Exterior view of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. (Courtesy: Mitsubishi Motors)
Not everyone wants that gargantuan, Greyhound-sized SUV, a right-sized vehicle with some seating flexibility will be a prized choice, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt. (#Siliconeer, @Siliconeer, #2016MitsubishiOutlander, Lifestyle)
Back when we were expecting our second child, a friend said he heard there was an old Eskimo saying: “One is like none; two is like 20.” It’s so true. But, try having three children, as we did. The balance has now tipped in their favor.
And the balance for seatbelts has tipped, too, because now you need a vehicle that is a comfortable place for at least five, obviously, but usually more. Grandparents want to come along, too, and later, play date buddies, and their parents, too. Since not everyone wants that gargantuan, Greyhound-sized SUV, a right-sized vehicle with some seating flexibility will be a prized choice.
Enter the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. This smaller-sized SUV has comfortable seating for five, but also a third row of seats that folds in a 50-50 split for the times when you need a couple extra seat belts, but then folds down flat for the times when you don’t, leaving you with a good-sized cargo area. That could prove priceless for many parents.
It is also loaded up with a ton of convenience and safety features as standard items. The only extra added to our test vehicle was a $3,350 “Touring Package” that included a navigation system, and three top-of-the-line safety features: Forward Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning.
Mitsubishi says their Outlander falls into the small crossover SUV segment, which means it’s a SUV on a passenger car platform. You’ll get a smoother ride this way, one that is less truck-like.
For 2016, it has a bolder design than in previous years, and now more than 100 engineering and design improvements for what Mitsubishi promises will offer better structural rigidity, ride quality and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. After a week motoring around town in the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander, we can attest that all is true.
But first, to the list of standard features for 2016. It includes automatic climate control, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD.MP3 audio system, FUSE hands-free Link System, Electric Power Steering, power door locks and side view mirrors, power windows, full-color LCD multi-information display, a rear seat that folds in a 60/40 configuration and has reclining adjusters, the third row of seats, under-floor rear cargo storage under that third row of seats, remote keyless entry, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, and two 12-volt power outlets.
On the exterior, you’ll find halogen headlights, LED rear tail lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and heated outside mirrors.
The list of standard safety features includes seven air bags, including one for the driver’s knees and second row side curtain air bags; anti-lock brakes; electronic brake force distribution; traction control; anti-theft security system; and a reinforced passenger cabin called Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE). It helps absorb energy during collisions to better protect the vehicle’s occupants.
Behind the wheel I found the driver’s seat to be very comfortable and visibility was good to the front and sides. Rear passenger headrests are large and obstruct your rear view a bit. The dashboard is cleanly designed and you can adjust the radio volume or climate controls without taking your eyes off the road for too long.
On the road, we found the Outlander offered lithe and maneuverable steering and a smooth ride that was indeed quiet, both on city streets and on the freeway. Now, having a quiet ride is not something most people would have on their “must have” shopping list, but think about it: When you’re the everyday chauffeur for your kids, wouldn’t it nice to be able to hear what they’re saying (or whispering) from the back seat, when you have all those precious minutes together in the car?
Parents and grandparents looking for a vehicle with lots of cargo space and flexible seating solutions might want to take the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander out for a spin. It just might solve some of a growing family’s most pressing seat belt needs.