TEST DRIVE: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

With Mitsubishi’s newly redesigned 2014 Outlander, the smallest automaker in Canada is looking to make some big noise in the compact SUV market

To make this Outlander more appealing to the masses, Mitsubishi offers a more conservative design – gone is the aggressive shark-nose grille. The interior receives a complete overhaul as well. Resisting the urge for flashy adornments and over-the-top chrome trim, the inside has simple controls that are easy to read and reach in the centre infotainment console to go along with some nice standard features such as a tilt and telescoping (leather-wrapped) steering wheel and heated front seats.

The 2014 Outlander begins at $25,998 for the ES 2WD trim, but I’d suggest you want to jump to the SE AWC ($30,998) or GT S-AWC ($35,998) – not simply for the extra luxuries (including comfortable leather seats and third row seating) but for the extra power that comes with a bigger engine.

The base trims receive a 2.4 L I4 engine with 166 HP mated to a CVT. It’s loud and lacks the power this SUV needs. The upper trims, though, get a 3.0 L V-6 engine with 227 HP connected to six-speed automatic transmission. This setup is perfect for the Outlander – power is delivered smoothly with more than enough for highway driving as well as light off-roading. And its V-6 gives you that extra oomph needed for towing the boat to the cottage.

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All told, the Mitsubishi Outlander finally has the fit, finish and enough flash to trade punches with the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

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Larger V-6 engine, easy to read controls, optional third row seating for the grandkids.

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

Starts from $25,998

Fuel Economy (combined) IN L/100 KM:

ES 2WD: 7.3; EW AWC: 7.8; SE/GT: 8.8

Power: ES TRIMS: 166HP; SE/GT: 227HP