December 20, 2014 | © Photo by The Flash List
There are some cars that you look at online and you just know you will look good driving it.The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE is one of those cars. It looks fun and sporty in all the online photos; and when you are finally able to view it in person, it doesn’t disappoint.
Not only is the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport great looking, but it is also considered one of the safest crossovers in its class.It was just named "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the 4th straight year. The biggest reason for the award is the Outlander’s RISE safety body construction system. In the event of an accident, energy is absorbed and deflected away from the occupant cell, which enhances passenger protection. The Outlander Sport also offers 7 air bags, active stability control, traction control logic, and an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.So the Outlander Sport is not only a crossover that looks good, but it is very safe to drive as well.
I had the pleasure of driving an Outlander on a 600-mile road trip through the Texas Hill country out near Fredericksburg Texas. I had the Sport SE with the premium package option, which included the panoramic glass roof with LED illumination that my wife just loved. We drove into Austin on a Friday night, so we could wake up early Saturday morning to get in line for BBQ at one of the top BBQ places in Austin.After we finished our lunch, I pointed the Outlander sort of west towards Fredericksburg with the final destination being Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for some star gazing. For the trip, we opted for a truly scenic route that had us driving past The Oasis on Lake Travis and then jumping onto some FM/RM roads to make the trip even more scenic.
The Outlander’s 2.0 MIVEC DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder paired with its continuously variable transmission (CVT) didn’t feel underpowered at all, even with all the numerous steep grade inclines we encountered on our excursion. Because we were mainly driving FM/RM roads most of the trip, there were a lot of tight cornering and braking in addition to the extreme elevation changes. The active stability control, traction control logic, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force worked like a champ. There was never a time I felt like the Outlander was in over its head. There was one point we thought we might have pushed the FWD Outlander to its limits as we came upon a spillway running over our FM/RM road, but again no problem. We arrived at Enchanted Rock State Park at about 4 PM which gave us plenty of time to hike to the top and enjoy the daytime views before we had to settle in for the real reason we were there which was to do some stargazing since Enchanted Rock is considered a “dark park” and because there would be very little moonlight that night as well.
After getting our fill of stargazing, we started our hike back down the hill.We were really cold and looking forward to getting back to the Sport and then we remembered the heated seats for both the driver and passenger. The seat back is also warmer, so we were able to utilize the back heater like a heating pad for our tired back muscles. That was a very nice surprise. The trip home would be much different because it was now roughly 9 PM and there would be nearly no moon to light our trip home.It was a new moon in the lunar cycle; so as we backtracked our way from Enchanted Rock back to Fredericksburg, I was very happy to have the super-wide high intensity discharge (HID) headlights that Mitsubishi packages with the Outlander.It sure made the trip back from the dark park a very simple and safe drive.
I feel that the interior of the Outlander is bit basic.The center stack has a nice 6.1 inch touch screen that I would consider a flush mount.It has a high polish trim finish, but there is really no place to steady your hand while you make your screen selections. The SE comes with a backup camera that did a good enough job. The Rockford Fosgatedelivers over 700 watts of sound through nine speakers-including a 10-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer with Punch Control-to deliver “deep, rich bass and crystal-clear highs.” The equalizer consists of 3 standard sound channels to adjust; but beyond the equalizer, there is another section that allows you to choose your music experience (the “standard” sound for more of your talk radio needs, a “stage” sound which was used for our slightly upbeat music selections, and finally a “live” sound selection for when you feel like reliving your past rocker days).
At the end of the day, I feel like the $25,000 price tag that someone would pay for the Outlander Sport SE we had is a good value for all that you get. There is plenty of safety, good performance, and good gas mileage wrapped in a crossover with decent comfort. The only thing I would have added in my “to buy” package would have been power leather seats, but that’s just me. I’m guessing a true outdoors person would probably go with the heavy cloth because of the ease it is to clean.
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