2009 Mitsubishi Outlander review

This more affordable variant doesn't come with all-wheel drive, but Anna Barbara Lorenzo is still very impressed by its refined demeanor
by Anna Barbara L. Lorenzo | Jun 30, 2009
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My mother has a deep sense of loyalty. She had been using soap that promised youthful beauty (which she does have) even before I was born. She's been working with the same company for more than two decades. When it was time for her to replace her five-year-old car, I was not surprised she got the same sedan. I'm almost certain that if Mitsubishi had not upgraded its lineup, she would¹ve gotten the exact, same car.

Needless to say, she was thrilled that this test vehicle is from the familiar brand. And I was thrilled when she seemed so interested in the SUV, I thought she was finally considering a shift to a bigger vehicle. When the question of cost came up, the mere mention of "million" was enough to snap us out of dreamland, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the ride.

It's easy to like Mitsubishi's Outlander. I'd give it an A for politeness. It says "welcome" when you turn on the engine, and "goodbye" when you switch it off. There is no loud ticking to disturb conversations when you prepare to turn because it has quiet signal-light indicators; the downside is having backseat drivers remind you about signal lights even when they're already on.

It has a multi-information display, which I set to the fuel-efficiency monitor--a useful tool at a time when oil prices are starting to rise again.

It also worked as a guide as I familiarized myself with paddle shifters--fuel efficiency improved by more than 100 percent when I finally got the hang of tapping the levers.

I did not have to bring the Outlander to some out-of-town off-road spot to test its sport-ute capabilities. But even if this model is only front-wheel-driven, it is smooth on humps and potholes around the metro, as well as in the gravel yard that is our parking area. It is also responsive to sudden sharp turns as you try to survive a flurry of unmindful tricycle drivers.

Despite all its merits, the Outlander is not without flaws. Upon approaching the unit lent to us, I noticed a thin white wire sticking out of the rear-left side of the vehicle. What it was will forever be a mystery to me because I didn't dare touch it.

While driving, I was bugged by a compartment cover on the lower-left side of the steering wheel that refused to lock in place. I was also puzzled by Mitsubishi's decision to use different fabrics for the Outlander's front and back seats--at least for the GLX and GLS variants--considering that both are said to be waterproof anyway.

Small car drivers like me might also find it a little disconcerting trying to maneuver a huge vehicle like the Outlander in reverse. The reverse sensor is only available as a dealer option to the GLS Sport and the GLS variants of the Outlander. Here's hoping this feature would soon be standard on all vehicles, regardless of size and make.

It has been months since I surrendered the key to the Mitsubishi Outlander, but its novelty and familiarity both continue to haunt me and my mom--in a good way.

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