I'm a veteran 2007 Outlander LS 4WD owner. I bough mine the second month after it went on sale (March 2007) after following the news about the car for about 6 months (it was launched first in Japan in 2006 and in Nov 2006 in the US; it arrived in Canada in Feb 2007).
5 years and 100K km later, I still like it. I plan to keep it for another 5 years if reliability stays the same. It's been very reliable so far with no notable warranty issues. One issue that hasn't been mentioned in the article but happened to some people (including me) is the inability to open the fuel door. This is due to a lose bolt that holds the release handle inside the car.
I've never heard about the 1-2 hard shift mentioned (I do frequently monitor the Outlander forums and I've been an active member on the most active for the first few years), but it may be about what was referred to as "acceleration hesitation" (few seconds lag when accelerating from a rolling stop - hence rough 1/2 shift). For sure the 1-2 gear changes are not rough on my car and never been.
That issue was applicable to the Outlanders sold before summer 2007. I got the TSB applied on mine in September 2007 (software update).
The front end clunk when making sharp turns (front wheel bearings replaced under TSB) was only applicable to the units manufactured before Jan 2007. Very few units (only the first shipment) in Canada were affected by this issue. Mine did not have this issue (bought in March and built in January 2007), but I did experience it during my first test drive the next day the dealer got them in (Feb 2007 with build date of Dec-06). I was aware of the issue from my fellow forum members in the US) and I knew the fix is already out. Mitsu was very quick to address it.
Another historic issue not mentioned in the article is the “whistling/wind noise” that affected the early models; fixed at the factory in February with a strip of noise insulation on a small plastic lid at the bottom of the side mirror housing. I fixed that myself. This issue caused a lot of chatter on the forums at the time, in the first reviews (complains about wind noise) and even deductions from CR scores LOL.
Another big issue for 2007-2008 models (not mentioned) was the self-infected paint chipping on the rear doors. Lots of grief for the owners and again, CR gave the Outlander low score for body integrity.
Caught early (know beforehand from the forums again), it was an easy fix with about $60 worth of 3M clear film. Some owners had their rear door re-painted due to severe sand blasting effect. In 2009, Mitsu put massive plastic side skirts on them to deflect the road debris (something they should’ve done from day one).
Cargo space is very good, with most of it up to the window level. For 2007 models and some of the later ones (I lost count which trims and which years but from 2008 this feature was discontinued on some trim levels), the rear seats slide so you can adjust the passenger/cargo space. Another versatility related nice thing is that the rear seats are raised so you don’t bend your knees and you can easily slide your feet underneath the front seats. Lots of rear passenger room.
The engine is strong enough for the car and the transmission is very smooth and reasonably quick (better calibrated than many 6-speed A/T these days).Remember that Mitsu was one of the first if not the first to introduce a 6A/T in this class. Oh…and Bluetooth too. The 4WD is solid too. On snow, without the help from a good set of winter tires, the car moves seamlessly. I tried to get it stuck many times without success even in the deepest snow we’ve had in GTA over the past 5 years; still trying. Next year I’ll have new dedicated winter tires on it and I’ll take it on the same forest road where I got stuck in a Subaru with new Blizzaks few weeks ago (mind you it was an Impreza and the ground clearance played a big role). That road, in winter will be the ultimate test for its snow capabilities (or any car for that matter).
Someone mentioned that SantaFe V6 has more power. In 2007 when SnataFe was new as well, it still had the 3.3L with 242hp and more weight. The net result was a bit slower and less fuel efficient. The current SantaFe (post facelift) is a different story.