Changing over from the Mitsubishi Lancer 5 door to this Outlander was a true relief, after experiencing our scary acceleration problems there. The Outlander was NORMAL.. It worked well, accelerated as expected, slightly under power for the weight of the vehicle, but without problem. In actual fact, we were quite surprised by the fit and finish of the Outlander with very nice leather trim and in that very nice stitching details even on the instrument panel.
Compared to offerings from Honda and Toyota, the Outlander is distinctively narrow, enhanced by the expected SUV height. To create as much interior space as possible, the Mitsubishi designers had to be very frugal with body side sections, and managed to get a distinct sculpture in an almost impossibly straight and tall surface. Well done to the designers, but the Mitsubishi engineers may want to look a little more to the competition and relax the stringent width restrictions a bit if they want to compete in the US market. After all, the narrow width and the resulting flab-sidedness of the vehicle don’t really enhance the perception of quality and price, making it look a lot cheaper than the price really is with the resulting wonder if the price is really worth it compared to other offerings in this segment.
The Outlander did perform well, had a slightly too high of a fuel consumption in this day and age, and seems to add to the general impression of Mitsubishi as a brand that is more desperate to hang on to what it had, rather than a brand that is pushing new boundaries. We are all aware of the struggles that Mitsubishi has gone through, but we feel the better bet for Mitsubishi would be to start pushing boundaries, innovate its products dramatically, and gain a reputation for that, rather than just follow the clear market leaders with products that clearly can not stand the test of time from an engineering point of view.
To do this, however, would mean a fundamental change in the way Mitsubishi management and engineers function, get them of the high horse that they seem to be sitting on for no apparent reason at all. THAT might be the biggest issue, and if that fundamental change does not happen soon, we predict a slow and painful end to yet another brand with a lot of potential.