RSS icon Home icon
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV-AWC

    Gasoline-electric plug-in crossover with all-wheel drive

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

    Although Mitsubishi is a relatively small player in the automotive market, its Montero produced during the 1980s and 90s, and more recent i-MiEV both had a significant impact globally: the Montero for racing, and the i-MiEV electric vehicle technology. For 2018, the company brings those specialties together in the Outlander PHEV: a gasoline-electric all-wheel drive version of its compact crossover.

    The new plug-in electric hybrid can operate in three modes: fully electric, series hybrid (utilizing an on-board gasoline-powered generator, and parallel hybrid combining power from two electric motors with a two-liter gasoline engine. The idea is to limit time in the gasoline-electric mode to longer trips out of range in pure-electric mode.

    Recharging time on 240-volt power is about 3-1/2 hours. Owners who have access to a commercial Fastcharge unit can reclaim about 80 percent of power in 25 minutes.

    A phone app enables owners to set their charging schedule to coincide with off-peak electricity usage hours and save a little money. The same app can remotely change climate control settings, check for open and closed doors, headlamps on or off and customize vehicle settings.

    The Outlander’s all-wheel control system has roots in the off-road Montero that won the grueling Paris-Dakar rally over a dozen times.

    Base price for the upscale GT version is $40,295 excluding the $940 destination charge. Standard convenience features include LED headlamps, daytime running lamps and tail lamps, folding side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, underfloor cargo storage area, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, dual USB ports and more.

    Options on the test car include white diamond pearlescent exterior, a tonneau cover, body graphics and carpeted floormats. Final MSRP is $42,130. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SE S-AWC

    New compact crossover focused on value

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

    2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

    Mitsubishi is leveraging the name of one of its most popular passenger cars to create a buzz about its newest compact crossover, the Eclipse Cross. As the pool of CUVs widens, competition among well-known players including Honda and Toyota makes gaining market share more challenging.

    Mitsubishi has struggled as of late to regain consumer confidence. Disregarding the issue of resale value, the automaker is offering buyers some very solid vehicles with improved fit and finish. While the Eclipse Cross isn’t a perfect car, it’s hard to find anything offering as much standard content with a starting price of $23,295.

    The all-wheel drive model tested starts at $26,395 excluding the $995 destination charge. Options include special white pearl exterior paint, carpeted floor mats, and tonneau cover. Final MSRP is $27,915. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC

    Value-focused subcompact crossover

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    It’s no secret that Mitsubishi has struggled to maintain its foothold in recent years, and as-a-result has shifted its focus from high-performance vehicles such as the Evo to bread-and-butter models including the Outlander and Outlander Sport crossovers. In-an-effort to lure customers back into the fold, the automaker adopted a value strategy that goes beyond pricing to include one of the best warranties in the industry that, unlike many competitors, is fully transferable.

    Still potential customers want to know if the cars Mitsubishi is producing are worth the investment. While the Outlander Sport’s $20,000 starting price is a bargain by anyone’s standards, it’s still a big chunk of money in a post 2008 economy where customers are still spending carefully.

    Mitsubishi has always had a reputation for producing sturdy engines and cars that can go the distance. Decades back, the now-discontinued Montero was a popular choice among off-road racers, including the grueling Paris-Dakar rally. The automaker continues in that tradition today. The 2.4-liter engine and continuously-variable automatic transmission that power the five-passenger Outlander Sport are well-engineered and well matched for years of good service.

    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    The test car is the all-wheel drive SEL, priced from $25,895 excluding destination. Being the upscale grade, the SEL comes loaded with comfort and convenience features including keyless entry and start, high intensity discharge headlamps, LED daytime running lamps and tail lamps, roof rails, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, satellite radio, Bluetooth interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB ports, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seating and automatic climate control.

    A touring package on the test car adds lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, automatic headlamps, Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system and a panoramic sunroof. Final MSRP including destination is $29,110. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2017 Chicago Auto Show

    Nation’s largest consumer show expands family-friendly activities

    By Nina Russin

    Nissan Midnight Edition

    Nissan Midnight Edition

    Those of us inside the car industry tend to forget the role consumers play in an auto show. In addition to new product introductions, these events are a rare opportunity for those outside the bubble to get up close and personal with cars they are thinking of buying. The driving public is the meat and potatoes of the Chicago Show, held each February at the McCormick Place convention center. In terms of attendance, it is the largest auto show in the United States.

    This year’s show features fun for all members of the family, including those too young to drive: a Lego Batmobile at the Chevrolet booth plus scale replicas of the Y-Wing Starfighter, X-Wing Starfighter, TIE Striker and AT-ACT, all displayed under the Death Star in Nissan’s special Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition Display appeal to the kid in all of us.

    Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Display

    Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Display

    Those of driving age can get behind the wheel and have some fun at the show’s five indoor test tracks.

    Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz include test tracks as part of their displays: an appeal to millennials who value experience over the written word. Mercedes-Benz’s Iron Schockl is a 45-degree grade, demonstrating the outstanding climbing ability of the G-Class, while Camp Jeep brings off-roading indoors with rock crawls, steep inclines and sandy surfaces. A Ram proving ground includes six stations that demonstrate the trucks’ work capabilities while Toyota enthusiasts can test drive the new RAV4 and Highlander midsize crossover. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE

    Subcompact sedan focuses on value

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE

    2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE

    Mitsubishi’s subcompact sedan competes against the Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Spark, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio: all products targeting first-time buyers who are value conscious, but need the versatility to meet their busy lifestyles. The Mirage G4 comes standard with keyless entry and start, halogen headlamps and a rearview camera- features unusual in this segment. The interior is spacious enough to hold four adult passengers despite the car’s small dimensions.

    Power comes from a 1.2-liter naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine and five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. The pint-size Mirage is thrifty on fuel, averaging 37 miles-per-gallon for the automatic transmission version.

    Base price is $16,995 excluding the $835 destination charge. Final MSRP is $17,830. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 SEL AWC

    Compact crossover maintains value focus

    By Nina Russin

    Mitsubishi Outlander

    Mitsubishi Outlander

    With the average transaction price for new cars approaching $35,000, it’s easy to lose focus on value. But in a post-2008 economy, buyers are approaching big purchases, including automobiles, more conservatively.

    Mitsubishi has made a value focus the lynchpin of its comeback strategy and it’s working. Athletes picked the restyled 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander to win the ALV of the Year award for Best Value, responding to its all-wheel drive capabilities, good fuel economy, five-star NHTSA crash test rating and extensive roster of convenience features.

    The 2017 model is essentially carryover from last year. The Outlander is one of the few compact crossovers on the market to hold up to seven passengers. Third-row seats are rather small, but give growing families the ability to carry a couple of neighbor kids to weekly soccer practice. Fold the seats flat and a spacious cargo bay can carry a couple of road bikes, protecting them from inclement weather or theft.

    Mitsubishi Outlander

    Mitsubishi Outlander

    The test car is the upscale SEL grade priced from $27,495 excluding the $895 destination charge. Power comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive gives the Outlander four-season capability.

    A touring option package adds a multi-view camera that displays both a rear and overhead view when the driver shifts into reverse, forward collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Final MSRP is $32,390. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT

    Value-packed compact crossover

    By Nina Russin

    2016 MItubishi Outlander Sport SEL

    2016 MItubishi Outlander Sport SEL

    There are worse things in this world than being known for outstanding value. As Mitsubishi continues its aggressive campaign to regain market share, the automaker has wisely focused on a few core models, including the compact Outlander Sport Crossover. While its underpinnings are older than some of its competitors, Mitsubishi’s five-passenger car continues to deliver satisfying performance, with good acceleration from its 2.4-liter engine.

    Add in an extensive roster of standard safety and convenience features together with a fully-transferable factory warranty and it’s hard not to give the Outlander Sport a second look.

    Mitsubishi 2016 Outlander Sport SEL

    Mitsubishi 2016 Outlander Sport SEL

    Recently, Mitsubishi updated the crossover’s exterior in keeping with its three-row Outlander sibling and added higher quality materials throughout the interior, correcting fit and finish issues that had drawn criticism in the past.

    Base price for the front-wheel drive model tested excluding the $895 destination charge is $25,995. Standard convenience features include keyless entry and start, panoramic sunroof, rearview camera, heated front seats, 60/40 fold flat second-row seats, Rockford Fosgate audio system, Bluetooth, USB ports, satellite radio and automatic climate control. Final MSRP is $26,890. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 SEL 2WD

    Three-row crossover focused on value and versatility

    By Nina Russin

    2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

    2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

    The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander won the 2016 best value ALV of the Year award because its versatile interior and high level of standard convenience features including three rows of seating, rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats and Bluetooth interface make it a lot of car for the money. The Outlander’s relatively small footprint gives it an edge over other seven-passenger cars among buyers who need the seating capacity but don’t want a full-size truck with poor gas mileage.

    Base price for the front-wheel drive SEL with standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission is $24,995, excluding the $850 destination charge. A touring option package adds forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic headlamps, rain sensing windshield wipers, power sunroof and mirrors, Rockford/Fosgate premium audio system and satellite radio to the test car, bringing the final MSRP to $31,095. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

    Compact crossover is ready for adventure

    By Nina Russin

    2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

    2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

    Mitsubishi has never been a mass-market strategist, preferring to focus on vehicles such as the Montero and Lancer Evo that appealed to hardcore driving enthusiasts. In the post-2008 world, the OEM is moving closer to center with its Outlander compact crossover, but at the same time retaining its edge.

    The redesigned 2016 Outlander is one of the smallest cars on the market that comes with three rows of seating, and one of the few vehicles in the segment available with a V-6 engine. The new model features all-new sheetmetal from the windshield forward as part of a refreshed exterior. The interior has been upgraded as well with a redesigned steering wheel, gloss black accent panels, new leather upholstery material and more use of soft touch materials in key areas.

    There are two available engines and two transmissions: the carryover V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder block introduced last year that comes with a new continuously-variable automatic transmission.

    Base price for the front-wheel drive model starts at $22,995 excluding the $850 destination charge. All-wheel drive is available on all but the base model. Buyers who want the V-6 engine with 3500-pound towing capacity must opt for the upscale GT that starts at $30,995. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport AWC

    Five-passenger crossover goes off the grid

    By Nina Russin

    2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

    The original Mitsubishi Outlander was based on a Japan-market car called the Airtrek that debuted in 2001. The version that came to the US featured a restyled front end, but was, at heart, more Asian than American. The car’s significance was its orientation, as one of the first vehicles to blur the lines between off-road oriented sport-utility vehicles and passenger cars: the segment now known as crossovers.

    The current Outlander is the third iteration of the car, available in both front and all-wheel drive configurations. For 2015, Mitsubishi has added a more powerful 2.4-liter block as an optional upgrade from the base two-liter four-cylinder block.

    Twenty-fifteen models also feature a new continuously variable automatic transmission engineered to mimic a traditional seven-speed step transmission. The Outlander Sport is one of the most affordable compact crossovers on the market with a base MSRP below $20,000 when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission.

    The upscale SE grade with all-wheel control tested starts at $24,195 excluding the $850 destination charge. A $4,900 touring package adds leather seating, navigation with real-time weather and traffic updates, Rockford Fosgate premium audio system, power driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof and roof rails, bringing the final MSRP to $29,945 Read the rest of this entry »