2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Long Term Road Test - Introduction
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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Long Term Road Test

Introduction

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Edmunds gets a long-term Mitsubishi Outlander.

But that was 2007, so times were different. Then it was an anonymous Outlander XLS with a 220-horsepower V6, with just a silly A/V jack for auxiliary inputs for entertainment devices.

But now we have in our garage a 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT. This time our Outlander is white and offers a USB input, an upgraded instrument display and a 230-hp V6. And thanks to a jetfighter-inspired nose cone, the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT finally looks the part of a worthwhile stablemate to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

In a segment of jacked-up jellybeans, does the refreshed 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander finally have the looks and swagger to sway buyers from the more familiar brands?

Why We Got It
New for the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT is a three-mode (Tarmac, Snow and Lock), adjustable all-wheel-drive (S-AWC in Mitsu-speak) system derived from the Lancer Evolution. This uses a first-in-class active front differential and an electronic center diff to swap power fore, aft, port and starboard to offer unparalleled — at least in the crossover segment — traction and stability. The Outlander still has magnesium shift paddles and aluminum pedals. It's still got a strong 3.0-liter V6, keyless entry and ignition, and a totally bitchin' (if awkwardly named) Flap-Folding Tailgate for our cameramen to shoot from.

The new stuff for 2010 includes a revised, full-color multi-information display that replaces the red dot-matrix display that cursed the old car. The stereo has also been bolstered by the addition of a USB input with iPod connectivity via a hands-free system that also handles Bluetooth calling. (Don't worry, though; the yellow/white/red plugs are still available.) The Rockford Fosgate stereo has also been turned up to 11 now, pumping out an additional 60 watts of boom for a total of 710 watts through eight speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. And while our 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander had a 30GB music storage system, Mitsubishi's now added some extra there for the 2010 Outlander, so we've got 40GB.

Mitsubishi's 3.0-liter V6 with variable valve timing has been upgraded as well. The engine now makes 230 hp at 6,250 rpm and 215 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm. Thanks to the 2010 Outlander's incorporation of Mitsubishi's new auto-neutral feature that disengages the transmission when the computers feel that freewheeling is more fuel-efficient, the new SUV's EPA ratings have improved, but only by 1 mpg across the board — 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

But as much as we appreciate any bump in power, we have to keep in mind for the duration of this test that the Toyota RAV4 can be equipped with a 269-hp V6. It's one thing to look fast and point out one's rally heritage, but it's another thing altogether to get smoked off the line by Sam Soccer-dad in a Toyota. Is the existence of the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT justified on looks and handling alone?

What We Got
Our new 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT represents the top trim level for the Outlander, so its base price of $29,250 includes a lot of toys: six-speed automatic, hill-start assist, three-mode all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted controls, automatic climate control, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, three 12-volt outlets, auto headlights, power sunroof, foglamps, soft-touch upper instrument panel and door inserts, and, of course, Mitsubishi's new Fuse infotainment manager.

The only option we opted for is the $3,000 Premium Navi and Leather package. This includes leather seating surfaces, the aforementioned 40GB HDD music server/navigation system with real-time traffic information, rearview camera and auxiliary video input.

All together, our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT stickers for $33,015 and it has been supplied by Mitsubishi for this Long-Term Road Test.

More of the Same?
Clearly the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander doesn't represent a ground-up redesign. It's not even a major refresh. No, this crossover represents a series of subtle tweaks designed to hone a pretty good package so the formula will have just the right consumer appeal, or until the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (a smaller, five-passenger crossover) arrives and Mitsubishi ditches this three-row nonsense altogether.

You'll take note that Mitsubishi has done nothing about the Outlander's Gitmo-special, third-row torture box. Making the tired analogy of the penalty box would be offensive to hockey, since adults can fit in a penalty box. Maybe if Mitsubishi were to sponsor the NHL and use the third row instead of.... Well, now we're getting ahead of ourselves.

For more of this kind of thing, check our long-term road test blog, where we'll be dissecting the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT for the next 12 months and 20,000 déjà vu-filled miles. Will it be more of the same, or do the little differences actually make a difference?

Current Odometer: 333
Best Fuel Economy: 16.6 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.6 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 15.3 mpg

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


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