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regfootball

2010 Mitsubishi Outlander ES 4 cyl FWD

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Tested..... 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander ES. Gray / black cloth. Demo.....6-7k on the odo.

4 cylinder motor, front drive, CVT transmission. Lightly optioned. MSRP more than 21,500 but less than 22,000.

Highs-

Room and Space - cargo and passengers

Seating comfort, first two rows. Seat adjustments, both rows, including recline and fore/aft in the second row.

Engine does well at highway speeds, once underway and crusing.

Excellent visibility overall and fairly airy cabin by today's standards.

Decent gauge layout, convenient and simple radio and climate controls. Steering wheel feels real nice with nice feeling function buttons.

Fold and tumble second row seats for max flexibility.

Light steering that feels fairly good and minimal slop. Average to slightly above handling and resposnsiveness.

4 cylinder, once up and cruising runs quietly and without vibration.

Engine turns only 2300 rpm at 70+ mph with CVT.

CVT manual mode easy to use with nice feeling floor shifter. Paddles were not on this ES version. Holds 'gears' nicely and 'shifts' quick.

Fantastic head, shoulder, hip, arm room. Nice wide door and center armrests. Leg room great in front, and good in second row.

Good feeling switches and buttons all around.

Decent plastics on the dashboard and IP for the price.

Nice stylish backlighting on the IP, in red.

Seats were sculpted nicely and nicely supportive (seat bottom a tiny bit soft). Cloth / vinyl mix looked fashionable.

Twin glovebox is handy and cupholders seemed convenient.

Impressive cargo flexibility and split tailgate is nice.

Available -occasional- third row cleverly packaged and nice enough for like, 7 and 8 year olds. Still room for groceries behind the third row when deployed.

Decently styling, once past the snout.

Warranty. Price, too (with exceptions).

CVT smooth at higher travel speeds. Kicks down better at higher speeds.

Quiet inside when engine is calmed down.

Feels decently solidly built.

Lows-

Power at lower travel speeds and CVT responsiveness need work. NVH suffers at lower travel speeds and when attempting to accelerate more than gingerly out of the gate.

CVT is more rubber bandy than the better Nissan and Subaru executions (although it performs better at higher travel speeds).

I would like better mpg ratings.

Vehicle feels nose heavy and heavy overall and this is magnified with semi sluggish stoplight to stoplight performance below higher travel speeds. Can feel like a bigger vehicle than it is sometimes.

When not interstate cruising, it can at times seem like there is too much cabin noise.

Gauges although laid out nicely sit a little lower in the dash than you might like. Like, almost in your nutsac. Um, higher please.

Interior is too dark overall and could stand to be lightened up a bit! Even though dash plastic is nice, the door plastics could see a little upgrade and some design detailing.

It's ok to offer tan as a second interior color.

For those that do not like to sit very high, make sure you adjust the seat, otherwise it feels pretty high up.

Steering could be quicker, as of course could be the engine and transmission performance.

Front snout looks a little ugly.

'Third row' requires a learning curve to deploy, but once you learn it, its fast. Some folks may be concerned if it holds up in heavy use (I would not be).

Adults cannot realistically use said third row.

Seat cloth is a bit burlappy.

Carpeting is very thin and chintzy. Perhaps a carpet upgrade could help cabin noise?

2nd row seats cannot be REMOVED.

Sucks if you get hit in the rear you might need to spend extra to fix that tailgate.

Side mirrors could stand to be wider! Seriously!

Verdict -

Overall, I was surprised. I did not think this vehicle would impress me, and to a degree it only impressed me at an average level. But considering the lukewarm reviews the press gives it, I think it deserves a better shake than that. I've driven a RAV4, and to those who think its the holy grail, well its not really better or worse than the mits, except the potential deal breaker here is anyone who might not be comfortable with the powertrain and its behavior.

For the price and size, and class it competes in, the Outlander is sufficiently covered in most areas. It excels in the people and cargo moving area. It looks nice enough, and aside from needing to upgrade the door panels and carpet, I think the interior is passable, too.

Dynamically the ride and handling are fine, to me. Now i must drive a Terrain to compare. The Tucson is sportier for sure. But there is just enough car behavior and just enough trucklike feel in the Outlander that I think it will feel like a nice blend for many people. It's large and stable and secure feeling.

When evaluated as an appliance, I can only point to the engine and CVT performance, pretty much entirely below, say, 40-45 mph, that really feels like it's something that will bug you. What was surprising to me is how sprite it felt in manual mode when I was shifting it gear by gear. There was less NVH and it was fun and quick to respond, and I believe much faster! The CVT just needs to be worked on. It's slow to respond at lower travel speeds, and has some of the residual 'rubberbandiness' that Nissan and Subaru have been slowly exorcising out of their CVT's. That, and the initial feeling of looseness from a stop makes me think someone who is sensitive to this may prefer a different vehicle.

Perhaps this vehicle is more enjoyable with a v6. I actually think i would probably adjust my throttle input style over time and it would probably help with better and smoother launches. Perhaps the CVT even learns. Like I said, the manual mode worked pretty good with the nicely short and well placed shifter. Of course paddles which are included on the SE would be even better.

To me, for what i like, the spaciousness and cargo flexibility scores major points with me and the simplicity of the dash is a big upside as well. THis along with the warranty is what makes it attractive to me.

There is a lot of competition in this segment. The Mitsubishi is a nice alternative that is mid pack, and pleasantly so. The net impression to me was neither bad nor good, just competence, pleasantness, and a bit of unfinished work in the refinement of the powertrain left to do.

There is not an overwhelming reason TO buy this vehicle. Likewise, there is no real glaring reason you should not include it on your shopping list when looking at others in this segment.

B-

Edited by regfootball

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wrung out a used Outlander today at a local car broker, lots of the same impressions. good vehicle once up and cruising. very good front seats.

space efficient but needs interior update and some NVH and things like better sounding door closing etc.

am going to take a serious look at the outlander sport when it arrives next month.

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