Most of the media's ink is relegated to such issues as they relate to Detroit, but there's a Japanese player, a once-competitive force in the U.S. market, that lies on the brink of pulling up stakes, calling it a day, and bidding farewell. Mitsubishi, creator of the original AWD turbocharged Eclipse hatchback, former big-league engineering partner to Chrysler, and proud parent of the current Lancer Evolution, is on life support. Injecting the Raider pickup and redesigned Eclipse into the lineup have failed to improve the prognosis. There's one remedy left, the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander, due to arrive this November.
Thankfully for Mitsubishi's sake, this rig's got some legs to stand on. There's a 220-horsepower V6 engine and six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission standard on every model, attractive features like Bluetooth connectivity and a rear DVD entertainment system, a unique split tailgate design, available four-wheel-drive traction, a tow capacity peaking at 3,500 pounds, EPA highway fuel economy reaching 27 mpg, up to seven-passenger seating, and its sleek shape makes it arguably more appealing than many competitors. Above all, the Outlander is backed by a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Unfortunately, that's of little comfort when offered by a company with a questionable future. Another issue is price – Mitsubishi suggests the range will fall between about $19,000 to less than $30,000 fully loaded. For a company that so desperately needs a successful vehicle, let's just say it sure as heck better carry a competitive figure on the sticker. Consequently, if priced right, anyone in the market for a small SUV, or versatility in general, would be well served to give the Outlander a look. The truck itself has a lot to offer, and the local Mitsubishi dealer will be eager to greet you.