Its rare that one particular element of a long-termer becomes the subject of much ire from almost the entire staff. Our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT, however, turned out to have one such element, with the majority of notes related to the crossover being focused on various negative aspects of the Rockford Fosgate-sourced infotainment system. A sampling:
"The Outlander's iPod integration leaves much to be desired."
"iPod integration is shameful. USB connection is erratic and unreliable."
"No rotary knobs at all. Does Mitsu really expect the user to push the Up/Down toggle, oh, 147 times to browse sat-radio channels?"
"The dial works, everyone knows it, and because you can grip it makes it easier to deal with while driving (oh, yeah, driving...oops). Ditch the buttons."
"The touchscreen nav/audio interface needs to be purged and junked."
It's been a long time since the interface of a long-termer's infotainment system drew so much ire from our merry band of drivers.
Sure, the lack of a knob is annoying, but there were some positives about the system. First, it allows you to enter a destination with the car in motion. Second, I liked the way it showed traffic, using large color arrows in addition to the usual color-coded lines, though photography editor Julia LaPalme felt it was a visual mess.
Once they got past these shortcomings, most staffers had a positively uneventful experience with the aggressively styled seven-seat crossover, though it's not certain if the third-row seats and their shin-crushing 27.7 inches of legroom were ever used. Multiple props went to its tailgate: "I love its split-folding tailgate, a la the Land Rover LR4. Not only does it make loading big objects a breeze, it also doubles as a baby-changing table," commented editor-at-large Ron Kiino.
Praise was also directed at the shifter paddles, with senior editor Jonny Lieberman the most vocal. "Best paddle shifters this side of Maserati," wrote the Loverman. "Big, crafted from magnesium, and mounted to the column; there are a whole lot of carmakers that could learn a thing (or three) from Mitsubishi about proper paddle shifters."
Feelings were largely neutral on the six-speed automatic linked to those shifters and the 230-horse, 3.0-liter V-6 that sends power to this gearbox. Truck Trend online editor Melissa Spiering wrote, "I have no bad things to say about the power of the V-6 or the almost smooth shifting of the six-speed auto transmission," and associate editor Scott Evans felt that while "the V-6 engine looks weak on paper, it actually feels pretty sprightly even with three adults on board." I agreed withEvans, logging that "the V-6 has plenty of grunt despite being on the low end for output by modern standards."
Somewhat surprisingly, given the history of modern Mitsubishis, gripes about the interior were limited. Perhaps it's because everyone was busy raging against the entertainment machine. One recurring complaint was the limited amount of room between the door and the seat controls. Associate online editor Carol Ngo wrote: "If you're wearing a watch or have big hands, it's nearly impossible for you to slide your hands down next to the seats to make any adjustment." Spiering agreed: "The low armrest protrudes out the door, making it almost impossible to reach the seat buttons. My arm doesn't fit."
They have a point; even my watchless, lanky hands found it a tight fit. Additionally, associate photography editor Mike Shaffer was (rightly) perplexed by the location of the seat-heater switches (they're near the seatbelt buckles). My 6-foot, 4-inch self found the Outlander wanting for a telescoping steering column, and there was a persisting issue with play in the driver's seat.
We had no mechanical problems with the Outlander during its stay, and the total cost of ownership was pleasantly low. During its 21,986-mile stint, the Outlander made two trips to the local Mitsubishi dealer for routine maintenance. Total cost of the trips amounted to $255.65, with $63.30 of that spent during the 7500-mile service, the remaining $192.35 on the more-extensive 15,000-mile visit.
Fuel economy was 19.8 mpg. Not great, but not horrendous either, and the Outlander is content to drink regular 87 octane rather than pricier premium.
It's hard to wax poetic about an unglamorous, utilitarian vehicle like the Outlander, but aside from the miscue with the nav system, Mitsubishi hit the right buttons in creating this capable, slightly athletic, and stylish crossover.
Senior editor Matt Stone put it best: "This is one of those instances where a good execution of solid basics yields a better-than-average result. There is nothing about this rig that screams innovation in any way, but it just all works."
From The Logbook
"I love the mini-little flip-down tailgate. I own a 120-pound bass cabinet (the stringed instrument, not the fish) and because the Outlander's mini-tailgate drops down so low, I could lift the cabinet into the back all by myself without issue."
"The design has an appealing semi-technical look, and unlike in the crossovers you can actually see out of the vehicle and
not feel cramped. It's not overdesigned at all."
"I really like it, and it really works as everyday transport with room for five and some cargo. I'd spend my own money
for this, if I were in the market."
| Our Car |
| Base price || $30,015 |
| Options || Navigation and Leather Package ($3000: Leather front and second row seats, power driver's seat, heated front seats, navigation, 40 gb hard drive, backup camera, auxiliary video input) |
| Price as tested || 33015.0 |
| Total mileage || 21,986 miles |
| Avg fuel economy || 19.8 mpg |
| Problem areas || None |
| Maintenance cost || 243.2 |
| Normal-wear cost || 0.0 |
| 3-year residual value* || 13642.0 |
| Recalls || None |
|* Automotive Lease Guide data|
| 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT |
| POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS |
| Drivetrain layout || Front-engine, AWD |
| Engine type || 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads |
| Valvetrain || SOHC, 4 valves/cyl |
| Displacement || 182.9 cu in/2998 cc |
| Compression ratio || 10.5:1 |
| Power (SAE net) || 230 hp @ 6250 rpm |
| Torque (SAE net) || 215 lb-ft @ 3750 rpm |
| Redline || 6500 rpm |
| Weight to power || 16.7 lb/hp |
| Transmission || 6-speed automatic |
| Axle/final-drive ratios || 3.57:1/2.45:1 |
| Suspension, front; rear || Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar |
| Steering ratio || 16.0:1 |
| Turns lock-to-lock || 3.2 |
| Brakes, f;r || 11.6-in vented disc; 11.9-in disc, ABS |
| Wheels, f;r || 7.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum |
| Tires, f;r || 225/55R18 97H Goodyear Eagle LS2 |
| DIMENSIONS |
| Wheelbase || 105.1 in |
| Track, f/r || 60.6/60.6 in |
| Length x width x height || 183.7 x 70.9 x 66.1 in |
| Ground clearance || 8.5 in |
| Apprch/depart angle || 21.0/21.0 deg |
| Turning circle || 64.8 ft |
| Curb weight || 3848 lb |
| Weight dist., f/r || 55/45% |
| Towing capacity || 3500 lb |
| Seating capacity || 7 |
| Headroom, f/m/r || 39.8/37.5/35.4 in |
| Legroom, f/m/r || 41.6/36.8/27.7 in |
| Shoulder room, f/r || 56.4/56.1/49.8 in |
| Cargo volume (beh f/m/r) || 72.6/36.2/14.9 cu ft |
| TEST DATA |
| Acceleration to mph |
| 0-30 || 2.4 sec |
| 0-40 || 3.6 |
| 0-50 || 5.2 |
| 0-60 || 7.1 |
| 0-70 || 9.7 |
| 0-80 || 12.5 |
| 0-90 || 15.8 |
| 0-100 || 20.2 |
| Passing, 45-65 mph || 4.0 |
| Quarter mile || 15.5 sec @ 89.1 mph |
| Braking, 60-0 mph || 126 ft |
| Lateral acceleration || 0.76 g (avg) |
| MT figure eight || 28.0 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) |
| Top-gear revs @ 60 mph || 1800 rpm |
| CONSUMER INFO |
| Stability/traction control || Yes/yes |
| Airbags || Dual front, front side, f/r curtain |
| Basic warranty || 5 yrs/60,000 miles |
| Powertrain warranty || 10 yrs/100,000 miles |
| Roadside assistance || 5 yrs/unlimited |
| Fuel capacity || 15.8 gal |
| EPA city/hwy econ || 18/24 mpg |
| Energy cons, city/hwy || 187/140 kW-hrs/100 mi |
| CO2 emissions || 0.96 lb/mile |
| Recommended fuel || Unleaded regular |