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Seating space for up to seven; good 4-cylinder fuel economy; active-safety options; smooth ride; all-weather capability
A new SEL trim debuts for 2016 and gets alloy wheels standard.
The Outlander is in a crowded field, up against best-sellers such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and the Subaru Forester. Against these, the Outlander offers a comparable exterior but manages to pack seating for more people inside.
Interior space and fuel efficiency are both big strengths. Mitsubishi also says that the Outlander is one of the most fuel-efficient utility vehicles offered in the North American market with standard 7-passenger seating (it gets an EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway).
The Outlander can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which should be plenty for a small boat or a couple of jet skis. Ground clearance for the Outlander is 8.5 inches, which should give it an easier time with snow than some other crossovers.
There are four different versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander for 2016: the ES, the SE, the SEL and the GT. The GT is only available with an all-wheel drivetrain while all other trims can be had in either front- or all-wheel drive form.
Among 4-cylinder models, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered with two different engines: a 166-horsepower, 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, or a 224-hp, 3.0L V6. Four-cylinder models include a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while shifting in V6 models is handled by a conventional 6-speed automatic. If buyers want the V6, they need to get the top GT model.
The layout underneath the Outlander is like that of most crossovers in this class, with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link rear suspension. A new electric power steering system helps provide good weighting and responsiveness and also reduces fuel consumption. EPA gas mileage ratings for the 4-cylinder models ranges up to 25 mpg city, 31 highway.
The Outlander may not present as a hard-core off-roader, but it has enough toughness and ground clearance to get through loose, rocky trails and the occasional forest road. S-AWC models (with all-wheel drive) include an electronically controlled center coupling, with an open rear differential; the system is supplemented by an active front differential that helps get the torque split correct between front wheels--especially of help in low-traction situations like ice, snow and mud.
In all models, the second row can fit up to three, and it's 60/40 split, with the seatbacks folding forward for more cargo capability or reclining--and there are adjustments for sliding fore and aft as well. The third row can fit two, and it's split 50/50, with a fold-flat mechanism. With both rows folded, the Outlander has up to 128.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough to swallow pieces of furniture or several large parcels.
Equipment included on base ES models of the 2016 Outlander includes automatic climate control, rear-seat heater ducts, remote keyless entry, heated side mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls and a 6-speaker sound system with 140 watts. Stepping up to the SE adds dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a passive-entry system and touch-screen audio with a USB port, Bluetooth and HD Radio. SEL trims add a power sunroof, power tailgate, a premium Rockford-Fosgate sound system and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Top of the line Outlander GT models come with rain-sensing wipers, an 8-way power driver seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror and leather seat trim.
High-tech safety options available on the SEL and GT include adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning, forward collision mitigation and rain-sensing wipers.
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