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'10 Mitsubishi Outlander GT - First Drive

As a crossover utility vehicle, the Outlander GT surprises with a rather sporty feel.

Peter Tarach
Mar 19, 2010

Specs & Details
'10 Mitsubishi Outlander GT

Engine 3.0-liter SOHC MIVEC V-6
Horsepower 230 at 6250 rpm
Torque 215 ft-lbs at 3750 rpm
Transmission Sportronic 6-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control
Price $30,015 MSRP

Let's get something straight right off the bat. Visually, the front end of the Outlander GT may resemble a Lancer Evolution with its aggressively styled and now trademark front nose-there are even many EVO-esque traits on the inside like the gauge cluster. But if you're looking for the performance of an EVO from an Outlander GT, you won't find it. And, really, you shouldn't. The Outlander GT is built for more daily commuting and utility rather than track-thrashing capabilities.

Modp_1004_02_o+2010_mitsubishi_outlander_gt+front_view Photo 2/5   |   '10 Mitsubishi Outlander GT - First Drive

With all that being said, the Outlander GT did get some of that EVO magic injected into its soul. Despite its size and ability to haul large amounts of cargo, it's on-road character exhibited capabilities that I've yet to experience from a vehicle of this nature.

When Mitsubishi brought us out to Palm Springs, CA, for the Outlander GT's initial launch I thought we would be subjected to a boring cruise through town getting to know the Outlander's amenities instead of what it's capable of on the road. Despite the drive starting off in town, where I was able to get myself acquainted with the new updated interior (more on that later), it quickly turned into an adventure up a mountain pass meant more for a sports car than the CUV. But this wasn't an accident on Mitsubishi's part-it was actually a clever way to show off the excellent handling capabilities of the S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) system found in the Outlander GT, which happens to be the same system that provides the EVO with its supercar-like handling abilities.

True to its nature, the S-AWC performed like a champ, leaving me a bit shocked at how well the Outlander GT could carve a corner. Composed and precise through every turn, the tires begged for mercy, but the Outlander GT would go in the direction you pointed it. Body roll? Maybe there was a little, but from the driver seat you couldn't feel it. The Outlander GT performed more like a sedan than a big, bulky CUV. I'd be willing to bet it could keep pace with a slew of vehicles half its size.

Sadly, the GT doesn't get the wonderful dual-clutch, 6-speed CVT transmission (found in the EVO MR and Ralliart) that its four-cylinder counterpart does, but the 6-speed auto trans still provides crisp and precise shifts that mimic the CVT quite well. It's mated to a 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out 230 hp and 215 ft-lbs of torque, which isn't neck-snapping fast but suits the vehicle enough to be enjoyable.

Let's face it, though, if you're in the market for a utility vehicle, then all this performance talk doesn't matter if it lacks quality on the inside. Thankfully, Mitsubishi didn't litter the interior with cheap plastic; instead, there's plenty of leather to please the eye and an easy-to-use navigation system with real-time traffic updates. The 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system easily meets and exceeds expectations while the new FUSE Hands Free Link System lets you stream music wirelessly, use voice commands to find music and connect to your cell phone via Bluetooth. The FUSE technology shows that Mitsubishi is working diligently to stay on the leading edge of car technology in the market, and it's a fantastic system that will hopefully find its way into the company's entire lineup.

Modp_1004_06_o+2010_mitsubishi_outlander_gt+front_side_view Photo 5/5   |   Sadly, this model is just a concept.

It's refreshing to finally drive a CUV/SUV that provides sportiness well above and beyond most of its competitors. However, for me to consider it a true sports utility vehicle, it would need twin turbos, a CVT transmission and then it could go after the M-powered BMWs and AMG Mercedes-Benzs much like its smaller sibling, the Evolution, can. I doubt that will ever happen, but one can always dream, right?

By Peter Tarach
352 Articles

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