First debuting as the Airtek in 2001 in its homeland of Japan, the Mitsubishi Outlander premiered as a versatile crossover SUV. At the vehicle’s launch, the Airtek could be had with either a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine or a 2.4L GDI configuration, with both mated to a four-speed semi-automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive was made available, as well. A turbocharged 2.0L option hit the lineup in 2002 capable of approximately 240 horsepower and 250 pounds-per-foot of torque. The Outlander name began being used in 2003 and showed off a restyled front-end with such Outlander parts, as a new grille and revised headlights. It was also slightly longer than the Airtek. Like the Airtek, the Outlander boasted both front and four-wheel drive and used a standard inline four-cylinder engine.
The Outlander arrived on US shores in 2006 ahead of the 2007 model year. Considered the second generation (it had been previously introduced in Japan in 2005 before being exported), the second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander greeted the American press when it was unveiled at the 2006 New York Auto Show. Unlike the Japanese model which featured a DOHC 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine, the US version was instead equipped with a 3.0L SOHC V6 good for up to 220 horsepower directed through either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Another departure from the previous edition of the vehicle was the Outlander’s new inclusion of a third-row seat and additional cargo room. Three trim levels - the ES, LS, and XLS were offered, with each brandishing a variety of options for drivers to choose from. An update came in 2008, as the SE trim was brought into the lineup with a four-cylinder engine.
2010 welcomed in a redesign for the Mitsubishi Outlander parts. Several changes were made to the look of the vehicle, such as a more aggressive exterior-style and improvements in and around the interior. Four-trim levels now surrounded the model: ES, SE, XLS, and GT. The base engine was a 2.4L four-cylinder good for 168 horsepower geared to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). XLS and GT variants of the Outlander were instead powered by a bolder 3.0L V6 engine which produced up to 230 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic. Once again, drivers could select both front and four-wheel drive. There was also an increase in the amount of amenities available in each trim. The ES showcased air conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, and a full compliment of safety features. The SE took it a step further with 18" wheels, remote keyless entry, sport seats, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, and sport seats. For the XLS, a third-row seat, automatic climate control, voice-activated Bluetooth, and chrome accents were the primary attractions. And with the top-level GT, xenon HID headlights, rain-sensor windshield wipers, satellite radio, and exterior chrome accents were included.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is an energetic crossover that provides a jolt of excitement. Right off the bat, the body-style is chic` and attractive, drawing drivers in whenever it passes through your scope. Performance wise, it holds up to the best of them, churning out enough HP to hold the dogs off when it comes time to push the pedal down. With the interior, there is enough room for both passengers and cargo to get from A to B. Certainly one of the newsmakers in a very competitive field, the Outlander rises above with style and capability.
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