2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Long Term Road Test - Performance

2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Long Term Road Test

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: 10 Things I Like

June 06, 2011


Our long term Outlander GT has grown on me quite a bit. I'm usually not into SUV's, but this has enough of the Evo blood mixed in to make it pretty enjoyable to me. Much like Donna's blog about our TSX wagon, here are the top 10 things I like about our Outlander:

1. Paddle shifters!!!!

2. It's got sauce

3. Truck-like tailgate

4. Blue Tooth streaming audio

5. Sporty suspension and taut ride

6. Seat heaters (yes, truly like Donna)

7. Flip up rear seats for a flat cargo area

8. Keyless ignition

9. Simple to use dial controlled HVAC system

10. Touch screen Nav

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: "Flinty" Freeway Ride

April 14, 2011

Freeway Hop.jpg

This stretch of L.A.'s 405 freeway is constructed of concrete slabs and as such is notorious with ride/handling engineers. The high frequency ride qualities of the Mitsubishi Outlander GT don't like it at all, and our Director of Vehicle Testing, Dan Edmunds (an engineer who used to design and test suspension on the OE side of things) characterized this as, "too little compression damping." Ya, I'd say so.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Dirt Roading

April 04, 2011


Had the opportunity to drive the Outlander on a dirt road with some genuine obstacles (for a car) this weekend. Following are a few notes.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: A Mammoth Report

March 28, 2011

Mitsu Outlander mammoth.jpg Despite crazy snow predictions, we ran into zero snow on the roads by the time we got near Mammoth around midnight on Friday, so my original goal of driving the Mitsubishi Outlander GT in snow was squashed. At least temporarily.

Decent snowfall while we were on the slopes on Saturday did make for a minor amount of snowy/icy travel around town and on local roads. So how did the Outlander's S-AWC all-wheel-drive system handle the conditions?

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Mammoth or Bust

March 25, 2011

Mitsu Outlander GT ski.jpg Well, looks like it's my turn to head to Mammoth Mountain this weekend for a little skiing. So me and my much, much, much better half will take off tonight and head up the 395 after the crappy SoCal traffic dies down a bit.

What's cool, though, is that it's looking like we'll be able to give our long-term Mitsubishi Outlander GT's Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system a good test, as Mammoth's website says they have allegedly been dumped with "4-7 feet of snow" since Tuesday, with "multiple feet" more expected through this Sunday.

I say "allegedly" because the weather forecast both for the town of Mammoth Lakes and for Mammoth Mountain itself is predicting snow totals in terms of inches, not feet. Couldn't imagine that Mammoth's website would stretch the truth on snow accumulations...nah.

Regardless, here's hoping for some major fun in the snow; both on the slopes and during the drive in the Outlander GT.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 14,777 miles.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Road Trip Impressions

March 14, 2011

So how did our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT do on the road trip to Mammoth this weekend? Not too shabby. Here are some quick impressions:

- Air-conditioner still blows. The cabin gets stuffy pretty quickly with four mouth-breathers, plus it's been warm lately in SoCal. In any case, the A/C never seemed to get cool enough. We found instant relief from cracking open the windows.

- Yay for the USB port and powerpoint so two iPhone-equipped passengers could charge their smartphones while playing Scrabble and watching NetFlix during the trip. Only weird issue is that sometimes it would just show on my iPhone that it was plugged in but not charging. And then a little bit later it would charge. Not sure what that's about.

- With four passengers, their luggage, groceries and two snowboards, packing the cargo area took some creativity. But it all fit! Although we did end up having to sit with some of our gear. Of course this wouldn't be as much of an issue if we had a roof rack.

- Fuel economy for the trip: average was 21.8 mpg, 25.3 best mpg (last and biggest fillup), 18.9 worse (first fillup). Three fillups, 35.4 gallons of regular.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,512 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Valentine's Day Ode

February 14, 2011

mitsubishi outlander fairfax.jpg

So this is not so much an ode as it is a list. Last time I checked it was Valentine's Day, a time during which we as a people spend ridiculous amounts of money on gifts and flowers express love and affection.

In that spirit, I came up with a list of things I dig about the Outlander, which was my ride over the weekend. Wasn't too hard -- it's a great little SUV.

1: Assertive sheet metal.
2: Easy-to-live-with ride.
3: Relatively enjoyable handing.
4: Great sound system with crisp highs.
5: Easy-to-use audio interface.
6: Damn fine-looking interior.

What things do you dig most about your vehicle?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Not a Mom-Mobile

January 11, 2011


The automotive industry showed signs of slow recovery in 2010. Sales for the year came in at about 11.5 million units, up 11 percent from 10.4 million units in 2009. Mitsubishi participated in this recovery, with a 2010 sales increase of 4 percent.

Mitsubishi reports that the Outlander was a primary driver in the company's sales growth and I can understand why the model is doing so well for the brand. Not everyone wants their next crossover to look and handle like a mom-mobile and the Outlander does a pretty good job of meeting the needs of this type of buyer. Solid handling, assertive looks and an attractive cabin make it a winner in my book.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 11,802 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Just Right

January 06, 2011


I just got over a rough case of the flu so I was a bit foggy the first day back. When I walked down to our garage to jump into the Outlander Sport, I hit the unlock button and the damn thing wouldn't unlock. I did that about three times before I realized I had the keys for the other white meat: the Outlander GT. At first I worried about early dimentia, but I soon realized my mistake and it reaffirmed my earlier belief that this day would be rough. It was pretty sad none the less.

Driving the Outlander GT back home again I got my wires crossed. I was thinking this thing has plenty of power and is fairly responsive throttle wise. It confused me but I thought my previous experiences were of it being wheezy and underpowered. It took a little time, but the fog cleared. No, that previous experience was in the Outlander Sport.

It's a shame the Sport isn't very, well, sporty. I really dig the Sports snub-nose scrappy looks of a boxer. It's a boxer with a glass jaw in my opinion. The Sport would be a lot sweeter to drive with the GT's 3.0 L V6 pumping out 230 hp. The Sport is getting beat by its small crossover segment adversaries in nearly every category. Having a good helping of power to go along with its tough looks would help it fight the competition. Granted, our GT is nearly $5k more than the Sport, and that's a steep "granted", but the extra cash is worth the driving experience.

The GT doesn't have a lot of personality for me. Yeah it's got power and a nice ride, but it's not very memorable otherwise. Each flavor of the Outlander we have in our LT fleet is ho-hum in my opinion, but if you made a cross-breed between the two I think you'd have an outstanding vehicle. Maybe I still have a case of brain fog from getting over the flu and I'm over thinking this. Do you agree with me, or is each model fine the way it is?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: A Little Evo Goes a Long Way

December 27, 2010


The 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT is the big one. The Outlander Sport is the small one. That's confused more than one of us at the office, so now that we've got that out of the way, I can talk a bit about driving the GT.

Having grown up in Southern California, I never once saw the need for all wheel drive. And up until this past weekend, as hard as it may be to believe, I had never driven an all wheel drive car in the rain. Ever.

For me, the need for all wheel drive was somewhat of a fallacy. "You need it for security, you need it for better handling, you need it for traction," the brochures proclaimed. I never bought it. I've managed to make it my whole life without once desiring all wheel drive while on a paved road. Such is the life of luxury we have in Southern California.

Then I found myself driving the Outlander GT and it promptly rained for 5 days.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Mixology

December 19, 2010


Combine in a remote location:

1 part rain

1 part dirt

1 part AWD

Mix vigorously

The only question is, should I wash it before I bring it back to work?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 10,951 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Magnesium Paddles

December 14, 2010

Outlander GT shift paddles.jpg

Last month I wrote that I didn't like the plasticky feeling of the paddle shifters in our long-term 2009 Audi A4 wagon. One reader commented that you can only get metal paddles in high-end rides like the Benz SLR. Well to all of you from Missouri (the Show Me state), I present our $33K long-term 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT, with magnesium alloy paddles. And they're standard on the GT, XLS and SE trim levels.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander vs Mom's Honda CR-V

November 30, 2010

Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V.jpg

My mother was an early adopter of the whole compact crossover segment. She ordered a 1997 Honda CR-V having only sat in it at the Indianapolis Auto Show and was one of the first in town to get one. She loved that car and although she took a break for a generation (sharing an Acura MDX with my dad), she returned for generation 3 with this Green Tea Metallic EX-L above.

One of the reasons I opted for the Outlander over the Thanksgiving break was to see what my CR-V-loving mother thought about the Mitsubishi rival.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Off-Roading Back to LA

November 29, 2010

Mitsubishi Outlander on Tonopah Salome Hwy.jpg

Roughly 8 miles outside the outskirts of the middle of nowhere west of Phoenix, they are doing construction on a bridge. To do so, they have closed I-10 down to two lanes, which essentially brings the freeway to a complete halt. I drove on Tuesday and Saturday, so I can only imagine the horror show it caused Wednesday and Sunday.

On Tuesday, I sat in this traffic and it mercifully only robbed me of about 15 minutes. Coming home, though, I was in a hurry and figured there had to be another way. I scanned the navigation system and sure enough about 2 miles north of and running parallel to the 10 was something called the Tonopah Salome Hwy. Traffic was coming to a complete stop right where I needed to exit and I bailed. I followed my nav map two miles until I came upon the "hwy" and turned left. A half-mile later, I came upon a sign...

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Over the Tioga Pass

November 10, 2010


Here's the obligatory photo of our long-term 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander at 9,945 feet on the Tioga Pass, which is a glorious stretch of California Highway 120. The 230-hp 3.0-liter V6 certainly wasn't feeling its oats at this point, but most people drive (or ride their Harleys) at a walking pace to take in the scenery.

In any case, the altitude falls off quickly, and the Outlander cruised through Yosemite 40-50 mph (speed limit permitting) in relaxed fashion. There was no snow on the road on this unusually warm fall day (nearly 60 degrees at 9,945 ft), so there was no opportunity to try the all-wheel-drive system's "snow" mode. Also, unlike my last visit to the Pass, there was indeed a park ranger manning the east-side Yosemite entrance booth and she relieved me of the $20 fee just to drive through the park.

It's worth the money, though, because the views rival the Alps for sheer spectactularness, and I audibly exclaimed about how great they were even though there was no one listening to me except the Outlander. There's no cell service, so I couldn't call a real human anyway.

Make sure you fuel up before you set out, though...

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Back Road Out of Vegas

November 08, 2010


After a couple days at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, I pointed our long-term 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander toward Northern California. I had a whole day to get to San Francisco, so I wasn't about to cut back to Los Angeles and cruise up Interstate 5. Nope, I was determined to reenter California by way of the Eastern Sierras, and I didn't care that I didn't have a powerful sports car for all the tight two-lane roads and elevation changes (3,000-10,000 feet) along the way.

You can see the basic route I took after the jump. It's long -- 563 miles and 9-10 hours if you're keeping a reasonable pace and stopping to take photos -- but worth the effort if you have the time. One neat thing about the route is that Nevada State Highway 266 meanders into California, and then cuts back into Nevada, and then you return to California by way of U.S. 6.

The Outlander rode well on the whole leg of the trip, particularly on smooth U.S. 95, which runs straight north out of Vegas. The ride is a good blend of compliance and control, and road noise isn't too bad over most surfaces. There's some wind noise off the side mirrors, but the mirrors are large, so no surprise there.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: The Alternate

November 03, 2010


With the Fusion Hybrid down for the count, I needed another road trip vehicle, and our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander is it. We made the 300-mile journey without incident -- and without stopping for gas. I logged 314 miles before this visit to Terrible's Chevron, during which I put in 14.502 gallons of premium fuel (recommended but not required) for 21.7 mpg. Not bad for a 3,780-pound, all-wheel-drive crossover with a 230-hp, 3.0-liter V6.

So far, I feel lukewarm toward the Outlander as a road trip vehicle. It's significantly quicker than the Fusion, even when the Ford isn't in limp-home mode.

But the Mitsu's six-speed automatic transmission isn't very smart on uphill grades -- and there are many of those on Interstate 15. It will not hold 4th or 5th gear for longer than a few seconds (so eager is it to get back to 6th), so it's continually hunting around. You can't use the cruise control comfortably unless the road is perfectly flat, and ultimately, I found I didn't enjoy using "D," either, and ended up shifting manually. At least, Mitsubishi gives you some options there -- you can use the leftover Evo-spec magnesium paddle shifters or the console shifter.

Today I'm headed to San Francisco, and I'm still determined to use the scenic Tioga Pass. We'll see how the Outlander does.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 7,422 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Paddle Shifters Prevent Traffic

October 11, 2010

mitsu outlander paddle.jpg

So, yes, our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander isn't "quick to shift," as Managing Editor Donna pointed out. But I do LOVE its paddle shifters. And, sure, I basically love all paddle shifters (our Insight had them, too). But after having had to drive our Terrain in rush-hour traffic and deal with its shifter with its sad "L" as my only option to "D," I truly believe that if everyone had paddle shifters and/or knew how to drive stick, it would minimize traffic congestion.

Big ifs for sure but a girl can dream, can't she? Hear me out.

Since the Terrain doesn't have any engine braking at all, I found myself going back and forth from throttle to brake more than I cared to. Doing what I hate to do which is always tap my brakes. No one knows how to drive in LA -- accelerate, stop, accelerate, stop. Blah! And everyone always overreacts to brakelights. But with the Outlander's paddle shifters, it's smooth sailing. Just hang back behind the Braker McBrakerton in front of me and I hardly have to tap the brakes at all when I can shift back and forth from 1st to 2nd. The driver behind me doesn't have to freak out and so the chain reaction goes, thereby clearing up the congestion. Ta-da!

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Poor Man's X3

September 27, 2010

Mitsu Outlander GT STW.jpg

I'll admit it: I like SUVs, especially the small mid-size models. They're practical and space efficient, although most have poor dynamic performance.

One exception is the Benz GLK, which is decent. Another, that I'm particularly interested in driving is the 2011 BMW X3. It's the right size for me and I'm sure the performance will be good.

But what if you can't swing the new X3's $50K price tag?

May I suggest a vehicle identical to our long-term 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT?

It's got great handling, accurate steering with good on-center feel, and a well-programmed six speed auto transmission mated to a flexible 3.0 V6. And all this for $33K. Yeah, it could use more power, but in most situations it's fine.

To top it off, the Outlander GT is fitted with paddle shifters! How many SUVs have that?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 5,500 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Strut Tower Braces for Everybody

September 16, 2010


I was a little surprised to find a factory strut tower bar under the hood of our long-term Mitsubishi Outlander. Not too long ago such stiffening measures were reserved for only the most serious performance cars. Now they're quite common, heck, even our Honda Crosstour has one.

Does it help? Sort of. The Outlander is pretty nimble for what is essentially a tall wagon. It feels light on its feet and changes direction like a sedan. The steering isn't direct enough for my tastes, but you can whip it around a freeway on ramp much quicker than the Crosstour. Not exactly an area of interest for most crossover shoppers, but think of it as a "fun to drive" factor and it becomes relevant for anybody.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 4,812 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander: Setting The E-Brake First

September 09, 2010


I was out in the Outlander yesterday with a friend. We were going to lunch and I parked on a slight hill. I did my normal thing, which is to put the transmission in Neutral, pull the parking brake, let the vehicle settle against the applied brake, and then finish by putting the transmission into Park.

Maybe my friend was just bored, but he asked me why I did that. I told him it's a methodology to keep any pressure or binding out of the transmission's Park mode by letting the vehicle's weight rest against the parking brake instead.

"In theory, it should help with transmission longevity," I told my friend. He said this was interesting but that probably 95 percent of people just slam their vehicle's automatic transmission into Park first, maybe set the parking brake after, and call it a day. He's probably right. And the world certainly isn't awash in transmission problems because of it. But I'll continue to be smug by setting the parking brake first.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: The Forgotten Crossover

September 01, 2010


I don't see too many other Outlanders on the road, so out of curiosity I checked out how the Outlander is doing in terms of sales today since all the automakers release their monthly figures at the top of the month. These are all year-to-dates sales through August 2010 for the Outlander and a four other top crossovers I picked for comparison purposes.

Honda CR-V 126,379
Toyota RAV4: 111,706
Chevrolet Equinox: 87,397
Subaru Forester: 57,672
Mazda CX-7: 18,171
Mitsubishi Outlander: 8,670

As you can see, it's pretty grim. The interesting part is that I think the Outlander is a fairly competitive crossover and deserved of more attention than it currently gets.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: The New Front End

August 30, 2010


At first I wasn't sure if I liked the 2010 Outlander's new styling. It seemed a little gimmicky making it look like a Lancer Evolution even though there's no turbo-4 under the hood, you know? But now that I've spent some time with our long-termer I think Mitsubishi did the right thing. While the new front-end isn't quite as cohesive with the rest of the body as before, it adds some brand identity as well as distinctiveness, the latter of which is useful in a crossover market saturated with bland looks and me-too design elements. The funny thing though is that every time I look at our Outlander now I think it needs to be lowered to be even more Evo-ish.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Needs Rev-Matched Downshifts

August 27, 2010


I like the feel of the shift paddles on our Outlander GT. There's a pleasing metallic weight to them as you pull back to shift. But I'd like them even more if the transmission was capable of rev-matched downshifts. It's not. So if you're braking and downshifting, the Outlander lurches annoyingly every time a lower gear is engaged.

For most regular vehicles with manual shift control but no paddles, I'm OK if there aren't rev-matched downshifts. But it seems to me that Mitsubishi has made a declaration of performance by adding paddles, so the Outlander should have the goods to back it up.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Nearly a Top Gun

August 16, 2010

Mitsubishi Outlander GT MCAS.jpg

I drove our long-term 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT to San Diego over the weekend. In a futile attempt to avoid I-5 gridlock, I ended up going past MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station Miramar). Yes sports fans, that's the same Miramar (formerly Naval Air Station Miramar) featured in the blockbuster movie "Top Gun."

I found our Outlander to be a bit underappreciated, with good steering and ride quality, and quick transitional handling. However, the 3.0L SOHC V6 rated at 230 hp @ 6250 rpm and 215 lb-ft @ 3750 rpm has absolutely no bottom end and gets buzzy under heavy load. Additionally, there is some rattling coming from the folded 3rd-row seat.

I got 20.9 mpg on recommended (but not required) 91 Premium in 320 miles of a 50/50 mix of Fast Highway and "why-didn't-I-leave-earlier" stopped traffic.

Oh yeah, the air conditioner worked fine, although it's a bit weak, and I did hear the "tchtttttt" record player noises that Kelly reported, but only at low vehicle speeds with the radio off.

All in all, our Outlander GT is a good, sporty small-mid-sized SUV/Crossover.

If you're in San Diego at the beginning of October, make sure to check out the MCAS Air Show.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 3,400 miles

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander Takes on the Gnarly Seam

August 05, 2010

True, it's not all that exciting. I mean, it's a plush 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander taking on the same gnarly seam, or at least the not-as-bad part of it, that proved painful to our Mini E and VW GTI. Nope, the exciting part is that it was doing this at extra-legal speeds, and I'm not talking the suggested ramp speed of 40 mph. Pshaw. Even though this is a CUV, it's sharper and more athletic than your average crossover. I definitely wouldn't mind taking a road trip in this car and diverting off onto some fun roads, making sure to secure my luggage first of course.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Track Tested

July 31, 2010

Outlander GT track Tested.jpg

Like everything else in our fleet, once the break-in period was complete ( hindered by an air conditioning repair) our 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT hit the test track in persuit of numbers.

The 2010 Outlander GT uses a three-mode adjustable all wheel drive system Mitsubishi calls S-AWD. It's derived from the Lancer Evolution and has a first-in-class active front differential and electronic center differntial. Our 2010 Outlander also has a 230 horsepower V6 and six-speed automatic transmission.

So how'd it do?

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: The Old Switcheroo

July 26, 2010


This is the Outlander's shifter. Note the orientation of the manual shift control -- upshifts require a push forward, downshifts a pull back.

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2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT: Not Quick To Shift

July 12, 2010


I'm too nice. I keep allowing myself to get stuck with the Outlander without A/C. It was really hot running errands this weekend. The fan works but it blows in hot air. It was like having the heater on. So I had to turn it off and lower the windows. It didn't really help that much. But the good news is that the compressor is in and we should have it fixed this week.

Onto other news. I'm not crazy about driving the Outlander. Sure, it's comfortable. It has heated leather seats and satellite radio. But the six-speed automatic transmission is sluggish. It's not quick with the downshifts or the upshifts for that matter. When I try to make a speedy move, something as simple as moving slowly up to a left turn and then trying to take off fast. Or trying to pass on the freeway. It doesn't react quickly enough. I was tempted to drive it in manual mode all the time.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it handles at the test track. I'd like to hear what the other editors think. Perhaps when it has cool air again, someone else will be willing to drive it.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 1,068 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests