By KBB.com Editors
While the outgoing model never amounted to much more than basic transportation in the shape of an SUV, the all-new, more sophisticated 2007 Outlander makes a compelling alternative to the category's best. Based on the same platform that will spawn the automaker's next-generation Lancer sedan (and the much-anticipated Evo sport variant), the sportier and more powerful new Outlander is transformed most significantly by a huge leap in refinement. Combined with available features like a hard drive-based navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 650-watt audio system, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and keyless entry and start, it wouldn't have been surprising if Mitsubishi had given its compact crossover a new name altogether. Like the latest Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe, the Outlander now offers a small, "just in case" third-row seat.You'll Like This Car If...
Arguably the most tech-savvy vehicle in the category, the Outlander is further distinguished by a combination of energetic driving dynamics and an available third row seat.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you'll be using a third-row seat with any regularity, you'll definitely want something bigger. While the stable and confident Outlander isn't one to turn its nose up at a little enthusiastic driving, it's not as sporty as the Mazda CX-7, for instance.What's Significant About This Car?
Bigger and more powerful than its predecessor, the second-generation Outlander is also more feature-packed, sportier and significantly more refined.Driving It Driving Impressions
While the sportiest crossovers on the market can actually encourage spirited driving, the Outlander tends to simply tolerate such frivolity. Still, that's enough to qualify it as livelier than most. Excellent steering and brake feel, a well-tuned suspension and supportive front seats combine to deliver a balance of comfort and confidence that will accommodate a range of driving styles. Even when we had to use all the available horsepower to do so, the Outlander never had trouble merging or passing. Not surprisingly, we had the most fun in the most expensive modela four-wheel-drive XLSwhich seems to handle corners more responsively than front-wheel-drive models and includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.Favorite Features
30-Gigabyte Hard Drive
The Outlander's hard drive-based navigation system is refreshingly quicker and more responsive than more common DVD-based units. It also allows you to store up to six gigabytes of digital music.
Keyless Entry and Start
The available FAST-Key system lets you unlock and start the Outlander without even touching the key/transmitter.
By several measurements, the Outlander's available third-row seating area is the smallest in the category. For a group trip that includes one or two kids, however, that extra capacity is enough to turn a two-car convoy into a single-vehicle jaunt. By collapsing flat into the cargo floor when not in use, it's basically a "why not?" feature (and one that's available only on the top-line XLS model). For their parts, second-row passengers can slide and recline their way to maximum comfort. Well-bolstered front seats and a very modern instrument panel with a technical aspect to its appearance further the new Outlander's more vigorous, even athletic demeanor.Exterior
Parked next to its predecessor, the second-generation Outlander commands a much larger presence than its increases of four inches in length and one inch in width would suggest. LED taillamps and available HID headlamps help communicate the new level of refinement, while an innovative "flap-fold" two-piece tailgatewith a bottom section that folds level with an already low load floorprovides for easy cargo loading and unloading. It also functions well as a bench or table for outdoor activities. The wheel lineup ranges from 16-inch steel wheels to 18-inch alloys, and top-line XLS models can be identified by silver-painted door handles, bumper extensions and roof rails, plus dual exhaust outlets.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard equipment included on the base Outlander ES includes air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry and an AM/FM/CD/CD-MP3 audio system. Standard safety equipment includes electronic skid and traction controls plus front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
The Outlander's premium-like list of optional equipment includes leather seats, heated seats, a sunroof, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, hard drive-based navigation and audio system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, keyless entry and start, 650-Watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system and an auxiliary audio input.Under the Hood
It isn't the most powerful V6 in the category, but by generating 90 percent of its peak torque at just 2,000 rpm the Outlander is responsive around town. That power is routed to the wheels via a manually selectable six-speed automatic transmission with available steering column-mounted paddle shifters. The Outlander is available in front-wheel drive or three-mode four-wheel drive (FWD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Lock), both with electronic traction control. Towing capacity is rated at up to 3,500 pounds.
220 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
204 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (2WD), 19/26 (4WD)
The 2007 Outlander starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,995 and will top $30,000 when fully outfitted. We expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world selling prices slightly lower than those sticker prices. Toyota RAV4 prices range from $21,495 (a four-cylinder, manual transmission model) to over $30,000, while Hyundai Santa Fe MSRPs start at $21,595 (manual transmission) to more than $33,000. We don't expect the second-generation to maintain resale value as well as the exceptionally resilient RAV4 or the Santa Fe.