The 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander draws attention (our test vehicle was approached at a jog by the smiling owner of a previous version). And this completely redesigned car/SUV crossover – new this month from a manufacturer that has not had a big footprint in the US – won us over, too.
Outlander shares a platform with the acclaimed Evolution sports sedan. An aluminum roof lowers Outlander's center of gravity. Its suspension offers supreme lateral rigidity; the ride is dampened but not too soft. A 3-liter, 220-h.p. V-6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that never seemed strained. Fuel economy – we scored 24 m.p.g. – is aided by a dial-to-select system that lets drivers choose front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive (as needed), or four-wheel drive lock. The interior quality of our LS model – no navigation, no fold-down third-row seats, no "paddle" shifters on the wheel, and none of that missed – felt like that of a European sedan. We liked the sculpted look and the rear hatch, in particular, which works with an innovative bumper tailgate. MSRP in the low- to mid-$20s. A very solid offering in a very crowded class.