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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander ES AWC Review

For what it is By ,

I’d been very happy with my Breville coffee maker for a good while. It served me well and when it came time to replace it, I aimed in the same direction; why not get another Breville?

The wise and always beautiful girlfriend suggested that we should consider a Cuisinart. She’d had a coffee at a friend’s place and through their discussion on the product, was convinced that it was a better choice. Who was I to argue? Said unit was only a few dollars more than the other, and so we went with it and have never been happier with our espresso maker. In fact, I’ve never consumed more coffee at home.

We were content with the Breville but when it got tired, the opportunity to try something else enhanced our coffee-drinking experience.

This is the best way I can introduce the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s good, will satisfy your every CUV need (even some you weren’t aware existed), but there are other better choices out there. This segment, as you may know, is booming and bursting with options. In fact, and as I’ve become fond of pointing out, if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’re probably considering a compact crossover.

I’ve driven every generation of the Outlander available in North America. I’ve spent an extensive number of hours at the wheel of a 2003 1st gen (road trip to Toronto), a 2007 and 2008 2nd gen (3-month long-term road test -- almost bought it afterwards) and now, on my third 3rd generation Outlander. As in the past, I like the vehicle -- I really do -- but there’s always something amiss.

I drove this Mits and a Hyundai Tucson (posted a pic on my instagram account) back-to-back and questions arise, much like the espresso maker… or do they? I’m being way too philosophical, I know…

The revised-for-2016 is one thing, if any: it’s extremely photogenic. The “Dynamic Shield” front fascia has a lot to do with it. I also enjoy the beltline that hovers below the front shoulder-line and above the door handles -- kind of reminds me of how kids these days wear their jeans below their asses… Damn, I’m getting old.

The optional ES packages include handsome 18” alloys, fog lights and silver painted roof rails, all nice touches. On that topic, the Premium package throws in leather seats, a power driver’s seats, dual-zone climate control and power-folding outside mirrors. The grand total for my tester was $31,998 or smack dab in the middle of the action. Despite being well equipped, the lack of automatic headlights, a power rear hatch, navigation or heated steering wheel and rear seats are lacking when compared to some close competitors. All of these are available for about $1,000 more elsewhere. Hello, Mitsubishi Canada product planning? As a side note, the power-folding mirrors are not necessary…

The Outlander’s cabin is airy and crafted to modern tastes. Fit and finish are nice and nothing’s wrong with the proposed ergonomics. In fact, it’s all very straightforward. The front seats are comfortable enough while those in the rear benefit from plenty of room and a reclining seatback. The trunk is large with loads of storage.

And on the technology front, the Outlander features a multi-information display (trip computer, temperature gauge, drive mode indicator, and more), Bluetooth, and satellite radio.

As for the drive, the Mitsubishi does what it has to do. Think: “make coffee.” The 2.4L inline 4-cylinder engine produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The standard CVT transmission is aggressively “geared” at low rpm for a sudden appreciable burst in acceleration. This is a common CVT trait.

While on the topic, the CVT is good. It won’t nail engine speed to the redline until red fluid oozes out of your ears. It maintains the motor’s revs in the powerband as best as possible and plays along when pushed. Acceleration is uneventful but sustained. Powertrain noises are reasonably low to boot. Over the week, my returned fuel consumption average was a fair 10L/100km.

The Outlander drives properly. The fully independent suspension is neither soft enough to be comfortable or stiff enough to make it handle as though on rails. By comparison, the sportier-tuned 2016 Hyundai Tucson handles better, but does not suffer from a harsher ride than the Outlander. The electric variable-assist power steering lacks any connection to the front wheels further making the drive uninvolving without making it unpleasant.

In other words, it makes coffee.

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander’s greatest attribute is that it gives off a great first impression and delivers the goods, just well enough. In fact, you’ll be happy with what it is, but make sure that you don’t shop around. Checking out a Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5, and comparing any of them will make you realize that they all do something better than the Outlander, but not vice-versa.

The Outlander and RVR both do well on their own, but it’s when compared to others that they falter.

 

Photos:M.St-Pierre
2016 Mitsubishi Outlander ES AWD pictures