I drove the Mitsubishi Outlander GT at the launch in Palm Springs, CA last November and was fairly impressed with its on-road prowess. During the product presentation, Mitsubishi repeated more than a couple times that this updated GT version is gunning for SUVs like the Subaru Outback. Having driven both vehicles back-to-back now, I can say with no regrets that the Outlander GT is closer than ever to the Outback, but not quite close enough to persuade buyers to jump ship.
Why? For the price, the interior quality and refinement of the Outlander is not up to par with the Subaru. Granted the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever are nice touches. But there are too many hard plastics around you, rattles coming from the back where a tiny, I mean tiny, 3rd row seat is; and the knob-less radio with push-button controls gets annoying. However, any vehicle noise you may hear can easily be muted by the 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system. Other impressive standard features include a moonroof and HID headlamps, neither come standard on the Outback.
Where the Outlander really gains ground to the Outback is on the road. Even with snow tires, the Outlander GT has far better steering response, overall handling, and feedback to the driver.
If Mitsubishi can find a way to get a better quality interior, it might have a good chance to steal some buyers.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator