Line up all the compact crossover SUVs in the market but there is only one vehicle that will stand out from the pack – the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander. Reason? Its aggressive stance conveyed via a jet-fighter-like front fascia with a massive blackout center, flanked by horizontal xenon HID headlights.
Our GT S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) test drive comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine putting out 230 horsepower @ 6250 rpm and 215 pounds-feet of torque @ 3750 rpm. But if off-roading is not on the list, go for the base front-wheel-drive ES model with a 2.4-liter, inline-4 cylinder engine offering 168 hp @ 6000 rpm and 167 pounds-feet of torque @ 4100 rpm. Plus, you will earn 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway in FWD compared to 19/25 mpg in the all-wheel version. A Continuous Variable Transmission or a 6-speed auto are standard depending on your model choices.
The S-AWC system sends power not only to the front or rear wheels but also to the left or right wheels for maximum traction. Also, the idle-neutral logic technology translates into fuel savings at a stop. Besides, you get a choice of tarmac, snow or lock modes. We will happily stick with tarmac and leave the snow mode for the folks up North.
Space is at a premium in the Outlander, though third-row space is slightly cramped. But with both rear seats folded down, the SUV opens up nearly 72.6 cubic feet of storage area. And as football season kicks into full gear, the fold-down tailgate, which can hold 440 pounds of weight, translates into "let's party."
Base-priced at $21,995 for the ES FWD and $27,795 for the GT-AWC, the attractive crossover touts a lively ride, decent fuel economy and plentiful cargo and passenger capacity. After all, it's a standout vehicle.
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length: 183.7 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multi-link rear
Weight: 3,780 pounds
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gallons