2012 Mitsubishi Outlander ES AWC

Reviewed by Susan Frissell

As sport-utility vehicles go, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn’t necessarily stand out; short of some innovative features such as the Music Server, which I discovered, makes a copy of your CD once it has played. This writer kept thinking the CD was stuck, but it wasn’t in there at all. Once I had played it, a copy was made. Cool.
Our test Outlander was the Sport ES model, two-wheel-drive, equipped with Mitsubishi’s 2.0L MIVEC engine. While not a bad vehicle, when you put the Outlander up against such competitors as the Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson, the going gets tough. We like the Outlander’s exterior styling and while it doesn’t necessarily stand out, it’s pleasing.

With an MSRP between $18,795-$23,295, the Outlander is available in three trim levels: ES 2WD, SE 2WD and our test vehicle SE AWC. The All-wheel-control version is the top-of-the-line at just over $23,000 and equipped with the usual amenities: A/C, heated sideview mirrors, auto on/off headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, keyless entry, power door and tailgate locks/windows/mirrors, rear privacy glass, Electronic Brakeforce distribution, ABS and driver knee airbag, side curtain airbags, advanced dual front airbags and front seat mounted side airbags.

The only option the Sport ES had was the Navigation System Package which includes a 400 GB nav with music server and real time traffic ($2,295). The sound system, including AM/FM/CD-changer/MP3 with four speakers has decent sound.
Although a quiet and smooth-riding vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander seems somewhat dated compared to recent updates in its competitors. However, this writer found the ride in the Outlander to be more accommodating than say the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, which both have a harder ride. The cabin is quiet and the engine non-intrusive.

Styling of the 2012 Outlander is an improvement, with an edgy backend and aggressive front grille. One of its key features is the rear LED combination taillights. An available panoramic glass roof with LED mood lighting is a nice extra, as is the AW Control, super wide range HID headlamps, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system. The standard FUSE hands-free link system will appeal to those who feel the need to be connected at all times.

Visibility is good in the Outlander. There is enough clearance between headrests and the vehicle’s ceiling so that viewing out the rear window is unobstructed. Rear seating is average with not a lot of extra legroom. Cargo space is adequate yet don’t expect to be hauling any large items.

Controls are easily reached but seem somewhat dated. Fit and finish could be better and materials a little higher quality. While a nice vehicle, the Outlander won’t stand out. Pricing although fair, may not be a reason to buy it.

SPECS
MSRP: $18,795; destination $810; total vehicle price $21,900
Engine: 2.0L, I4 MIVEC, 148 hp., 145 lb. ft torque
Transmission: five-speed manual
Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
Length: 169.1 in.
Width: 69.7 in.
Height: 64.2 in.
Weight: 3,032 lbs.
Tires: P215/70R16
Wheels: 16-inch steel
Warranty: 10 yrs/100,000-mile powertrain; 7 yrs/100,000-mile anti-corrosion perforation; 5 yrs/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper; 5 yrs/unlimited Roadside Assistance
EPA fuel economy: 24/31 mpg.

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