to the scene this year is Mitsubishi's spunky new Outlander. Close to the Subaru
Forester in size and shape, the Outlander is decidedly car-like in look and feel.
It's more of a tall wagon than a proper SUV. But it does have slightly better
ground clearance than a wagon, and a much taller roofline. Add to it privacy glass,
metal pipe roof rails (on XLS trim) and a chunky schnoz and you have what most
everyone would consider a genuine compact SUV.
a nice compact SUV it is. With lots of standard equipment, including power accessories,
cruise control, air conditioning, a CD player and 16-inch wheels, even the base
Outlander makes few compromises. The uplevel XLS trim adds even more goodies,
including alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, clear-lens taillamps, fog lights, white-faced
gauges and leather trim on the shifter and steering wheel.
only blemish (and you may not consider it to be a big deal) is the fact that the
only available power plant is a 140-hp four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed
automatic transmission. While the transmission has a separate manual-shift mode,
the acceleration provided by the engine is too milquetoast to be acceptable in
this competitive field where V-6s are everywhere, and most four-cylinders even
make more power. Fuel economy is decent, however, turning in numbers in the low-to-mid