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The Mitsubishi Outlander is a four-door, up to seven-passenger SUV. The Mitsubishi Outlander (originally known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek in Japan) is a compact crossover that was introduced in 2003. At the time, Mitsubishi was seeking to establish a viable entry in the burgeoning crossover market. However, due to tepid sales and generally lukewarm reviews, the Outlander was redesigned for the 2005 model year. While this current 2nd-generation Mitsubishi Outlander has received a more favorable response, sales are still far below class-leading competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Mitsubishi Outlander Styling

In a vehicle class that has become saturated with competition, Mitsubishi has tried to differentiate the Outlander by delivering a sportier, family-friendly design. The vehicle shares the same architecture as the compact Mitsubishi Lancer, which is known as the GS platform. The 2nd-generation is larger than its predecessor, with an additional 13 cubic feet of cargo space and dimensions that include a length of 182.7 inches, width of 70.9 inches and height of 66.1 inches. The additional room allowed Mitsubishi to add a third row of seating – a feature that has come to be expected in the crossover market. The 4-door design accommodates up to seven passengers. Other notable styling features that have received praise from experts and drivers alike include a high driving position and family-friendly cargo space.

Mitsubishi Outlander Trim Levels

The Mitsubishi Outlander originally debuted with three trim options – ES, LS and XLS. In the 2008 model year, an additional mid-level SE option was added to the lineup. The base ES model and new SE trim come with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 168 horsepower. The engine is coupled with Mitsubishi's automatic continuously variable transmission, known as MIVEC. The LS and XLS Mitsubishi Outlander receive a power upgrade in the form of a 3.0-liter V6 engine. These upper-tier trims offer 220 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity for all models is 3,500 lbs.

All Outlander trim levels are available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The AWD system offers three advanced settings that allow users to choose from a 4WD Lock mode, 4WD All Weather mode and 2WD mode.

Mitsubishi Outlander Features

As of the 2008 model year, the Mitsubishi Outlander ES comes standard with air conditioning, 60/40 rear seat, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, 6-speaker stereo system with CD and MP3 capability, LED tail lamps, daytime running lights and a dual exhaust finisher. The LS builds on this package by adding an auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth capability, cruise control, keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, floor mats, roof rails, 16-inch alloy wheels and exterior detailing.

The SE takes things a step further with sport-inspired features that include power sunroof, sport fabric seats with leather bolsters, high-contrast display meters, 115V power outlet, 9-speaker premium stereo system, satellite radio, 6-CD changer, 18-inch alloy wheels, exterior chrome accents and fog lights. The top-tier XLS adds silver roof rails and door handles and rear privacy glass.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 Outlander is sold in three trim levels. The ES and SE editions of the SUV are both motivated by the same 2.4 liter, 168 horsepower 4-cylinder engine that also generates 167 lb-ft of torque. A continuously-variable transmission sends power to either the front or all four wheels, with the SE benefiting from paddle shifter controls mounted on the steering wheel. Fuel mileage is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. The XLS trim is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 engine that produces 220 horses and 204 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is again an option, while the transmission is a 6-speed automatic unit with clutchless manual shifting capability. Fuel economy for the larger motor comes in at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.