Last post on May 10, 2010 at 6:35 AM
You are in the Mitsubishi Outlander
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Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Car Comparisons, SUV
#262 of 1581 Finally, an Outlander test drive
May 03, 2008 (6:27 pm)
Rockville Mitsubishi got a 4 cylinder in stock, so I went to test drive it. Oddly enough this was a 2009 model, basic model with very few options. It was weird because they had a loaded 2007 V6 on the show room floor, so they are selling 2007s and 2009s side-by-side.
First I checked out the loaded V6 in the showroom, then drove the 4 banger, then checked out the V6 again to note the upgrades the high-end models get.
Sitting in the V6, first thing I noticed is there were no door sill protectors, probably an accessory option, but the Forester has those standard. I love the seats. I wish the leather were perforated, and maybe a little softer, but the shape is perfect, as if the Outlander designer copied the EVO designer's work.
The arm rests are both padded but they are certainly not leather, sorry chelentano. Put two finger on the material and pinch them together. The soft leather on the seat has small wrinkles. The vinyl on the arm rests does not. It's also a bit shinier so it looks different, too.
I sat in the EVO in the showroom and guess what? It uses the same faux suede/microfiber in the Forester I test drove. Nice!
This is par for the class, but every plastic surface is hard to the touch, and tap on anything and it feels hollow. The high-end model did have a nice leather steering wheel, but the base model I drove did not. They did not have a loaded up 4 cylinder, which is why I checked out the XLS a 2nd time (to note the differences).
The bin at the top of the dash is useful but hit the button and it pops open undamped, so it feels a bit cheap. Utility trumps luxury, so that's OK. It would be a good place to stash a Garmin GPS.
The headliner, again, par for this class, looks like recylced dryer lint glued on to cardboard. Subaru does this too. It's as if they got their materials from the local laundromat. C'mon guys, spend 50 more cents and put some padded fabric or something.
The carpeting feels a bit thin, but I'd say the same thing about competitors in the $20-25k price class.
The sun visor is, you guessed it, plastic, but squeeze it and you hear this strange crunching sound. Forester's is plastic but at least it feels more solid.
I popped the hood (this is still prior to the test drive) and found the fluid caps are all different colors. Subaru makes everything yellow, for easy reference, an idea Mitsubishi should copy. They should also copy the neat struts on the Forester that lift the hood for you when you unlatch it. I had to fuss with a prop rod on the Outlander.
In the cargo area, the clam shell opening is actually pretty neat, and they were thoughtful enough to close the seam when you open it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the carpet covering the 3rd row seat, which was about an inch short and left an unfinished look. On the right side, some velcro was holding down the carpeting, not sure what it covered (the jack?), but it also looked unfinished.
Also, it's neat that you can sit there, but a better idea would be if the 3rd row could fold back and be used for true tail gate seating. My Toyota minivan does this. It's very useful.
The side curtain air bags do not protect the 3rd row, but this is a sin also repeated by Subaru on its Tribeca crossover. How much money do they save with this type of cost cutting, honestly?
To close the tail gate there is a place for your fingers but some plastic trim right below it had some flash (extra plastic where the molds part) and felt a bit sharp. A strap would work better.
There is a donut spare underneath and outside. I'd prefer they ditch the 3rd row and include a full size spare. I think only the RAV4 still offers a real spare tire, though.
The salesman comes get me at this point for a test drive. I'll split this post so it doesn't get too long...
#263 of 1581 Driving the CVT
May 03, 2008 (6:51 pm)
This base model felt notably cheaper. The cloth reminded me of the cloth in the Forester, i.e. durable but not exactly plush. Get the leather.
This one also had 16" rims with plastic wheel covers, which is a shame, because it meant I didn't really get to test the handling much. It did have more body roll than the Forester, which stays flatter.
I was hoping to like the CVT, but it let me down. It makes the throttle pedal feel totally disconnected from the powertrain. I floored it and it slowly built revs, up to about 4500rpm, then dropped again. Seems like they try to get the engine up to where it makes torque, keep it there, then drop off the revs as you reach cruising speeds.
The engine actually performs fine. I was alone, so there wasn't much weight in the vehicle, but acceleration was reasonable. I had the windows open and heard the engine did sound rough, but I closed the windows and the vehicle is actually well insulated so it's really not that bad. If you do not tow or haul huge payloads, I think it will get the job done, and cost you less to buy, and in gas and insurance.
Just make sure you like the CVT. On this basic model, there were no paddle shifters. Though it seems counter-intuitive on a CVT when the whole idea is to find the optimum ratio and avoid stepped shifts in the first place.
I mentioned this after the Auto Show, but visibility is not good. What I found during my test drive is that the mirrors don't do enough to help - they are far too narrow.
The trip computer was measuring 7.x mpg when I got in, so I reset it and managed only 9 mpg on my test drive. Still, it's green, so that doesn't mean much.
I parked and checked out the back seat. The seating surfaces are a bit hard. They slide fore and aft, which is very nice, but to leave room for the doors and shock towers the seat bottoms have a strange cut-out. The head rests hit the back of my neck, so you really have to raise them all the time. Problem is, that may hinder visibility even more. Strangest of all, my head rubbed the ceiling on an XLS with the moonroof.
So headroom is so-so, but legroom is limo-like. Slide is back and you have all the room in the world, plus there is foot room under the front seat. If you have kids with long inseams and short torsos, they will be thrilled.
Each door has a molded bottle holder, which may be industry-standard nowadays but it's still a good idea and worth a mention.
The back seat's arm rest is nicely padded, but the cup holders are too far back.
The exhaust exits are on the right, I prefer the Forester's twin exhaust.
There is a circular spot in the center console, the salesman said it was for coins?
The brochure says you can get a PZEV V6 model, but it loses 7hp. The cool thing about the Forester PZEV is that you actually gain 5hp.
I also found out the 2WD models have a bigger gas tank - 16.6 gallons. We definitely want AWD, though.
Likes? Seats, available features, and efficiency with acceptable performance.
Dislikes? Visibility, CVT operation, interior materials (except seats, shifter, and steering wheel with leather models).
#264 of 1581 Re: Forester wins MT comparo [ateixeira]
May 03, 2008 (7:08 pm)
I stand corrected, I did not read the details I only looked at the 0-60 mph times. However, it's still a 9.5-10 sec vehicle.
You are right, the Forester XT is very quick and I never argued with that. However, it's expected since it's a turbo and a good, proved one and the car is light for the class. It's definitely superior by a mile to the other turbo small SUV attempts - CX7 and RDX. I wouldn't bash a 4-cyl SUV for not being as fast as a similar V6 nor a V6 for not being as fast as a fairly big turbo 4.
The V6 Outlander slots in between the fast turbo and the slow 4-cylinder and this is to be expected. The 4WD V6 Outlander is a 8.0-8.5 sec. car which I find adequate and I'm fine with it. I know I wouldn't be satisfied with a 4-cylinder CUV from any manufacturer, not even the Rogue (it's got a CVT which I don't like). But that's just me.
#265 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [ateixeira]
May 03, 2008 (8:37 pm)
I think your observations are fair overall. If there is something to nit-pick on the Outlander is the materials and few week points in the fit-and-finish. However, none of the few shortcomings were deal breakers for me. The high points in my list were design (very high), the powertrain, 4WD system, versatility, reliability, fuel efficiency, features, price and when combined, the Outlander LS 4WD did meet my requirements.
One note is that you have to keep in mind that any base model, from any manufacturer, Forester included, feels cheap by comparison - they all come with steel wheels (with cover or "styled"), urethan steering wheel, lower grade fabric seats, plastic fog lights covers and decontented in general.
Step up to the mid-trim or top trim and things change (for some) and the Outlander is no exception. I got the LS V6 4WD and I have all the "must have" in my shopping list. I cannot say the same for Honda or Toyota for instance in terms of features/price.
However, the 2009 Forester 2.5X Premium would meet all my "must have" items.
Although many Outlander owners have the sunvisors in their dislike list, I don't mind them at all. It's true, I wish they were more solid, but not a real issue for me. I actually like the headliner and I prefer it to the rather cheap ones you find in some of the mainstream vehicles. The luxury cars are a whole different story.
I like most of the materials in the Outlander, although I would've liked them to be more solid (they do feel a bit hallow) and I would've liked to have the door panels from the MY08. They are only slightly lower grade compared to the hard plastics on the other vehicles in the class. I did not sit in the 2009 Forester, but if the plastics are the same grade as in the Impreza, they are not better than the Outlander in my opinion (actually I still prefer the Outlander). I agree that the CRV has the best materials in the class, but not by much.
I have the sued-like fabric in my car and I like it so far. It's been holding up very well for more than one year now.
In regards to the rear seatback, I see what you mean, but is it any different in the Forester? In my opinion, they are as good as in the RAV4 and much better than the CRV. I'll check them out in the Forester too when I'll have a chance. I doubt that you could seat comfortably without raising the headrest, but I'm yet to check it out myself.
The Outlander is not perfect by any means, but I think it's at par with the rest of the class. It really comes down to the personal preference.
Oh, and you are right, the door armrests, the door inserts and the center floor console lid in the XLS models are covered with "leatherette" not leather.
I don't like the CVT either and I would take a 4-speed A/T any day (I'd like a 5,6-speed though).
#266 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [ateixeira]
May 03, 2008 (11:12 pm)
>> Rockville Mitsubishi got a 4 cylinder in stock, so I went to test drive it. Oddly enough this was a 2009 model, basic model with very few options. It was weird because they had a loaded 2007 V6 on the show room floor, so they are selling 2007s and 2009s side-by-side.
It must be your typo or you talking about Lancer. The 2009 Outlander is not available yet.
>> I wish the leather were perforated
It is perforated, just in a different way: on side sitting area, not in the middle like Forester. I do like Forester perforation in the middle more.
>> The arm rests are both padded but they are certainly not leather, sorry chelentano. Put two finger on the material and pinch them together. The soft leather on the seat has small wrinkles.
It is vinyl, you r right, but if you donít inspect it very close it looks like leather and offers more luxury feel.
>> The headliner, again, par for this class, looks like recylced dryer lint glued on to cardboard.
The headliner is actually a special unique fabric designed to absorb odor. http://www.buyersguide.com/cars/07_mitsubishi_outlander.jsp
>> The sun visor is, you guessed it, plastic, but squeeze it and you hear this strange crunching sound.
The visors feel certainly cheep I agree, but I donít care.
>> I mentioned this after the Auto Show, but visibility is not good. What I found during my test drive is that the mirrors don't do enough to help - they are far too narrow.
Forester visibility is little better, but Outlander is acceptable and better then Murano or CX-7. I agree about the mirror. I went and bought after marker extra wide rear view mirror for $20. Now I have no blind spots.
>> Strangest of all, my head rubbed the ceiling on an XLS with the moonroof.
Yea, rear seat head room with moon roof is little tight for a tall person. You must be at least 6 foot I guess.
The Outlander is the only car I found which fits my requirements: integrated Bluetooth, FAST key, great reliability, preferably 5/10 warranty, styling, aux audio jack, smooth engine and transmission, full-time AWD, priced under $25K.
All of that I could get in Outlander XLS AWD for about $23.5K, but I went for extra packages.
#267 of 1581 Re: Forester wins MT comparo [dodo2]
May 04, 2008 (5:31 pm)
Motorweek's Outlander V6 took 8.9 seconds to reach 60, but other times I've seen are in the low 8s. Definitely quicker than the normally aspirated 4 bangers (except the Rogue, which just about ties it).
I pointed out the Rogue to my wife at the car show and she hated it. Too small and strangely styled for her.
To me the Rogue is too style-over-substance.
#268 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [dodo2]
May 04, 2008 (5:39 pm)
Agreed 100% about the base models being notably cheaper than the loaded ones.
Still, most of my complaints also apply to the loaded V6 on the showroom floor. The seats, shifter knob, and steering wheel are much appreciated upgrades on the interior.
As for Forester vs. Impreza, Subaru thankfully gave the Forester more upscale door panels. It still has some of the same issues that I had with the Outlander - thin carpeting, same headliner, etc.
Like I said, for $20-25k prices, this is not a problem.
As for the headrest, let me explain it better. When lowered, it sticks out a bit from the seat. It happened to hit my neck, so you pretty much have to raise it up all the time. The Forester's sits on top of the seat and didn't create that problem for me. I'm 6' so I doubt shorter people would even notice.
Personally, I'd pick the manual transmission, but two problems: the wife wants an automatic, and the LL Bean model only comes in automatic on the Forester.
Oh well, it's her car.
#269 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [chelentano]
May 04, 2008 (5:51 pm)
The salesman told me it was an 09. Rockville Mitsubishi, it was a silver base model. If they are not out yet then he must have been mistaken.
I can say that the 2008 brochure does not list the SE model, what's up with that? Does it exist? Was it a late model intro, that didn't make the brochure?
I did note the perforations on the sides of the seat, I just wish it covered the whole seating surface. My Miata has leather like that and it doesn't "breathe" well.
As for the feel of the arm rests, let's rack that up to personal preference. Personally, I think it's a shame they didn't use the same soft leather from the seats there. The vinyl is shinier and doesn't feel the same to the touch. I prefer the EVO's faux suede, again personal preference.
The Forester's headliner looks identical. Maybe before they installed it on the Mitsu they sprinkled some baking soda on there.
Cool that the aftermarket can step in and offer better mirrors.
For early models, 98-02, the Forester L had tiny mirrors and the more upscale Forester S has big ones. Thankfully, they standardized on just one size and chose the bigger one.
I am spoiled by the enormous mirrors on my minivan. With those and a fish-eye lens stuck on the back window, I can see well out of that big van.
Yep, I'm about 6' even, and since it's usually kids in the back seat I don't think the headroom issue is a problem. Plus if it is, just don't get the moonroof. The Forester seemed to have more head room, less leg room. The opposite basically. I sat in the back of the Forester when my wife was test driving it (we had 5 people in the car).
#270 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [ateixeira]
May 05, 2008 (9:50 am)
The SE was indeed a late addition for the '08 model year. It has a couple of upgrades to it like new interior door panel trim, chrome plated door handles, magnesium paddle shifters, and s standard 650watt Rockford Fosgate system with sub woofer (that eats into cargo space). I thought that the side-bolsters on the front seats are leather as well...
Several of these upgrades will be available on the '09 Outlander.
#271 of 1581 Re: Driving the CVT [psychogun]
May 05, 2008 (10:24 am)
The salesman must have been mistaken. He didn't know how to answer my towing questions, instead referring me to the brochure.
He could not find the owners manual, but I doubt he spent much time searching.
As is common in the industry he was more of a sales guy than a car guy. I was focused on the vehicle while he kept bringing up money - how much are you looking to spend? What kind of payments? Do you have a trade? etc.