters, high-contrast instrument gauges, magnesium paddle shifters, a FastKey vehicle entry system that lets you in as long as the key fob is in your pocket, a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system with digital signal processing and nine speakers including a rear subwoofer, Sirius Satellite Radio with six-month pre-paid subscription, and P225/55R18 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels. Much of this equipment is exclusive to the SE. Optional is the Third-Row Seat Package ($500), which is not available on the ES.
The XLS 2WD ($24,580) and 4WD ($25,980) have automatic climate control, six-CD changer, split second-row seats that recline as well as adjusting fore-and-aft, a third-row seat that stows under the floor, shift paddles, a functioning Bluetooth interface, fog lights, passive keyless entry and ignition, and P225/55R18 tires on alloy wheels.
Option packages for the XLS include the Luxury Package ($1,650), which upgrades to leather seating in the first two rows, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and auto-leveling Xenon HID headlights. The Navigation Package ($1,950) adds a 40GB HDD navigation system and a digital music server with CD/DVD capability and video input jacks. The Sun & Sound Package ($1,610) includes the 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate stereo, Sirius Satellite Radio, a power glass sunroof, and a 115-volt power outlet.
Accessories from dealers include an entertainment system ($1,740), navigation system ($2,410), a trailer hitch ($300), and wiring harness ($80), plus a cargo cover ($155), and numerous other appearance and protection items.
Safety features include front (seat-mounted) side-impact airbags, which protect the upper body from injury in side impacts; roof-mounted side-curtain airbags covering front and second-row seats, which minimize head injuries in side impacts; and active, front-seat head restraints, which cushion the head and neck in rear impacts. That's in addition to the mandated front airbags, seatbelts and child safety seat anchors.
Active safety features (to assist the driver with crash avoidance) that come standard across the Outlander line include antilock brakes (ABS), which allow steering during panic stops; electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which varies front and rear braking force to optimize stopping power in emergency stops; electronic stability control, which automatically minimizes skids during turning maneuvers; traction control, which limits wheel spin in slippery conditions; and tire pressure monitors, which warn drivers of under-inflated tires.