(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)
Make no bones about it.
Mitsubishi is a carmaker which currently is neither hot nor all the rage. Crazy as it sounds, that is a good thing for consumers. As the Japanese brand shakes off the dead-weight of cars to focus on Crossovers, it offers some incredible values out there.
Now making the ROADBLAZING.COM / “Drive…He Said” Budget Utes List is the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 SEL AWC:
Answering the question,“What is a good value 3-Row, 7-passenger mid-size crossover utility vehicle you can get for your money?”
√ Low M.S.R.P:
from $24,635 for front-drive 2.4 ES models to $32,060 for a fully kitted all-wheel drive 2.4 SEL
√ Low transaction price:
Reports on internet of actual prices paid as much as 30% < M.S.R.P.
√ Sufficient capacity, Versatile use of space:
Despite a tall lift-over for the segment, a revised 2nd Row split seat cushion’s mechanism, now permits completely flat extended cargo floor; Don’t kid yourselves: the 3rd Row is vestigial; Front buckets are lower back supportive; A low cowl improves outward view; Controls are marked clearly – most easy to reach; Door pocket storage is OK up front, more sparse in back and wanting in the center console.
√ Better than average fuel economy, without resorting to costlier hybrids or diesels:
27 miles per gallon in combined driving, decent 450 mile highway range, featuring nifty fuel economy app
√ Adequate highway on-ramp merge acceleration
Like most CVT equipped vehicles, wrings out the engine under hard acceleration, without neck-snapping effect; Move the selector in D-Sport for optimal results.
√ Acceptable ride/ handling
Drives smaller than it’s size, with a nimbleness in lane changing, despite understeering and rolling; Steering weighs nicely but a bit nervous on center; Doesn’t bounce with indie suspension absorbing most harsh impacts. It’s also a cinch to park.
√ Reliability & durability:
Mitsubishi wrote the book on variable valve timing engines; Assembled in Japan; Most of the dash top and upper door panels are soft-touch; Panel fit could be more uniform; Not much road or wind noise was heard, but a cargo area panel creak was noticed.
√ Low maintenance costs and good warranty
10 year / 100,000 miles powertrain, 5 year / 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranties
√ Styling that isn’t too radical
Don’t fret over the old SAAB 9-5X jutting front fascia: Boomerang chrome borders, twin horizontal bar grille, pseudo skid plates, wrap-around boomerang lights, muscular belt-line and raked roof-line all offer pleasing detail.
√ Power windows, door locks, automatically shifting transmission, air conditioning, FM/AM Audio with CD/ Aux
Also standard: Full express driver’s power window; Dual-zone automatic climate control; Dual illuminated vanity sun-visors; HD-radio, Tilt & telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel; Cruise control
√ Good safety feature set & ratings:
Standard LED headlights; 7 airbags (incl. driver’s knee), Rear view camera w/ park guidance grid; 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick
Prefer to Have & Make Life Easier Behind the Wheel:
√ Bluetooth handsfree phone & audio connectivity
√ Touch infotainment display: 6.1″(ES) – 7″ featuring Android Auto / Apple Car Play with GPS Navigation (SE and up)
√ USB x 2 ports, 12V x 3 power ports
√ Heated Seats (SE and up)
Nice To Have But Can Live Without:
√ Premium upholstery: Leather seats (SEL and up)
√ Power extras: Folding Side Mirrors & Liftgate (SEL and up)
√ Driver assist technology:
(STANDARD): Blind Spot, Rear cross traffic & Lane change warning; (OPTIONAL – SEL Touring Pkg.): Adaptive cruise control, Collision Avoidance pre-braking, Lane Departure Warning; Automatic High Beam lights.
Which to Skip, Which to Pick:
Skip the $34K Outlander GT V6 AWC. It won’t win that many more drag races than the 4-cylinder models and will burn more petrol. Leapfrog the base ES model lacking keyless ignition, heated seats and Android Auto / Apple Car Play infotainment overlays. The 2.4 SE AWC, including all that kit for $27,935, seems the logically better value. Personally, we’d splurge the extra $1000 for the SEL’s leather seats, power folding wing mirror and liftgate, Homelink, Blind Spot & Rear cross traffic warning w/ Lane Change Warning. Or await the imminent arrival of the $35K plug-in gas-electric Outlander PHEV AWC (eligible for $5836 federal tax credits plus state rebates).
1) When possible, locate an outgoing model year vehicle. They come with greater manufacturer sale and lease incentives.
2) Do Your Homework.” Scour manufacturer websites for “Rebates“, “Incentives” or “Special Offers.”
3) Be flexible on options and colors. Be willing to consider what other consumers might readily pass on.