Mitsubishi’s 2013 Outlander GT has plenty of spirit
By ANDY MIKONIS For Sun-Times Media December 5, 2012 4:43PM
2013 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER GT
ENGINE: 230-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 19 city/25 highway
BASE PRICE: $28,595, plus $825 destination
AS TESTED: $33,920, including destination
Updated: December 7, 2012 12:41PM
Though Mitsubishi alternates between calling the 2013 Outlander GT an SUV and a midsize crossover, it does retain the tall stance and longer hood of a traditional SUV.
In its flat sides, I can see some hints of DNA from the venerable Montero and the popular Montero Sport. I didn’t care for the post-trendy silver taillights, but found the exterior styling generally palatable.
Interior styling was agreeable as well, with the touring package adding leather seating surfaces and a power driver’s seat among other features. Nicely crafted stitching catches the eye on the hood over the gauge cluster and is continued on the glove box as well as the seats, which are wide and accommodating with well-placed headrests. Elbows find soft-touch surfaces right and left.
While the upholstery design is clean and simple, Mitsubishi added some interest in a patterned upper instrument panel reminiscent of carbon fiber that offers an effectively matte finish to reduce glare. The tester’s black interior sees splashes of argent for a sporty air. The sporty vibe is continued in metal-trimmed pedals and large steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles that are surprisingly of metallic composition.
From a usability standpoint, the front of the cabin offers good storage options with a clamshell double glove box and a two-level center console compartment. Control layout is simplified across the dash with a classic three-knob climate-control unit. I wished for a knob to control radio volume instead of a toggle switch, though conversely I did like the clearly marked toggle on the opposite side of the audio/navigation screen for selecting scale on the map; some automakers manage to make that operation unnecessarily elusive.
Graphics quality of the map is fairly cheesy, though detail is sufficient. You do have to dig into the touch screen for things like radio tuning, but the interface is relatively intuitive. Keyless entry and start were a nice touch, but I didn’t like that you still had to turn a knob where the ignition switch used to be.
Second-row room was a little more confining than this tall reviewer expected. Access to the third row for more cargo room was achieved via a split fold-and-tumble arrangement, which was easy to operate. The third row, more of a jump seat really, was an interesting provisional solution for some extra seating without cutting into cargo space.
Driving the Outlander recalled the experience of a true SUV, and I mean that in a positive way. It’s charmingly trucklike in the way it bounces you around a little bit, though suspension settings are quite good at dampening the harsher imperfections while retaining enough firmness to keep it from swaying too much in turns.
Steering is appropriately modulated, not too quick as to accentuate the high center of gravity, yet precise enough to retain fun-to-drive handling. The brake pedal felt too squishy for my taste, though hard stops were executed with plenty of control.
The smoothness and relative quiet of the Outlander GT’s V-6 under acceleration pleasantly surprised me. It has an aluminum block and heads with variable valve timing, and produces 230 horsepower at 6,250 rpm. Peak torque of 215 pound-feet happens at 3,750 rpm.
While it’s not exactly a speed demon, the power level is certainly plentiful and appropriate for this type of vehicle, and it allows you to tow 3,500 pounds, doubling the rating of the base four-cylinder. Fuel mileage was fairly uninspiring with my loan tallying 16.3 mpg in primarily city driving.
Shifting the six-speed automatic transmission with the long steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles was an entertaining diversion. The power train is coupled to an all-wheel-drive system with three settings selectable from a knob on the console: tarmac, snow and lock. The dry fall week when I tested the Outlander did not afford me the opportunity to try out the two latter choices.
Lock mode is good for occasional adventure driving or if you get really stuck. The snow mode is always helpful in our climate. On a related note, as winter approaches, Mitsubishi has made heated outside mirrors standard for 2013 on all trim levels, while heated seats are now standard on SE and GT.
Though I had driven some Outlanders in the past, the 2013 GT snuck up on me; as so many crossovers have morphed into thinly disguised minivans, I appreciated its SUV spirit. A redesigned Outlander is on the way for 2014, so it should be a good time to pick up one of the last of this generation.
You Might Like
- Beetle Convertible debuts with sportier style
- Lexus ES350 maintains luxury feel
- Jeep Wrangler Sport a dual-purpose SUV
- Click & Clack: How to replace a car’s interior
- Chrysler Group makes substantial investment in Ohio machining plant
- Chevrolet Equinox a distinctive and comfortable crossover
- New Ford Explorer Sport a high-performance SUV