Consumers looking for a capable, eye-catching, fun-to-drive compact SUV with "Japanese cool" flair need not look any further than the 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander. This year, the Outlander features more standard safety equipment, new visually exciting styling enhancements, and greater value with the addition of a new "Special Edition" (SE) trim line. That, combined with the peppy Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) engine, makes the 2006 Outlander the epitome of Mitsubishi's commitment of "Driven to Thrill" in the sport utility vehicle market.
"The improvements we've made to the Outlander for 2006 separate it further from the pack with a distinct attitude that Mitsubishi drivers expect," said Rich Gilligan, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA). "This engaging SUV stays true to our promise of thrilling the senses with a more stimulating driving experience, while also offering an intelligent design and packaging that provides convenience and value."
For improved safety, front seat-mounted, side-impact air bags and anti-lock brakes are standard features across the entire Outlander lineup for 2006. Other additions include a new value-driven SE trim line that offers numerous desirable appearance and convenience features, while the Limited further establishes its upscale position with the addition of automatic climate control.
Fun in Functionality
The Outlander is a fun-to-drive crossover SUV ideally suited for the daily commute while waiting for the weekend to put the "sport" into sport utility and the "fun" into functionality. The Outlander's ideal ride height facilitates hassle-free entry and exit while maintaining the empowering, elevated driving position that SUV owners prefer. The Outlander's four doors open wide to reveal a spacious passenger environment with generous legroom. A roomy cargo bay is ready to tackle any stowage challenge whether it's gear for a weekend trip to the beach, the monthly run to the big box stores or simply getting the kids to school. For individuals in pursuit of an adventure less urban, available tubular roof racks easily can be adapted to carry bikes, surfboards, skis or just about any equipment that adventure requires. The Outlander, available in two- and all-wheel drive configurations, is ready for use in any climate.
The Outlander's image, character and attitude are encapsulated by an appealing exterior design that offers a unique and aggressively styled alternative in the segment. The Outlander's exterior color choices include appealing hues that would be at home on the skin of a larger SUV. A two-tone effect is created as the Outlander LS's gray painted bumpers and side sills offset painted sheet metal. The 2006 SE and Limited trim levels receive a monochromatic treatment for the fender flares and side air dams, off set with clear tail light lenses. Electric Blue is a new exterior color for 2006 SE.
The new Outlander SE adds a silver-tone lower side door bar, front grille insert, and roof rack stanchions as stylish accents. Chrome-like finish 17" alloy wheels and an exhaust finisher complete the new look.
The Outlander maintains a drag coefficient of 0.43, which is on par or better than most offerings in its class. The Outlander's sheetmetal body construction also involves many new processes to improve fit, finish and safety. For instance, both the outer and inner door panels use a single-piece pressed steel construction that improves door fit and rigidity.
Spacious, Refined Interior
On the inside, the Outlander is a compact SUV replete with all the conveniences and interior styling details one would expect to find in a more upscale model. The interior - much of it covered by textured material - features intuitively placed gauges and controls that are easily monitored from the raised, ergonomically adjusted driving position.
The Outlander's roomy and inviting interior was designed to create an appealing, comfortable environment with conveniently accessible functions. To maximize interior space, Outlander offers an optional outer-slide style sunroof that creates more headroom. The instrument panel is highlighted by detail-oriented items such as the chrome-like finish of the analog clock's trim ring and the round, easy-to-use air vents. Front console compartments, an armrest, and easy-to-read round gauges - which also include an LCD display of the automatic transmission's sports mode status - give the Outlander's cockpit an upscale feel.
The Outlander's flexible seating and expandable space make trips to the hardware store or driving range that much simpler. The versatile rear cabin area - featuring split, flat-folding rear seats with adjustable backs - yields a generous cargo area that can handle a variety of stowage headaches. The hydraulically assisted rear lift gate can be operated with one hand and swings high to clear taller heads, while a knee-height cargo floor, which hides the spare tire, eases the lift-over and accessibility of loading. An optional cargo-area tonneau cover, standard on the SE and Limited models, keeps goods out of sight. When not in use, the cover can be stored under the cargo floor lid.
In an effort to reduce NVH (noise vibration harshness), Mitsubishi engineers enlisted countermeasures to minimize cabin noise levels, such as thick front-deck and fender insulation. The dash panel insulator's thickness also was increased to keep engine noise in the engine compartment. A large intake resonator reduces engine noise. The result is a whisper quieter cabin for the Outlander.
Drivetrain and Chassis
All Outlander models are powered by a 2.4-liter MIVEC, (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control) 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine. Outlander's LS trim level offers a 5-speed manual transmission, the same F5M42 model found in Lancer Ralliart. The four-speed Sportronic(TM) transmission is optional on LS and standard equipment on the SE and Limited trim levels. With the aid of variable valve timing, the MIVEC engine achieves a maximum of 160 horsepower, and 162 pound-feet of torque. Tuned to achieve peak torque early in the rev range, the responsive engine - which generates as much torque as some V-6 engines - makes the Outlander more than competitive with other vehicles in the small SUV segment.
The engine's exhaust system is designed to improve performance while reducing exhaust noise levels and vibration. The pipe sections of the Outlander's exhaust system are made of stainless steel for improved durability and rust resistance. Adding further refinement,
the engine is mounted to the sub-frame using a four-point inertial axis system with liquid filled mounts that reduce engine vibration and improve ride quality.
The Sportronic(TM) transmission can operate in traditional fully automatic mode, or the driver may choose to actuate clutchless shifts for more spirited driving. The INVEC-II programming of the electronically controlled automatic transmission "learns" a driver's throttle inputs and adapts to them by modifying its shift pattern. A four-position shift lever with a Sports-mode-gate allows drivers to experience sporty, positive-feeling manually actuated shifts with a simple push or pull of the shift lever.
Outlander buyers can select either a responsive front-wheel drive format or full-time all-wheel-drive power delivery that improves traction and handling on slick or uneven surfaces. The all-wheel drive system relies on a viscous coupling center differential to distribute power evenly (50:50) between the front and rear wheels.
The Outlander's suspension utilizes MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link, coil spring arrangement at the rear for superior vehicle control and stability with a decidedly light, car-like sense of handling. The suspension employs coil springs optimally tuned to strike the best balance between handling and ride quality. The rear multi-link design uses a trailing arm and three separate control arms for each wheel to ensure stability over a variety of surfaces. Large P225/60R16 (LS) or P215/55R17 (SE and Limited) tires increase the Outlander's ride height and improve its performance over rough roads. This confidence-inspiring, all-wheel independent suspension is mated with a rigid, computer-designed Outlander unibody that maximizes the suspension's effort and effectiveness.
The passenger cabin of the Outlander's strong unibody is designed to help inhibit deformation in the event of a collision, while the front and rear sections are engineered as crush zones to help absorb impact energy. Driver and front passenger advanced dual-stage air bag systems, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard features, adding active measures of vehicle safety. The headrest position is optimized to help reduce the potential for neck injury in the event of a collision.
For 2006, all Outlanders are equipped with standard anti-lock brakes featuring the EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) system that optimizes rear brake power in accordance with road and load conditions, offering performance and benefits additional to the ABS. Daytime running lights also are standard equipment on all Outlander models.
Trim Lines: LS, SE, and Limited
The Outlander offers owners amazing versatility and value with a wide range of features and optional equipment. Available in front- and full-time all-wheel drive, the Outlander is available in three trim levels: LS, SE and the new Limited. The LS trim level includes multiple standard exterior features, including color-keyed door handles, gray-painted bumpers and side sills, air conditioning, a 140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, metallic-painted climate control knobs, power windows, power door locks and mirrors, rear intermittent wiper, 60/40 reclining rear seats and dual vanity mirrors. Tubular roof rack, keyless entry, cargo cover and floor mats are standard on the Outlander LS 2WD with automatic transmission and the Outlander LS AWD.
The Outlander SE improves on the LS model's exterior with such extras as a tubular roof rack with matching silver stanchions, color-keyed side mirrors, privacy glass, fog lamps and 17-inch chrome-like five-spoke alloy wheels. Distinctive silver-tone accents highlight the grille, doors, roof rack and wheels to visually enhance the vehicle's eye-catching appearance. Inside, the SE adds sporty seat fabric, heated front seats, white-faced gauges and analog clock, see-through headrests, rear privacy glass and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Also standard on the Outlander SE is a premium six-speaker, 210-watt Mitsubishi/Infinity(R) AM/FM/CD premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and MP3 playback capability.
The Outlander Limited trim level features leather seating surfaces, unique power window switch panels and center panel, unique headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and temperature readings, heated side mirrors, power sunroof, and a monochromatic fender flare and side air dam treatment. For 2006, the Limited adds automatic climate control for "set and forget" convenience.
Warranty and Manufacturing
Mitsubishi cars and sport utility vehicles are backed by a comprehensive new vehicle limited warranty that covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper for five years/60,000 miles. In addition, the powertrain is covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile limited warranty, while body panels have a seven-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion/perforation limited warranty. The program also includes 24-hour emergency roadside assistance with free towing to the nearest authorized Mitsubishi retailer for warranty-related repairs for five years/unlimited miles.