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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander Overview

Growing Stronger Every Year

With rising fuel costs and ever-tightening household budgets, the compact SUV has become the new darling of the "I don't do cars" class. Though most of them are built on a car chassis, the compact SUV provides its owner with the tall ride height, cargo hauling capability and all-wheel-drive security that an ordinary sedan just can't match. The newest player in this field is the Mitsubishi Outlander, which for 2004 receives a significant boost in both power and performance.

With a distinctive front nose, fat tubular roof rails and clear rear-tail lenses, the Outlander truly makes itself known. The Outlander is meant to appeal to those who prefer a bit of pizzazz in the vehicle they drive, but don't want to spend half a year's salary to get it. The Outlander's modest size means that it is far more agreeable to living in cramped urban dwellings where parking is tight and negotiating traffic is tantamount to playing bumper tag with the vehicles around you.

For 2004, the Outlander continues to be offered in two trim levels: LS and XLS. Both models receive a significant boost in power with the addition of a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower—a jump of 20 horsepower over last year's model. The added power is most appreciated in the area of low-end torque which helps the Outlander move quickly from a dead stop as well as gives it the ability to pass with greater urgency. The standard four-speed Sportronic automatic transmission is also a great benefit when the need for speed becomes immediate. By placing the shift lever in the D position, the transmission behaves as a normal automatic: place the lever in the gated +/- position, and you can shift your own gears without the use of a clutch pedal. The Sportronic system works well in the Outlander, though you may find there is still more lag time between shifts than you'd get if you were using a traditional manual.

Both trims receive significant improvements inside, including additional use of sound deadening material in the dash, doors and front fenders. You'll find the instrument panel to be as innovative as the Outlander's front end, with two large hooded pods housing the speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges; the heating and audio controls are stacked one atop the other and placed at a slight rake for easy viewing. Little touches like the soft padding on the dash and door panels and the oval analog clock sitting center stage add that touch of elegance not usually found on vehicles in this price range. The Outlander's cockpit presents a very driver-friendly environment, though some may find that the power mirror controls are placed too low on the dash, requiring you to lean forward to reach them. And if you're the type that likes to eat on the run, you'll love the two big cup holders molded into the rearmost section of the center console; they even have cutouts to accommodate the handles on coffee mugs.

You'll find that the front seats are more than adequate for full-size adults, with excellent legroom and a height-adjustable driver's seat that can accommodate the tallest of drivers. The tall-of-torso will appreciate the optional power sunroof that slides up and over the roof so as not to rob the interior of headroom. Although the Outlander's interior volume is excellent for a compact SUV, its rear seat is best suited for children who have not yet begun their growth spurt. If the front seat passengers are willing to sacrifice a bit of legroom by moving their own seats forward, four adults can sit comfortably for short trips. The Outlander seems most happy when it's holding only two people and all of their cargo. You can fold down one or both of the 60/40 split-folding rear seats to create a vast cargo hold that can accommodate everything from camping gear to two sets of golf clubs with carts attached. With the rear seats up, you'll still find you have plenty of cargo space for groceries or small bags; we applaud the added convenience of built-in cargo tie-downs on the floor and rear seatback.

You'll find that both the LS and XLS are well equipped for their price range. LS models come standard with power windows, power door locks, power side-view mirrors, air conditioning, illuminated ignition key cylinder, eight-way adjustable driver's seat, 16-inch steel wheels, tilt-steering wheel, overhead map lights, rear-window wiper/washer, rear defroster, auto-off headlights and a 140-watt AM/FM stereo with CD. The XLS includes all this plus premium cloth fabric seats, tubular roof rails, 16-inch alloy wheels, full-size rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, six-speaker audio, white-faced gauges and mist control for the front and rear wipers. Options include ABS, power sunroof, leather interior, heated front seats, side-impact airbags and an awesome 210-watt Infinity sound system.

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