Mitsubishi Outlander Performance
Most reviewers find driving the 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander to be a good experience, if not a class-beating one. "Driving the 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander is more fun than you might expect, as its well-tuned chassis gives it sporty reflexes around corners and transmits considerable feedback to the driver," says Edmunds.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander's 3.0-liter V6 engine, new last year, might not win races, but is adequate enough for most reviewers. Autobytel says, "Compared to the much less powerful 2007 Honda CR-V and more powerful Mazda CX-7, the Outlander feels downright quick and more responsive." Edmunds adds, "Our time on the proving grounds suggests it has enough power to satisfy most shoppers and its delivery is smooth." Of the drive itself, MSN speaks for most reviewers, saying, "It had quick, nicely weighed steering, stable handling, good brake pedal action and an all-independent suspension that delivered a firm-but-compliant ride."
Acceleration and Power
While last year's Outlander came standard with a 3.0-liter V6, this year's ES base model gets a new 2.4-liter engine that makes 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. "I've driven the new Lancer with the I-4, and its a little speed merchant," says the Chicago Sun-Times. "However, the extra weight of the Outlander (as much as 500-plus pounds) makes a noticeable difference in performance. That said, you're not going to be buying an Outlander to use as your entry into the NHRA Winter Nationals. It's adequate for its purposes."
The LS and XLS models still come standard with the 3.0-liter V6 engine, which makes 220 horsepower and 204 pound-feet of torque. Performance, most reviewers find, won't beat the powerful Toyota RAV4's, but the and others are mostly satisfied: "The 204 lb.-ft. of torque, though seemingly a bit low, was plenty to tug it forward when pulling out to pass, kicking in appreciably at about 2,000 rpms." Consumer Guide says the engine has "more than enough verve for most driving conditions, though it could use more power for ideal highway passing response." Though Edmunds finds the engine is lacking in low-end torque, the review notes that once revved up, "it moves the Outlander along sufficiently and smoothly."
A benefit of the new four-cylinder engine is its fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it should get 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Models with the V6 should achieve a less impressive 17/25 city/highway. Four-wheel drive models get about the same, though those with the V6 make only 17/24 city/highway.
The four-cylinder engine is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while the V6 is mated to a conventional six-speed automatic. In addition, the XLS gets steering-wheel mounted paddles for manual shifting -- a feature reviewers note is usually reserved for race cars and luxury vehicles. Reviewers have not yet commented on the CVT transmission, but they speak well of the six-speed. Edmunds says shifts are "crisp and well-timed, and the XLS model's paddle shifters are surprisingly effective and fun to use." BusinessWeek is one of the few to actively criticize the transmission, saying, "As an automatic the engine was working too hard as it tried to deliver acceleration, and in the alternative manual mode it wasn't much better."
Handling and Braking
Handling is smooth, thanks to the front-wheel drive Outlander's car-based platform, which it shares with the Mitsubishi Lancer sedan. Reviewers find the ride to be smooth enough, thanks to a sport-tuned multilink suspension system with McPherson struts. Kelley Blue Book agrees it works well, saying it has "a well-tuned suspension and supportive front seats combine to deliver a balance of comfort and confidence that will accommodate a range of driving styles." MSN agrees, saying it "delivered a firm-but-compliant ride." Finally, Edmunds calls the Outlander "comfortable and well-mannered when cruising."
The variable power-assist rack-and-pinion steering also pleases reviewers. Edmunds calls it "nicely weighted," while Consumer Guide says, "This crossover has quick and communicative steering feel with moderate body lean in turns." A few reviews note that there is a bit of torque steer when accelerating, but say it's not as pronounced as it is in some competitors. New Car Test Drive says, "In sportiness, it may not be in the same league as the '07 Mazda CX-7, but it's easily competitive with the class, and even a slot or two above a couple." Road and Track agrees that the Mitsubishi is now highly competitive with other offerings, saying, "Through tight turns, our AWD Outlander exhibited excellent balance and stability, with crisp turn-in response and, surprisingly, minimal body roll."
The Outlander's four-wheel anti-lock power-assisted disc brakes receive good reviews. Cars.com says, "Around town, I quickly became a fan of the steady braking." Edmunds adds that the brakes "feel strong and progressive."
The Outlander's optional all-wheel drive system is well-received. Edmunds notes that it offers "an unusual amount of flexibility for this class. Twist the console dial to '2WD' and power goes only to the front wheels to save fuel. Choose '4WD Auto' and at least 15 percent of engine torque is routed to the rear axle at all times, and when you're accelerating on packed snow or other slippery surfaces, the rear wheels can accept up to 60 percent of the power." The system also includes a '4WD Lock' mode, which sends up to 60 percent of torque to the rear wheels under full-throttle acceleration.