With a trip to Kearney, Nebraska on the schedule last week, I was in hopes of obtaining a nice loan vehicle for the trip, and lucked out when Tom Cooney of STI Drive offered a 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE to drive. It turned out to be a terrific vehicle for the road with minimum road noise, nice guidance, and supple ride.
Mitsubishi Motors is attempting to earn a little respect in the U. S. automobile market with cars such as the one I drove to Kearney last week, a Rally Red Outlander Sport SE all-wheel drive compact crossover. The Tokyo-based manufacturer has existed since 1917 and is the sixteenth largest in the world. It has weaved in and out of ownership arrangements with several suitors such as Daimler, Volvo, Chrysler and several Chinese firms. But U.S. sales peaked about ten years ago, and Mitsubishi is relying on acceptance of vehicles such as the Outlander Sport SE to maintain a notable presence in this country.
I actually liked the Mitsubishi a lot, and was surprised to feel as comfortable as I was after just concluding a test of a $65,000.00 luxury crossover. The M.S.R.P. of the Outlander was $25,820.00, including freight ($825.00), and a premium package ($1,000.00). Positives other than those that became evident on my road trip included the styling, nimble handling, and comfortable black cloth bucket seats. The premium items were a Rockford-Fosgate nine-speaker, 710-watt stereo system with 10” subwoofer, auto-dimming rear view mirror, and a power driver bucket seat. Also, it had power locks/windows/mirrors, heated seats, satellite radio, tilt/telescope, cruise, 6.1 infotainment display, backup camera and auto climate control. Seating was for five passengers and 21.7 cubic feet of cargo room existed behind the back seat. A proximity key arrangement, pushbutton start, and console-mounted emergency brake were items that pleased me, as they always do.
Powering the Outlander is a 4 cylinder, 2.0 liter, 148 horsepower (6,000 rpm) DOHC engine rated at 24 mpg-city and 29 mpg-highway (30 mpg-combined and a 15.8 gallon tank). Torque rating is 145 lb. ft. (4,200 rpm). Behind it is a continuously variable gearless transmission that has paddle shifters on the steering column for sport motoring. The car is not overly powerful, but the paddles saved the day. Four-wheel drive is selected on the fly with a console-mounted button with 2WD, 4WD, and “Lock” positions.
I admired the styling, which was enhanced with 18” bright alloy, eight-spoke wheels, a bold grill arrangement, a spoiler, and deep-tint rear windows. The standard tires were Nexen N Priz RH7’s in size P225/55R18. At the rear was a chrome exhaust finisher and dual fog lights were attractively arranged on the front of the car. Overall length of the SE is 169.1”, and the car weighs 3,131 lbs.
Mitsubishi has managed to put together a vehicle worthy of respect with their Outlander Sport SE. It was a creditable ride for the trip East and worthy of a “thumbs up” from this reviewer.