The Mitsubishi Outlander has been completely redesigned for 2007. Where before it only offered an inline four-cylinder engine, it now comes equipped with a 220-horsepower V6. Nearly every dimension is larger, and traction control is now standard. An optional selectable four-wheel-drive system replaces what was previously an all-wheel-drive setup. Suspension and steering have been revised to provide a more satisfying everyday driving experience.
Mitsubishi completely redesigned the Outlander for 2007, and it is now powered by a 3.0L V6 engine that produces 220 horsepower. This engine is paired with a six-speed Sportronic transmission with paddle shifters. Three Outlander trim levels can be had with front-wheel drive: the base ES, midlevel LS, and top dog XLS. A driver-selectable multi-mode four-wheel-drive system is available for the top two Outlanders, with a convenient switch on the dash that allows drivers to go from 2WD to 4WD auto or 4WD locked at a 50/50 torque split.
Any car can traverse smooth roads easily, but our drive included some broken sections of pavement. It was while traversing these road annoyances that we became impressed with the solidity of the chassis and the suspension tuning that seemed to shrug off the road imperfections.
People expect versatility in their SUVs and the Outlander does not disappoint. The ES and LS come with 100.4 cubic feet of passenger volume for five adults with 39 cubic feet of cargo space in back. The XLS adds seating for two children in a diminutive third row. With all seats folded there is 72.6 cubic feet of cargo space to use for toting your belongings.
A nice touch is the two piece tailgate. The hatch pops open as expected, but leaves a short section still vertical. Fold this down and you have a "cargo extender" that will support 440-pounds. A hard plastic surface with cargo rails molded into both the tailgate and cargo deck make it easy to slide new purchases into and out of the Outlander.
Safety is built in with standard curtain and side-impact air bags for both the front and second row supplementing the front air bags. Active front headrests help to reduce injuries in rear-end crashes, and standard active skid control helps keep the vehicle pointed in the right direction. The brakes are all discs with ABS standard, and they proved to be quite competent during our test.
The sporty leather steering wheel available on the XLS offers controls for the audio, cruise control, and even a button to engage your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. We like the use of faux brushed aluminum trim on the wheel, dash, and side panels.
For a vehicle that will start in the low $20,000 range, the Outlander has a lot of high-end options available. Most impressive to us was the GPS system that uses a 30-gig hard drive. Besides being much faster than a DVD-based system, 6 of the 30 gigs are set aside for storing your music, and an available 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system helps take advantage of the safe.