2007 Mitsubishi Outlander review: 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
  • Overall: 8.8
  • Cabin tech: 9.0
  • Performance tech: 9.0
  • Design: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander's V-6 produces solid power, decent mileage, and very low emissions. On-the-fly four-wheel-drive gives the car traction in slippery conditions. It also offers better and more complete cabin technology, including hard-drive-based navigation and standard Bluetooth cell phone integration, than any car in its price range.

The Bad The Bluetooth system can't access your cell phone's phone book, and the stereo can overwhelm its own speakers.

The Bottom Line The 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander offers great technology without getting too expensive while striking a near-perfect compromise between emissions, power, and mileage. It's a practical car for a wide variety of uses.

CNET Editors' Choice Jul '07

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Editor's note: This is an update to a previously published review. We had originally reviewed a preproduction version of the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. However, after reviewing the production version and having seen the optional navigation system in the Mitsubishi Lancer, we have upgraded the ratings for the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander and given it an Editors' Choice award.

In the car technology world, Mitsubishi is the company to watch, distinguishing itself by making Bluetooth cell phone integration standard in the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander and offering a hard-drive-based navigation system with a music server. In fact, Mitsubishi's technology outstrips that found in much more expensive cars. And the Outlander does very well as a small SUV, combining an advanced four-wheel-drive system with a powerful yet economical power train.

From the outside, the Outlander is a very good-looking SUV, with sporty lines and nicely molded lighting. The front has a prominent skid plate coming up from underneath, indicating a good approach angle for off-roading. The bumper bisects the grille's honeycombed top and bottom to give it a strong performance look. The prominent wheel arches are pretty common these days, but the clearance inside the wheel wells suggest the Outlander is ready for bigger wheels. We were surprised to find a third-row seat in the cargo area. It folds neatly into the floor, but its minimal padding makes it appropriate mainly as a torture device.

Our review car, a top-of-the-line 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS, didn't come with the navigation option, but we saw a similar system on the Mitsubishi Lancer. What we did get in ours was the standard Bluetooth cell phone integration and the premium stereo, a raucous 650-watt Rockford Fosgate system with eight speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. It plays MP3 CDs and satellite radio and has an oddly placed auxiliary audio input.

Test the tech: Sound field measurement
Because of its massive wattage, we were intrigued by the Rockford Fosgate stereo. We couldn't miss the massive subwoofer mounted in the cargo area or the neat little tweeters next to the A-pillars. While trying out the audio settings, we found equalizer presets for different types of music, including rock, jazz, and classical.

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS
The Stage setting moves the sound in front of the passengers.

We also found a setting for Sound Field, which let us choose between Normal, Stage, Live, and Hall. The car's manual told us that Stage is designed to place the sound source in front of you, as if you are watching musicians play. Live is a surround-sound effect, while Hall maximizes reverb, adding an echo-effect to the sound.

For our test, we measured the decibels using each sound field from the front and back seats. We played a steady tone through the stereo and had the volume up at 15. We first put our sound meter on the console between the two front seats, then placed it in the center of the back seat. Here are our measurements in decibels:

Front Back
Normal 67 60
Stage 63 57
Live 66 57
Hall 67 53

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS
The Live setting creates a surround-sound effect.

The back seat experienced a greater volume variation, but its lower decibel levels and static numbers from Stage to Live suggest it benefited less from the sound field changes. The sound field changes were very noticeable in the front of the car from a qualitative standpoint. We also find it interesting that the Hall setting showed the largest variation between the front and back seats.

In the cabin
Although our 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander came with leather seats, the interior felt about right for a car priced in the mid-20s. It's not particularly luxurious, but most of the buttons are well-integrated with the dashboard and the steering wheel. The one glitch was the ill-fitting hatch over the central storage compartment. With the navigation system present, the housing for the module would replace this hatch.

As part of the Outlander's Sun and Sound package, our car had the aforementioned Rockford/Fosgate stereo system, similar to the one we saw in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. This stereo produces better than average audio quality, but it's more of a blunt instrument than a surgical strike. It doesn't offer particularly great clarity from its eight speakers and 10-inch subwoofer, but it does have booming power. Its 650 watts can overpower the front speakers when it's really cranked up, rattling them in their enclosures.

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About The Author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.