We use a car for weekend trips or long-haul road trips and depend on Zipcar, rental cars, or borrowed cars. Therefore, when we do use a car we tend to maximize cargo capacity, need real comfort due to the longer distances and kid’s unfamiliarity with riding in the car, and highway mileage is more important than city driving. Since we haven’t owned a car since having children and moving to the New York City, we don’t have a lot of experience shopping for or comparing family vehicles. We do, however, have a lot of experience with the typical compact or mid-sized cars available from car-sharing or rental. So, we were excited to try the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport LE for a weekend trip to a friend’s house 2.5 hours outside of Manhattan in the Upper Delaware Valley.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a ‘cross-over SUV’ which isn’t really an SUV, rather more of a pumped-up sedan or minivan without the third row. It include a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which gives it best-in-class fuel economy according to Edmunds
The Green Mama Rating: Not Recommended
If I were in the market to buy a car, even a family-hauler like this, I almost certainly wouldn’t buy anything without a combined mileage above 30 mpg, possibly even 40 mpg. I would be very curious to compare the cargo capacity and driving feel of this to the Prius V and Ford C-Max Hybrid.
What's To Love?:
What’s to love
While there are no features that popped out as amazing that we haven’t seen or heard of in any other vehicle, we certainly enjoyed such widely available features as a nice large moon-roof and bluetooth audio for the phone to call grandma on the way home. As a class of vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander fit our needs well. It was comfortable for long trips, good cargo space (almost filled rear with our gear from the weekend plus a grocery shopping stop on the way home), and we liked that the doors are shorter/smaller than those of some mid-sized cars we’ve used, which is helpful for loading/unloading at the curb in Manhattan (door dings due to fire hydrants are a major hazard).
What’s not to love
When you hear SUV (even cross-over), you usually think of something larger than this.
With a booster seat and a car seat installed, only a small child could fit in the middle seat. The handling was OK, but we aren’t demanding drivers: no sporty excitement here. It felt and sounded weak on hills. I’ve driven a CVT before and it takes some getting used to to not have the sound of the automatic changing gears as you gas it up a hill. The other downside and possible deal-killer is the mileage. The EPA-estimates 25 city / 31 highway for the Mitsubishi Outlander, however we estimated we got 26 mpg with mostly highway driving, though our driving did include a lot of hills. For someone whose last car was a Mini Cooper, 5 years ago, this meagre gas mileage is almost embarrassing.
By Erik Oleson for The Green Mama