A Week Behind the Wheel of a Mitsubishi Outlander

Kudos and props to the team at Mitsubishi for loaning me one of their newest SUVs, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander, a 4-door sport utility vehicle. The one I got to drive for a week here in Colorado priced out at $29,645 according to the Monroney, and featured a fuel efficient 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and split third row seats. It also had the optional “SE” package ($2600) that added a sunroof, leather seats, roof fails, power driver seats, power remote tailgate and a fancy Rockford Fosgate stereo system with Sirius satellite radio and HD FM, along with an iPod plug and bluetooth.

Haven’t seen one of these on the road? Here’s what they look like:

mitsubishi outlander review test drive photo

A very attractive vehicle with a lot of good features and thoughtful design. Gas milage was decent for an SUV, about 26mpg on average, but that’s what you’d expect with such a small engine. Nice: The car has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) so it’s always at the optimal fuel efficient gear ratio for the speed you’re driving.

Except that came with a problem too: The Outlander was a bit lacking in oomph when I tried to accelerate to get onto the highway. Once you’re up to speed it’s fine, but that 0-40 acceleration is not great, even when you turn off the various ECO modes and switch from drive to sports drive for higher torque. This might have been because we live at altitude and the car might be more peppy at sea level, but I live at 5200-feet elevation and this is where I drove it!

The configuration and set up of the third row seats was really great and I love having a split row:

back split row third seat and subwoofer

You can also see the rockin’ subwoofer that contributed significantly to the great sound of the SE stereo system. Very nice. I could get used to that sort of audio quality in a vehicle, for sure!

I liked the layout of the dashboard too, easy to understand and control things:

2015 mitsubishi outlander dashboard

In particular, kudos to them for the circular radio control on the left thumb area of the steering wheel. I was able to almost instantly use that without looking to change audio sources, change channels, and adjust the volume as desired.

One thing I noticed that was weird, though, is that once a phone is paired with the bluetooth system, you had to manually switch to bluetooth on the stereo when a call came in so that the handsfree system would work. In other cars I’ve driven, an incoming call is a priority audio source and regardless of what you’re listening to, the call takes precedent. This might be a setting I needed to tweak, but I couldn’t find it.

The other thing that surprised me was how the keyless security system worked. Once I was in the car, I could leave the key in my pocket and just push the “start” button, which was great. I could even push a tiny button on the door handle to lock the car without having to touch the keyfob. But to unlock the car, the only option I could figure out was to pull the key out of my pocket and manually push the unlock button. On my Toyota, by contrast, keyless really means keyless and when I’m close enough to the car’s door, it unlocks at the touch of the door handle, no key interaction required.

The bluetooth interface was great for audio content from my iPhone 6 too, including being able to enjoy audio books directly from the Audible app, or, of course, music directly from iTunes, as you can see here:

mitsubishi stereo interface

The only puzzle: What’s “Group”? No album title, but “Group”? Switch to the iPod interface and “Title” is there instead. Weird.

Still, I put on about 250 miles in the week I had the Outlander, and really enjoyed it. It’s a solid car with a very safe feel to it, and quite comfortable for driver and passengers alike. It took a few days to find the seat warmers but once we did, that was a popular feature with my kids too.

And quite pretty:

mitsubishi outlander 2015 artistic photo

In summary I was impressed with the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s the first Mitsubishi car I’ve had the pleasure to drive, and while there were a few areas where I think they could have spent just a bit more time on engineering and driver experience, it’s still a solid choice for a mid-range SUV with lots of bells and whistles.

How about you? Driven a Mitsubishi? What’d you think of it?

Oh, and the mention earlier of the Monroney? Turns out that’s the industry name for the sticker you see in the window of a new car. Yes, those have a name. Who would have thought?

3 comments on “A Week Behind the Wheel of a Mitsubishi Outlander

  1. I’ve had two Mitsubishi’s. My first car was a 1997 Eclipse. Then, when I turned 21, I bought a 2007 Eclipse SE. They are amazing cars. My next car will be the Outlander. I apprecite this article. You made me even more sure of my decision of making this my next car.

    • I always wanted an Eclipse when I was young, but it never happened.

      Now that I’m in my thirties I still drive small sports(ish) cars, and even though I’m a single father of two I don’t think I could bring myself to get an SUV.

  2. Mitsubishi’s FAST key system as they call it allows you to unlock the vehicle as well by simply pushing the button on the door handle after the vehicle has been locked. Once to open the drivers door twice to open all doors and the hatch. You are also able to open the hatch hands free when the vehicle is locked. You need to simply have the key fob within 2-3 feet of the vehicle.

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