Some SUV's are hulking mammoths with high-riding suspension and monster V8 engines. These can haul around a heavy trailer and provide a safe and powerful feel- but they can also be hard to park and unexciting to drive while delivering the same fuel efficiency as a refinery fire.
If you haven't got heavy-duty hauling needs, you'll find a smaller SUV to offer many of the same benefits as a large one, while delivering a more fun-to-drive character and smaller fuel bills.
Competing with the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Saturn Vue and others, Outlander brings a sporty attitude and industry-leading warranty to the marketplace.
LED-accented tail-lamps, alloy wheels and a tidy, clean body help set it apart. It's got a nice blend of truck-like and car-like attributes, and if you've got a growing family, you'll likely find it a just-right size.
Available with four or six cylinder power and front or all wheel drive, it's got plenty of selection too. Depending on the model, you can kit yours with leather seating, DVD based navigation, hard-drive music storage and a household power outlet for on-the-go voltage.
The test car was a mid-range ES 4WD, powered by a 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower. ABS disc-brakes are standard, as is a slew of safety features like driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, and traction control.
Inside, all Outlander models come with cruise control, power windows, locks and mirrors, air conditioning and remote keyless access. The optional Sun and Sound package includes a Rockford-Fosgate stereo system complete with trunk-mounted subwoofer, a six-month subscription to Sirius satellite radio, and a motorized sunroof overhead. If you enjoy cruising with the sun above and your tunes audible a quarter mile away, it's well worth the $2,250 price tag.
Friendly and functional interior
Hop on board either of the Outlander's two rows of seats, and you'll be treated to simple, easy access and plenty of space. The rear row is spacious for 2 tall adults or 3 kids. It can recline for added comfort, or fold and flip out of the way for added space in a matter of seconds.
Up front, drivers get a commanding view of the road courtesy of a height-adjustable seat. Visibility is good in all directions too, albeit for some minor blind spots at the very rear of the vehicle. The turning radius is appreciably tight, so parking in close quarters is generally worry free.
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2008 Mitsubishi Outlander Specifications
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