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Review and photos by Paul Williams
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You’re not going to find many companies offering a 10-year warranty on their products. In fact, when it comes to cars, only one manufacturer dares to go “decade,” and that’s Mitsubishi.
It’s a 10-year, 160,000-kilometre powertrain warranty, and 5-year, 100,000-km new vehicle warranty with 100,000-km roadside assistance. I mention this at the beginning of this road test because it’s easily the longest new vehicle warranty in Canada.
The problem is, Mitsubishi doesn’t have too many “new” vehicles. Aside from the Eclipse, the rest of its stable consists of mildly refreshed versions of the same line-up the company introduced to Canadians back in 2003. But things are changing and fortunately for Mitsubishi, the Outlander is the type of vehicle that’s becoming more appealing to Canadian consumers.
Ranging in price from $23,998-$33,580, the Outlander is a “CUV,” or Crossover Utility Vehicle, which is one of the two most popular vehicle categories in Canada (the other is compact cars). It’s built on Mitsubishi’s Lancer compact car platform, and can be specified with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
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Under the hood is a 160-horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine that features “intelligent” valve timing (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control, or “MIVEC”) to provide crisper throttle response at city driving speeds, while maximizing fuel economy. Depending on the model, a five-speed manual transmission is offered, or you can select a four-speed “Sportronic” automatic that permits manual-style shifting.
The Outlander can be purchased in three levels: LS, SE and Limited, with the front-wheel drive option only available in LS trim. Our $28,028 LS AWD added a $900 Security Plus package that includes front side-impact airbags, privacy glass and 16″ sport wheels for a total as-tested price of $28,928.
Standard equipment on the LS includes the usual amenities: air conditioning, power windows, power and heated mirrors, cruise control, power and remote locking and a Mitsubishi audio system with four speakers.
The exterior design of the Outlander is one of its strong features. In comparison with other vehicles of its type, the Outlander looks a bit smaller than it is (maybe it’s the high waistline and longish hood) but is actually about the same size overall as a Honda CR-V.
There are nice detail touches on the exterior, including the tubular roof rails, nicely rendered front and rear lights, distinctive grille and accessory wheels. The shape is one of solidity and substance.
The interior is well designed and executed. Mitsubishi has been working on the fit and finish because the Outlander’s interior environment seems better crafted than when I previewed this model two years ago. The quality of the materials is immediately evident and the nice, tailored upholstery and aluminum-trimmed dashboard with its centrepiece analog clock look attractive.
This positive impression continues once the Outlander is underway. Even with the standard all-season tires, the all-wheel drive system is completely competent in the snow and ice of an Ottawa winter. Steering is tight and accurate, and braking from the anti-lock system is quick and controlled.
The engine pulls strongly and is quiet at highway speeds, although it will make some noise under hard acceleration. Power is comparable to its four-cylinder competitors.
I did find the instruments a bit small, however, and they’re not backlit, which doesn’t help. Likewise the radio was small, and seemed a bit low-rent for the Outlander. In around-town driving, you’ll find the Outlander has a larger than expected turning circle, which may cause you to misjudge your entry to parking spaces a few times before adapting.
But overall, it’s a vehicle in which you feel very secure due to its solid construction, sharp handling and excellent traction.
When you stop to pick up passengers, they’ll find back-seat room is sufficient, but not generous, and likewise the cargo area is good for several of their bags or suitcases, but it’s not notably large. You can, of course, fold down the split-folding rear seat to vastly increase cargo capacity.
The strength of the Outlander is its distinctive design. It’s got that Audi Allroad/Subaru Outback look to it, which communicates a kind of sophisticated ruggedness. It’ll appeal to people who don’t want the same thing everyone else has.
Mitsubishi is a huge name overseas, where its products are well respected in international rallying, trucking and as family vehicles. But the company has pretty much stumbled out of the gate in Canada.
Now the company is reorganizing and revitalizing as it attempts to find its footing here. But as nice as the Outlander is, it really has its work cut out for it.
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Vehicles like the Honda CR-V include standard vehicle stability control and side curtain airbags, a five-speed automatic transmission and more interior volume for only $1,200 more. The new Toyota RAV4 is a fine value at $28,000 and change, even in base trim, and the Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tuscon are packed with safety features, give you a V6 engine, sunroof and leather for the same money as the Outlander LS AWD.
Because of this, and the fact that Mitsubishi has had its difficulties over the past couple of years, you should expect your friendly Mitsubishi sales associate to sharpen the pencil and offer a deal you can’t refuse. If you get a deal you like, Mitsubishi is confident enough in their Outlander LS AWD to supply ten years of powertrain warranty with it. This is unmatched among its competitors, and suggests a commitment to the Canadian market into the future.
Technical Data: 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander LS AWD
|Options||$900 (Security Plus package)|
|Price as tested||$30,123 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives|
|Type||4-door, 5-passenger SUV|
|Layout||transverse front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.4-litre 4-cylinder, SOHC, 16 valves|
|Horsepower||160 @ 5750 rpm|
|Torque||162 @ 4000|
|Transmission||4-speed automatic, with “Sportronic” manual shift capability|
|Tires||P22560R-16 inch all-season|
|Curb weight||1610 kg (3549 lbs)|
|Length||4550 mm (179 in.)|
|Width||1750 mm (68.9 in.)|
|Height||1685 mm (66.3 in.)|
|Cargo capacity||679 litres (24.0 cu. ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 10.8 l/100km (26 mpg Imperial)|
|Hwy 7.8 L/100km (36 mpg Imperial)|
|Fuel type||Regular unleaded|
|Powertrain warranty||10-year/160,000 km|
|Assembly location||Mizushima, Japan|