2008 Mitsubishi Outlander Interior
The majority of reviews approve of the features and options available for the Outlander's interior, but criticize the quality of the materials. Car and Driver says, "It doesn't quite match the RAV4 for material quality, but it blows the Toyota away with gadgets galore."
New Car Test Drive says the new Outlander has "a look and feel that's more upscale, quieter, more mature, with tasteful metallic trim and tighter integration of controls and fixtures." But buyers might want to take a closer look inside for flaws. Consumer Guide points out that the cabin "has few padded surfaces and many plastic panels that feel thin and hollow to the touch." Edmunds adds, "The Outlander's interior is attractive looking and of solid build quality, though a few of the plastics and controls feel a bit low-grade." Again, Cars.com notes, "Everything inside looks and feels cheap to the touch, mostly thanks to the plastic used."
On the plus side, most reviewers find the interior roomy, and The Auto Channel says the "Outlander's larger size makes for welcome extra space inside."
The Outlander ES and LS seat five, while the XLS adds a third row that brings passenger capacity to seven. Reviews find the front and second-row seats comfortable. The Auto Channel says, "The manually-adjustable front seats are as comfortable as they look, and offer better than average support for the Outlander's price class." Likewise, Consumer Guide says there's "Plentiful headroom and legroom. The seats are generally comfortable, though some occupants may want more thigh support."
The second-row seats also receive praise, with thefinding them "plenty comfortable" and reporting that "generous second-row knee room and legroom are possible, more than in some full-size SUVs." The second row tumbles forward on XLS models for easy access to the third row.
The XLS trim's third-row bench seat can be stowed under the cargo area to maximize cargo space. But as a seat, it's uniformly disliked -- and frequently seen purely as a way for Mitsubishi to cram a coveted third row into a small SUV. Automobile.com has the strongest opinion, saying, "I was extremely disappointed with the design of this third row. I've got folding picnic chairs that feel sturdier." No reviewer finds that anyone taller than small children could possibly ride in the third row. In fact, Mitsubishi even specifies on its web site that the third row is only recommended for passengers shorter than 5-foot-three. "The 3rd row is suitable only for kids, and they will ride in an uncomfortable knees-up position on a cushion that uses webbed hammock-style material rather than conventional padding," says Consumer Guide.
Standard on all trims are air conditioning; cruise control; power windows/mirrors/door locks; an engine immobilizer and anti-theft alarm system; and an AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback capability and six speakers. MSN says, "Even the ES is pretty well-equipped." There are also two 115-volt power outlets on the LS and XLS versions: one in the cockpit and another in the cargo area. XLS buyers get a "FAST" remote entry system -- which means the car senses your keys and opens automatically -- as well as a Bluetooth system for hands-free cellular communications. New options for 2008 (for any trim) include a wireless cell phone link.
Stereo and Entertainment
For most reviewers, the real fun began when they drove vehicles equipped with some of Mitsubishi's more interesting options, including a 30-gigabyte hard drive-based navigation system and music server (available on all models). The system automatically converts every CD played to MP3s on its hard drive. USA TODAY says it's "not a huge deal, but a clever one that makes the high-price system more useful and thus more worth having in the first place." Automobile.com is similarly impressed, saying, "This is hands-down the best system of this type that I've used, impressive enough that its steep price point seemed almost reasonable after an hour of playtime." Edmunds finds the system's interface "a bit non-intuitive," but stills says it's "one of the most comprehensive and useful systems on the market for a vehicle in this price range."
An optional 650-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system with Sirius satellite radio, however, is almost uniformly panned for producing ear-splitting volumes at the expense of quality. Even Cars.com, which likes the system, says it "sacrificed clarity for power and bass thump, but for rock, rap or any other music that sounds better the louder it gets, this will be a winning choice." The sound system only comes as part of a Sun and Sound package, which also includes a sunroof and is only available on LS and XLS models.
Most find the Outlander's cargo space ample enough -- and its interior storage spaces even better. The Outlander offers 14.9 cubic feet behind the optional third-row seat, 39 cubic feet when the third seat is folded, and 72.6 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded. This is about the same as its well-known competitors -- including the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V-- and more space than the Subaru Forester. Though Consumer Guide says that both the second- and third-row seats "fold easily," Edmunds complains that "a confusing muddle of pull-straps" makes folding the third row "more complicated than necessary."
The Auto Channel reports that "the Outlander's interior usefulness is further enhanced by a plethora of storage spaces," and most reviews agree. These spaces include a two-tier glovebox, center-dash storage compartment, overhead sunglasses compartment, center console with cell phone tray and a larger compartment, and a small storage compartment on top of the rear wheel housings. Plus, the Outlander has a whopping nine cupholders, which is even more than its passenger capacity.
But what's most notable about the Outlander's cargo area is it dual-opening rear hatch, with a bottom portion that can be dropped down as a tailgate. BusinessWeek says this is "great for getting those big loads in." The Chicago Sun-Times adds, "Loading bicycles or large packages is made easier by the segment's first and only flap-fold tailgate." The lowered section of the tailgate can also function as a seat or picnic table.