Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Regular visitors to Canadian Driver have probably picked up on the fact that my motoring musings are a little left of centre. They have to be. As with the rest of my CD cohorts, I see my role as to continually question the design directions of vehicle manufacturers, whether they are domestic; domestic with a Japanese, Korean or German Home Office; or the Coming Soon Chinese.

As much as some automotive PR representatives may disagree, we do not exist to hurt sales, close plants, or supply a steady stream of bottom-line red ink. We are simply trying to help. To that end, I have begun a new regular installment dubbed, “Inside Story”. It isn’t about toe-in or torque band; this is a feature that pokes and prods at the things we touch the most, like folding seats, cup-holder cinches, and whether or not you can top off the engine oil without marinating the exhaust manifold.

Real cars; real life; real Timmy’s cups.

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge

Our first contestant is the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. I have to admit, I’ve been a raving fan of this cute-ute’s styling, handling, and power delivery since the California unveil early this year. The problem with an unveiling, as with any press event, is the minimal live-in that occurs. Thanks to seat belts, there’s only so much poking and prodding I can do with features and accessories from either the driver’s seat or the shotgun position. That’s an area best investigated while in ‘Park’. Welcome to my crumbling Winnipeg driveway.


Engine Compartment

This Mitsy has a fairly clean layout, which should keep maintenance costs to a minimum. Power steering, engine coolant, and windshield washer receptacles are located on the passenger side of the compartment. The filler necks are upright, though the small size of the coolant inlet appears to be begging for a funnel for top-ups. Colour-coding would be appreciated. The engine oil dipstick is easily accessed. The engine oil fill cap is set low on the valve cover; only seasoned backyard mechanics should attempt a top-up without a funnel. The automatic transmission dipstick position is almost hidden by the battery tray. The position of the strut tower brace has resulted in an angled neck for the master cylinder reservoir. New owners should invest in a selection of funnels for this Mitsy. A quick reminder to always use separate funnels for separate fluids, to avoid costly cross-contamination. An added plus for the DIY-savvy is the easy access to low and high-beam headlamp bulbs.

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge


Spare tire

The space-saver rubber biscuit is held beneath the cargo floor by a two-part cradle. The lug wrench loosens a bolt that lowers the cinch part of the cradle, allowing the tire to be accessed. The Messy Factor is high. The good news is that Mitsy provides five years of roadside assistance, with unlimited kilometres. Save your chino’s, and use a few of your daytime cell minutes instead.


Cargo area

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge

The Mitsy Thinkmeisters clocked some serious overtime for this cavern. The big bonus is the bumper. At first glance, there is no indication that this is a gateway to another dimension. Actually, it’s not a gateway; it’s a tailgate. It easily handles the 200-ish pounds of this scribe, with cable tethers for additional load support. By lowering the load floor height, the tailgate entry could easily swallow a washer or dryer (after you peel off the protective cardboard and leave it in the parking lot). The LS model does not arrive with the buckboard-comfy temporary third seat. In its place is a cover with a removable styrofoam organizer biscuit. Depth is minimal, so don’t expect to stow errant rolls of TP inside. There are four flip-up hooks for bungees or a cargo net, each with a 20-kg load rating.

The second row 60/40 split seats do not have any obvious markers as to which straps to pull to flip-fold, but even after falling head-first into the sharp end of the coffee table, you should be able to figure it out. Be careful, though. The seats do tend to snap forward into their lock position rather ferociously. The seat backs can also be folded for a flat platform. The second row reclines, as well as possessing forward and aft movement. The owner’s manual does detail that the front and rear seats can be configured for sleeping quarters. However, the comfort level achieved should be music only to the ears of your chiropractor.

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

The retractable cargo cover answers the age old question of where to stow the cargo cover. It plugs nicely into specific holes flush with the cargo floor. If the second row seats are in the full-aft position, the cover can be placed into the top-mount holes that keep the area from prying eyes. The same is true of the full-forward position. As we all know, the use of the cover can sometimes be an invitation to smash-and-grab artists, who rightly assume that you have something to hide. With the cover in the floor-mount position, the cover can be extended and locked into its usual lock point, creating a space perfect for hiding gym bags or mondo purses. Squint through the tint, and it appears that no cover is in place. The driver’s side rear cargo wall has an easy-access compartment, with full interior finish. Jack and tire change gear is found on the passenger side. A 12-volt receptacle is found on the passenger side of the rear cargo compartment.


Instrument panel

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge

The noteworthy addition that is starting to appear on select Mitsy steering wheels is the Bluetooth cell phone switches. Those switches are just that on the LS, which requires installation of the necessary modules and such. It’s a $362 touch in these parts, plus the government’s share. There’s a pull-out cup-holder with a cinch to the left of the driver, with two non-cinch receptacles in the console. The cup-holder shape seems geared to those who are still using their shiny red Eddie Bauer travel mugs from 1996. Think about what’s living in there.

The centre console has an upper tray with an indent for the charger cord to dangle into the hold, where the 12-volt plug-in resides. The one in front of the shifter is meant for the Smoker’s Package, which would plug a removable ash bucket into an adjacent round receptacle, which is not very deep to hold much of anything. There are two glove compartments, with a locking door on the bottom only. There is a pop-top stuff box on the top of the dash, which fits in nicely with a surround that is largely influenced by Mazda.

Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
Inside Story   2007 Mitsubishi Outlander  mitsubishi inside story
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

The interior lining of the box is a felt material, and not very grippy or removable. Good luck getting a lint brush in there. Speaking of felt, the suede-like interior accents look as though they might last another month before they look very, very tired. For those that like even more stowage for cups and bottles, the Outlander has a rear flip-down armrest with dual cinch holes, and bottle holders for both front and rear doors.


Clarkey rating

Just like most feature presentations, the Inside Story vehicle of the week has an opportunity to earn a maximum of five stars. The Outlander earns four and a half stars, staying just shy of a perfect score due to the choices for interior fabric trim, and the lack of a console cup-holder cinch. Mitsubishi may also want to consider a more enticing price-point for the Bluetooth upgrade, especially at the time of purchase or lease.

Next week: Low-dough Camry, high-value features.

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