2007 Mitsubishi Outlander
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge

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Mitsubishi Canada

Review and photos by Chris Chase

The first-generation Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced in North America in 2003, the same year Mitsubishi officially set up shop in Canada. That Outlander was part of a largely forgettable line-up.

A 2007 redesign brought the promise of mass-market success for this crossover, and for the brand as a whole, with styling that predicted the look of the then-next-generation Lancer compact sedan, which went on sale as a 2008 model.

That second-generation Outlander included a few nifty touches, my favourite being the split cargo door: half of it was hinged at the top, to open traditional station wagon-style, while the bottom swung down like a pickup tailgate. If that quirk didn’t attract buyers, then the addition (finally) of V6 power (the original Outlander used four-cylinder power exclusively) should have. This new Outlander would prove more popular than the original, but not enough to make it a household name.

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge

The 2007 Outlander was most closely related to the 2008 Lancer, but also shared some engineering DNA with the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. Initially, a 3.0-litre V6 engine (220 hp/204 lb.-ft. of torque) was the only engine, and it came connected to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Outlander range started with the LS, which came with steel wheels, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, 60/40 split folding rear seats, front seat side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, stability control and cruise control. An optional convenience package added 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, leather-trimmed steering wheel and Bluetooth readiness. A sun and sound package grouped an upgraded stereo with a sunroof.

The uplevel XLS came standard with all of the options available on the LS, and added 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, automatic climate control, leather seats and keyless ignition. The LS started as a front-driver, and could be optioned with all-wheel drive; the XLS got all-wheel drive as standard.

For 2008, Mitsubishi added a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine (168 hp/167 lb.-ft.) in an also-new, entry-level ES trim line. The four-cylinder used a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front- and all-wheel drive were offered in the ES, and both V6 models (still called LS and XLS) were all-wheel drive only.

2010 Mitsubishi Outlander
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

Standard kit on the ES was similar to that of the previous year’s LS model, which gained premium cloth upholstery, sliding second row seats and keyless ignition. The XLS model’s equipment list remained largely unchanged.

If you’d gone Outlander shopping in 2009, you’d have found standard heated front seats in all trims, and the option of a back-up camera for the XLS.

Changes for 2010 included new styling that gave the Outlander a front end similar to that of the high-performance Lancer Evolution. The V6 engine gained 10 hp and 11 lb.-ft. of torque (for 230 and 215 respectively), and the all-wheel drive system was upgraded to Mitsu’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC), with its active front differential. The only change for 2011 was the addition of standard Bluetooth across the range.

The biggest news for 2012 was a suite of new option packages. The ES 4WD was offered with a premium package that added a sunroof, leather upholstery, power driver’s seat, 18-inch wheels, fog lamps and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated back-up camera. A sun and wheels option group on the LS added 18-inch wheels and a sunroof. The XLS could be optioned with a navigation package that included its namesake, along with lane departure warning, back-up camera, video input jack, traffic information and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

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