First of all, what’s with the beeping? For some reason unknown to me, if you want to change the temperature for the HVAC every degree makes a beeping sound. Beep-beep-beep. Increase the fan speed? Beep-beep-beep. Combine this with the LDW and this thing sounds like R2-D2 at a Morse Code convention (Sorry about that. Let’s move on.) I’d guess it’s so the driver can know they are adjusting the temp without having to look at the control. Fine, but unnecessary. There’s enough pointless noise in the world. No reason to add to it. Nitpicking aside, the air conditioner/heater controls are easy to master and work just fine. Instead of beeping buttons I would prefer dials or knobs, but it’s no big deal.
The backup camera is pretty good. Even in wet conditions it is easy to see where you are heading, and the distortion is not so great that it’s hard to tell how close you really are to giving that Mini behind you a nasty dent. One annoyance is at times the parking guidelines disappear. No rhyme or reason. I investigated and I haven’t accidentally pushed something that turns it off, nor is it a kind of proximity error. It just sometimes isn’t there.
The navigation system has not led me down any shady roads or gotten me lost yet, but oftentimes the lag in inputting addresses or information takes way too long. A few days ago the screen froze while trying to input a “Point of Interest.” I had to restart the vehicle to get off the frozen screen. One very nice feature is the “Go Home” selection that is quick and easy to find and it’s not subject to the speed regulation for inputting addresses into the nav. That means when hastily exiting a crowded parking lot I can get free of the crowd, hit “Go Home,” and I’m on my way without having to pull over and get caught in more traffic.
The Outlander is packed with options for listening to the stereo -- AM, FM, satellite, iPod, SD card, CD, aux input, and Bluetooth streaming. Sadly the Outlander is hit or miss here. The radio tuners work just fine and the HD makes AM a nicer experience. The CD player works fine too, but I don’t have much need for it these days. The SIRIUS satellite radio pumps out the compressed satellite sound and comes in really handy when following a breaking news event (CNN channel 115) or if I need my bi-monthly Whitesnake fix (Hair Nation channel 39). The SD card slot I’ve never tried. Not sure there’s a lot of SD card music people here in the U.S.
The iPod feature is unusable with my device. The first (and last successful time) I connected my iPod it took more than 45 minutes to read the device so it could begin playing. The iPod has 160 GB of music so I can kinda see why it took so long, but once it was connected, searching for and selecting music to play was another lag-filled nightmare. It absolutely killed the experience for me. Since disconnecting the iPod I have not been able to get it to interface again. I’ve been in many vehicles here at Motor Trend and quite a few of them were able to easily handle the large iPod. All Audis are a delight when dealing with an iPod interface and the Kia Forte had no problem with the device. It’s more than possible to do this right and it’s a shame the Outlander did not. These small annoyances add up and erode confidence.
However, this is already virtually pointless anyway. The real star of the show will make most everything already mentioned obsolete in the near future. The Bluetooth streaming capability takes the entertainment and navigation nerve center out of the vehicle and moves it to your smartphone, a device much better suited to inform and entertain anyway. I’ve recently began streaming more music and Internet radio to the stereo, and since purchasing a cradle for my phone I’ve also outsourced much of my navigation needs to my phone via the WAZE app. The screen is smaller, but the added traffic content makes it a better option for navigation, and the audio can come through the Outlander’s speakers, making it just as convenient as the in-dash navigation. Ironically, the AM/FM receiver will probably survive the coming in-car tech purge -- so long, CD and SD cards.
More on our long-term 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC:
|Our Car |
|Service life || 6 mo/10,784 mi |
|Average fuel economy || 26.0 mpg |
|CO2 emissions || 0.75 lb/mi |
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ || 24/29/26 MPG |
|Energy consumption || 130 kW-hr/100 mi |
|Unresolved problems || None |
|Maintenance cost || $191.15 (change oil, rotate tires, inspection) |
|Normal-wear cost || $0 |