2007 Mitsubishi Outlander Adds Two Cylinders and Two Seats
November Sales for Updated Outlander
Mitsubishi is celebrating twenty-five years in the States, as well as giving its lineup a boost for the 2007 model year. The first-generation Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced for the 2003 model year, but its lack of a third row and V6 engine is being addressed for the 2007 model year. The all-new Outlander was unveiled to the North American public at the 2006 New York auto show, though it has been on sale in Japan for several months. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were at the show to take a first look. The new Outlander has a grown-up look compared with the first version. With the 2007MY, Outlander takes a less-chunky look with better integrated bumpers and a cleaner, more purposeful front end.
Mitsubishi’s second take on a small, car-based SUV should be more competitive in the States and help to reverse the sales crash experienced by the first Outlander. Its best sales year was 2003, when just over 34,000 units were sold. By 2005, however, sales had fallen below 12,000 units. Mitsubishi needs this new Outlander to be more successful, and to be able to maintain its success, and therefore Outlander needed its improved looks, extra seats, and updated powertrain.
More of What Americans Want
Leading off in the right direction for pulling this model up from the sales doldrums is the switch from four-cylinder to V6 motivation, as well as the addition of two rear seats. The new, larger Outlander adds a 220HP 3.0L DOHC 24v V6, mated to a six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission. (The V6 meets P-ZEV emissions in California, with 7HP drop to 213HP that no one is likely to notice.) The 3.0L V6 is new for Mitsubishi and the company is reporting reasonably good fuel economy with its initial specifications. They expect Outlander to see 20 city/26 highway for most trim levels.
This new V6 should go a long way toward giving the Outlander more zip and zoom, compared with the outgoing 160HP 2.4L four-cylinder. In the Compact SUV segment, as defined by AutoPacific, 220HP brings Outlander to the head of the class against the other Compact SUV V6-powered entries, including the Hyundai Tucson (173HP), Kia Sportage (173HP), and Suzuki Grand Vitara (185HP). The output is also better than that of several Standard Mid-Size SUV entries. In the Outlander’s segment, the turbocharged H4 Subaru Forester offers 230HP. Honda’s CRV will be new for 2007MY, and may offer more power than the Outlander but will not offer a V6 engine.
Buyers will choose between two trim levels this fall, both standard as front drive and able to be ordered with AWD, the XLS and the LS. The XLS will be the one to choose when seven seats are required and can be ordered with a Luxury package that adds leather and heated seats, but the basic XLS incorporate a smart-key system. Satellite navigation (using a 30GB hard drive instead of a DVD), Bluetooth, HID headlamps, rear-seat entertainment system, paddle shifters, and Rockford Fosgate uplevel stereo are among the options available. ABS, ESP, and six airbags are standard equipment. In making the Outlander’s interior as useful as possible, Mitsubishi incorporated lots of cubby and storage spaces, installed a sliding center armrest, made sure second-row seats slide fore and aft as well as recline, and used a two-piece tailgate where the lower section can be folded down to make loading the cargo area easier.
Chrysler Group Cousins
There are several new-for-2007MY Dodge and Jeep products that were developed from the same platform as Outlander and which will be used for the next-generation Lancer, a subject discussed in a February blog entry. Chrysler derivatives began rolling out of Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois, plant in 2006. The Dodge Caliber was first, being followed by Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. (Caliber, including Caliber SRT4, and Patriot have been written about elsehwere in this blog.) The Chrysler products all offer four-cylinder engines only. The Outlander continues to be imported from Japan.