Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Outlander raises its game in crossover market

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Want to compete in the crowded crossover sport-utility vehicle market?  You need to keep evolving.

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander has done just that.

Thoroughly redesigned and improved for the 2016 model year – more than 100 tweaks, according to Mitsubishi engineers – the reasonably-priced Outlander is stuffed with standard features covering all bases, from safety to cruising comfort.

My tester was the higher-end 2016 Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC … That last part stands for Super All-Wheel Control, by the way.  Kind of self-explanatory.

This Outlander GT, which means you get the 3-liter V-6 making a max 224 horsepower, started at a reasonable $30,995.  Remember, this is a three-row, up-to-seven-passengers SUV.

Naturally, the tester was dressed up with around $3,300 in extras that included a top-notch navigation system, a forward collision-mitigation system, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system.

Nice to have these things, but frankly, I’d be OK with the standard package.  For the record, this 2016 Outlander not only was awarded the max five-star safety rating from the federal government, it was a “Top Safety Pick” of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

If I listed all the standard features, this would have to be a two-part review.  The tester was liberally loaded with perks that included leather interior appointments, under-floor cargo/storage area, a power/remote liftgate and heated exterior mirrors.

The exterior look has been jazzed up, with aggressive, sporty styling, especially on the front end.

But the best news was in the driving: The tested Outlander was stronger, smoother and much quieter than Outlanders I’ve tested in past years.

Mitsubishi touted thicker door glass and more use of sound-insulation materials.  The ride also is enhanced by a more-rigid body structure.  Consequently, the Outlander was a silky freeway cruiser, and it was agile in downtown traffic when I wanted to hustle to my next appointment.

Fuel mileage with the V-6 comes in at an OK 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
Some auto-reviewing colleagues complained that the 224-horsepower V-6 was not powerful enough for their tastes.  I found the power plant more than adequate in virtually all driving situations.  The engine did strain on extremely steep hill climbs, but that just puts the Outlander in a very large group.

Simply put, the Outlander bumps up from a previous “B” grade to an “A-minus” with all the changes.  Translation: It competes well among the crossovers.

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