By Frank S. Washington, NNPA Newswire Contributor
DETROIT – It wasn’t 15 minutes after they dropped off the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander that I was headed towards I-94 on my way to Chicago. During the week-long test drive I found the Outlander to be a very good crossover for both city and highway driving.
A 2.4 liter four cylinder engine provided enough oomph for the Interstate. It made 168 horsepower and an almost matching 167 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a continuously variable transmission.
CVTs are usually a little loud and seemingly a little slow but not on the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT AWC which is the trim line that I had. I cruised to the Windy City effortlessly, setting the cruise control just shy of 80 mph. Those times when I stopped at a rest area and then got back on the road, the Outlander’s acceleration was impressive – for a CVT. It was pretty quiet too.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport had a rating of 23 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined. In real world driving, I averaged 24.7 mpg combined and I averaged 37 mph for five days.
I had the Sport model with GT trim. It had what Mitsubishi called the “Dynamic Shield” front design. I didn’t like the appearance; it made the Outlander look like it had half a grille. But that was the only thing I didn’t like.
The GT trim had LED daytime running lights was well as fog lights. Color keyed folding and heated sideview mirrors were a nice touch. There was a roof spoiler, roof rails and a shark fin antenna. The Outlander Sport GT was a snazzy looking crossover.
Of course, there was a rearview camera; it is the law now. The drive on this section of I-94 was not challenging for the suspension. It is pretty much a 275 mile straight shot west, gently curving around the southern edge of Lake Michigan. A lot of the surface has been repaved so it was a smooth uneventful drive.
Inside, the interior was black cloth with horizontal red stitching that gave it a ribbed look. The front seats were heated and the infotainment screen dominated the dash. However, my test model did not have a navigation system but it seemed to have everything else.
I plugged in my smartphone for charging. The first thing the system did was read my phone and initiate Apple CarPlay. The Outlander Sport GT also had Android Auto, satellite radio and the other usual audio creature comforts including voice controls.
There was still one quarter of a tank of gasoline left when I arrived. However, I had to gas up that night because I was unexpectedly headed to the West Side the next morning. I went down South Shore Drive and then took a right onto Lake Shore Drive. There were narrow lanes and the latter is actually an expressway.
A couple of tight turns, rush hour traffic, quick braking and speeds approaching 60 mph can make the run anxiety-filled. From there, I snaked over to Columbus Drive, went north a few blocks and then took a left and headed west until I got onto I-290. At that time of the morning I was going against traffic, so it wasn’t too bad. I got off at Homan Avenue and took a left on West Monroe for several blocks until I arrived at my final destination.
The point of all this is that it would have been a far more nerve-wrecking drive if not for the Outlander’s blind spot warning which let me know when someone was, well, in my blind spot. Lane change assist, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection let others know of my intent. And lane departure warning literally kept me in line. The automatic high beams came on at times that I would not have thought to use them. Better to be safe than sorry. That’s what most of this stuff was about.
According to Mitsubishi, all-wheel-control “is a four-wheel dynamic control philosophy for maximally exploiting the capability of all four tires of a vehicle in a balanced manner to realize predictable handling and high marginal performance.” The core of the AWC philosophy is the integration of Mitsubishi’s various proprietary technologies, such as 4WD drivetrains, suspension Mitsubishi has branded its all-wheel-drive system as All-Wheel Control technologies, braking systems, stability/traction control systems, and various differentials. Although initially developed for the high-performance Lancer Evolution full-time four-wheel drive models, the system is now incorporated in Mitsubishi’s other 4WD vehicles, each having its own distinct configuration.”
The pavement both here and in the Windy City was dry. Thus, I never engaged the system manually from the button on the center console. However, handling was precise.
There were two USB plugs just beneath the infotainment screen plus a 12V socket. It had a three-dial climate control center between the infotainment screen and the USB and 12V jacks. There was another 12V jack in the center console.
Some soft touch material was on the front door arm rests but most other surfaces were plastic; some of it hard. I climbed into the back seat and found plenty of head room. I thought leg room was a little snug but it was acceptable.
Overall, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT AWC was a capable utility vehicle with a car-like ride. Creature comforts including push button ignition as well as push button lock and unlock. For $27,865 it would be a good buy.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com