If the majority of your driving is commuting solo from a downtown condo to a suburban office building, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander S-AWC isn’t for you. But if you have kids or friends and get out of town a lot, you’re looking at good value and can seat seven.
Be warned: GT S-AWCis the highest trim—adding $10k to the entry-level price. But S-AWC, which stands for Super All Wheel Control, provides engineering from the advanced class. You control it by a little button in front of the gear shifter, for Eco, Normal, Snow or Lock modes. They appear onscreen as you tap, minimizing eye-time away from the road. S-AWC delivers wheel power wherever needed, front to back, or side to side and each mode results in a discernable difference in the feel of the ride. (However, it being August, I didn’t dialed right through Snow.)
Among many other goodies, that price increase also bumps up the pep to from a 4- to a 6-cylinder engine; road grip from 2-wheel drive to the aforementioned AWC; and bum comfort from cloth to leather seating surfaces—with actual leather.
The engine emits 227hp@6,350 and torque of 215 lb-ft@3,750—good thrust. On the other hand, it takes premium gas, so get used to the adaptive cruise control. It’s another standard with this top trimline that you can get used to very fast. Another useful one for better fuel efficiency? The Idle-Neutral Logic shifts the vehicle into neutral when you brake to a complete halt—neutral burns less fuel than park. (‘What if I slide backwards on an inclination?’ When you remove your foot from the brake, it puts you back in gear. Hence the ‘logic’.) Smart.
While we’re seguing to safety, the S-AWC features forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning. LDW can get annoying quickly but easily be turned off.
Still, essentially this is about as safe as you can get without being a complete idiot. (Take it away, Toronto drivers!)
As for driving, the GT S-AWC and SE AWC, the trimline beneath (which starts at $30,998) have a 6-speed Sportronic transmission. It puts a bit of fun into an otherwise workaday ride that’s almost inevitable so far up from the ground. Paddle-shifting the Outlander increases the sensitivity to the road.
Just be sure to enjoy it in the country.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
Base Price: $25,998
GT-AWC Trimline Base Price: $35,998
As Driven: $40,178