Long Term Update 1: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Just about every single design cue on the Outlander says "go faster," from the big tailgate spoiler to the side panel lines, to the snarling dog-like nose with bulging corner extensions. It all says "Get out of my way -- new Motor Trend design director (Alan Muir, me) coming through."
But don't be fooled by the aggressive styling of this beast. It's far from sporty.
When I pulled out of the MT garage for the first time, still a little unfamiliar with the SUV, I accelerated and then reached for the hand brake, thinking it must still be half on or something. The vehicle feels really sluggish off the line, with quite a noisy/revvy engine note, which becomes annoying over time. It sounds a bit like a really powerful sewing machine rather than the deep rumble you get from a V-8. The engine does try really hard, bless its heart, when squeezing every ounce of power out of the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder powerplant, especially when you use the paddle shifters to change gears.
It does feel a bit sportier using the paddle shifters going up and down the gears, however, to get any decent acceleration you have to rev over 4000rpm and beyond, and at that point the car is screaming at you to downshift. Luckily the amazing 710-watt, nine-speaker stereo, complete with a massive subwoofer in the back cargo area, drowns out all but the highest engine rev notes.
The Outlander does feels quite agile, with light steering, but push it into a corner and body roll is very noticeable. It makes you feel aware of your approach speed going into a corner. Ride quality is firm, and you feel every bump in the road. I could excuse this if it the Outlander were really quick and benefited from a stiffer setup. But sadly, it's not.
I think my biggest issue with the Outlander Sport on my very short commute to work (about 3 miles) is I feel like I have to drive it hard on the paddle shifters to gain any decent acceleration. Sometimes that's just too much hard work for my quick commute. But when I driving solely on auto, I'm bumbling along thinking Mitsubishi has got this "Sport" thing all wrong.
On the bright side, the cabin is a nice place to be. Visibility out the front is pretty good, however, the thick bottom A-pillar gets in the way. Rear visibility through the headrests is quite restrictive, but technology comes to the rescue by the way of an excellent rear view camera image on the six-inch display screen.
On longer road trips I did have an issue with the front seats, there're made out of a firm foam and offers little real comfy support. I did manage to easily adjust the seats to the perfect height with a pump like handle down to the left side. And combined with the telescope tilt angle steering wheel adjustment a good driving position is easily achieved.
To end on a positive note, I'm very impressed by the high level of technology available. The list really does go on and on. More on that over the coming months!
|Months/miles in service 2/3522|
|Avg econ/CO2||28.9 mpg/0.673 lb/mi|
|Energy cons||117 kW-hr/100 mi|