Okay, I am a jeep person by nature, but I bought my first Mitsubishi three years ago when I got my Eclipse. I loved that car… the only thing I didn’t like about it was that it was so low to the ground my husband couldn’t fit into it! So when we started talking about starting a family I knew I was going to have to look for a family-friendly vehicle. Now guys, listen, I am not the mom-mobile type of gal. In fact, that I even managed to get married and settle down a bit is a huge deal. So looking around at minivans was NOT an option.
I must have test driven about a thousand cars before I thought to try the Outlander, and I could have saved myself a lot of work if I had just driven this one first! This car is a small SUV that is incredibly agile – we’re talking complete u-turn capability in one lane of traffic!!! It’s sporty on the outside and somewhat on the inside too, though my Eclipse was soooooo much nicer on the inside. Its four doors make it very easy to climb in and out of the back seat, and the XLS model you even get a third row of seating standard. I wasn’t planning on having a litter of kids, so two rows of seats were just fine for me.
The first model we drove was a base model. Stay away from that one if you can afford to. It was limited and felt very cheap on the inside – surprisingly, even the visors were like dollar-store quality. But the next one we drove was an SE with a pretty good option package. I liked the seats more than the base model, but I still missed the sunroof and the upgraded stereo system. The third try was the charm! I got an ES with the sun and sound package that gave me the sunroof and Rockford Fosgate 650 watt stereo that I so missed from my Eclipse (soooo worth the extra money), and the seats were upgraded to sports fabric with leather bolsters. We stopped shy of the rear backup camera and nav system, but I think those can be added aftermarket anyway!
So… I’m short. This car works GREAT for short people like me. The drivers side seat can be raised and lowered for different height people to be comfortable. My husband is much taller than I am and is just as comfortable driving this vehicle as I am. I will warn you though, that the controls are designed for people with longer arms than mine though. The four window controls are a little too far up the drivers side door for me to reach easily in the dark, and the middle console is too low down for me to rest my arm on. But the cup holders are awesome. There’s one on the dash for the driver, plus one in each of the door wells for water bottles, two in the middle for the front seats and two in the middle for the back seats to make nine in all!
There are power jacks everywhere, including a 115 volt jack so you can plug a TV or hairdryer in if you needed to. The back of the car was very, very nicely designed with a traditional rear door that opens up, but the addition of a tailgate that can lower down! My dog loves being able to hop in easily, and I like having the tailgate to sit on at bonfires. It comes pre-wired for Bluetooth, but you have to add some additional equipment to get that working, and it also comes with a 6 month subscription to Sirius (which totally rocks – I’m sooo lost in the 80’s). My package, the SE, retains the standard four-cylinder engine but I also got 18-inch alloy wheels, a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo with the 6 disk changer and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters so I could use the on-the-fly extra power feature on the highways if I wanted!
So how does it drive? Well, it’s not a sports car. But, it does have a good deal of get-up-and-go. I got the 4 cylinder version that has a 168-horsepower 2.4-litre engine mated to a continuously variable transmission so the gas mileage is pretty darned good for an SUV. I have averaged 24 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. That’s better than the EPA estimates, but I use the little feature that lets you see your consumption real time – so I changed my driving habits to conserve gas mileage!
As for safety, all major safety features are standard on the 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander, including antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Whiplash-reducing front head restraints are also standard. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, the new Outlander earned the top rating of "Good." This was important for me because we are considering adding kids to the mix and I wanted to be sure they’d be safe!
Overall, I’d definitely buy this car again.
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