While the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander's tech package is still at the head of its class, and it still gives great performance at a great price point, the rough ride and cheap interior hold it back from greatness.
The Outlander's interior is handsome, but feels as if it was designed by Mitsubishi's accounting department. Cheap, hard plastics feel hollow to the touch, buzzing and rattling when the stereo is cranked.
The high-quality, leather-wrapped steering wheel almost feels out of place in front of the budget-built dashboard. Tucked between its spokes, you'll find buttons for the Bluetooth hands-free system, audio, and cruise controls.
Under the hood is Mitsubishi's 3-liter MIVEC V-6. Thanks to Mitsubishi's version of variable valve timing, this power plant is capable of generating a decent 213-horsepower and 204 pound-feet of torque, average 17 city and 25 highway mpg, and earn a ULEV emissions rating in California emissions trim.
Mitsubishi has attempted to keep the Outlander flat in the turns by utilizing an aluminum roof to lower the center of gravity and a stiff suspension. The end result is an uncharacteristically rough ride for a small SUV.
Rearward visibility is good in the Outlander, thanks to generous windows and huge sideview mirrors. A backup camera option would increase visibility even further, but unfortunately one isn't available.
We managed to fit a 5 foot 9 inch adult male into the third row seats without much effort. It wasn't comfortable and it wasn't pretty, but--for short trips--it's completely doable. We're glad the option is at least there.