Real Utes Have Tailgates - 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT Long-Term Road Test

2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Long Term Road Test

2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Real Utes Have Tailgates

May 13, 2011


Every real sport-utility should have a tailgate. Otherwise all you have is a crossover, a shopping basket with really big wheels, and probably about as much fun to drive.

It’s all a matter of footwear, really.

If you’ve got a four-wheel-drive sport-ute, chances are you’re headed for some place where the traction is a lot different than the big parking lot in front of the Meijer’s. It might be that dirt, mud, sand or snow will be involved. And in the same way that your four-wheel-drive sport-ute has all-terrain tires to minimize the slipping and sliding when the traction is bad, so too you’ll be changing your own footwear. You know, aqua socks, bicycle shoes, hiking boots, motocross boots, running shoes or ski boots.

And basically it’s a better deal to sit on a tailgate and change gear than squat on the doorsill. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

There are plenty of other reasons to have a tailgate, of course, and they involve things like loading up the cargo area or having a semi-level workspace to re-jet your dirt bike’s carburetor when you’re on a fire road in the middle of the big trees near Twain Harte (which I’ve done). But I think it mostly comes down to footwear.

The Mitsubishi Outlander GT has a kind of clever, half-height tailgate, so you don't even notice it's there until you deploy it all the way. Maybe this tailgate is just a kind of evolutionary leftover that reminds you where sport-utilities came from, but it tells me that the Outlander GT aspires to be more than just a snappy shopping cart.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 16,802 miles

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