The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE AWC rides like a car and is tough like an SUV

By I.R. Hunthausen
Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

auto-01The Outlander is an outstanding leap in the right direction to promote the crossover breed. If a ride can combine pragmatism and a good- time drive there is little more left to desire?

WHEN I THOUGHT OF A CROSSOVER I used to envision a curvaceous SUV like vehicle with an interior fit for kids and an affinity for eating up gas mileage. I had an issue with practicality when it came to the unique breed of auto. They never seemed butch enough to tackle the back-country jobs that a traditional sports utility can and never had the street aesthetic their hatch- back brethren tended to carry.

So, when I spent a week cruising around in Mitsubishi’s 2015 Outlander Sport SE with the windows down, the sunroof open, the music playing, all with a smile on my face, any previous prejudice to the crossover genre were put on hold and now have been assuaged completely.

The first thing I noticed about the Outlander was its body styling. It has a sturdy front end that is broad and confident and looks solid cruising. The design showcases a pedigree that puts emphasis on the Outlander’s SUV side of the family tree, while the handling is remarkably swift and responsive — not too far removed from the likes of its two-door low profile cousins.

The agility this high-riding auto possesses makes it a pleasure to drive. Adaptable is the one word I would choose to describe the drivability of the Outlander. Within a couple of blocks I was totally confi- dent on my first drive — which was great because it gave me ample time to enjoy the finer details the Outlander offers.

auto-02I cruised the Sirius MX stations, bouncing between Octane and Faction, while basking in the late January afternoon sun that tricled in through the sunroof. Arizona weather this time of year is a rare treat, which made mid-day sojourns inevitable and well received as I took the Outlander up and around downtown Chandler. It was easy to relish an extra trip around the block on the way home, and for a couple days I was more than happy to run errands for any reason.

There is a room for your peeps and room for play with seven-passenger seating standard and fold-flat third row seats — which pays when you have plenty of both.

I spend most of my winter and part of my spring coaching high school basketball. When it comes to brutally honest opinions, especially when not warranted, teenagers are the crème de la crème of telling it how it is. As soon as a handful of us piled into the Outlander my players took in the new car smell and let me know it was quite the upgrade from my beat-up, yet reliable old civic. We rolled in confidence to our practices with plenty of leg and head room, even with the back packed with balls, cones, and clipboards.

The Outlander is an outstanding leap in the right direction to promote the crossover breed. If a ride can combine pragmatism and a goodtime drive there is little more left to desire? Maybe a killer sticker price (just unde $30,000 MSRP), or outstanding gas mileage (drivers save $1,250 over 5 years)? Well, I guess we can’t have everything right. Or can we? It’s versatile, fun to drive, economic, and secure — I was sad to turn over the keys at the end of the week.

AZSAL was given a 2015 Outlander Sport SE AWC with Touring Package

  • 2.4L 166-hp MIVEC DOHC 16-valvue 4-cylinder engine
  • Super-wide HID headlights
  • Color LCD multi-informational display
  • 6.1” Touch panel display audio system with 140-watt audio system with 5 speakers
  • Average of four star crash test rating by NHTSA with five star side crash rating
  • Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning System with Forward Collision Mitigation
  • 27 combined city/highway MPG with annual fuel cost just under $2,000
  • Touring Package Includes: 710W Rockford Fosgate premium sound system