Making its North American debut in U.S. production trim, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander matches a stylish new look with numerous design improvements that improve operating efficiency, trim curb weight and further enhance the appeal of its spacious 7-passenger cabin.

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The most obvious change to Mitsubishi's largest SUV is the bolder, but sleeker sheetmetal that's seven percent more aerodynamically efficient than the current Outlander. Complementing the more contemporary appearance is a structural redesign that makes far greater use of high-strength steel to help trim body weight by 200 pounds on a package with dimensions that are virtually identical to the vehicle it replaces.

Motivation for the 2014 Outlander comes in two forms. The ES and SE models are fitted with a revised version of the existing 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that still makes 166 horsepower but now uses the latest version of Mitsu's MIVEC continuously variable valve lift system. It's backed by a CVT continuously variable transmission. The top-line Outlander upline GT packs a 244-horse version of the automaker's 3.0-liter MIVAC V6 paired with a conventional 6-speed automatic. While the SE will offer the automaker's Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system as an option, it will be standard issue on the GT. All Outlander variants feature a new driver-selectable ECO-mode that will help in mileage-maxing efforts by reducing engine power on acceleration and decreasing air flow volume of the air conditioning system.

To effectively complement its new exterior design, the Outlander also boasts a recast passenger compartment that features upgraded materials throughout and far more soft-touch surfaces as well as reconfigured seats that offer better comfort and support. The extensive roster of standards rises as you progress through the model hierarchy. While available extras are modest on the ES, SE and GT, buyers can opt for Premium and Touring Packages that add upline items like leather upholstery, a panoramic glass sunroof, power rear liftgate, 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio, and touch-panel navigation system as well as new-for-2014 safety enhancements that include Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Mitigation systems.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander will arrive in showrooms early next year and pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date. In 2014, the Outlander lineup will be expanded to include a plug-in hybrid variant that features electric motors at each axle as well an internal combustion engine.

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