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(Guy Spangenberg)
(Guy Spangenberg)

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

Price was right for well-appointed sport-ute Add to ...

In 2007, Mitsubishi introduced its second-generation Outlander, which was, at the time, the most affordable six-cylinder Japanese SUV sold in Canada.

Built on the same platform as the Lancer and Sportback, the '07 Outlander came in two trim levels: LS and XLS. Both were powered by a 3.0-litre V-6 engine that utilized Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve timing feature and developed 220 horsepower and 204 lb-ft of torque. One transmission was available: a six-speed automatic, which, on the XLS model, featured steering-wheel-mounted paddles, as well as a floor shifter.

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The entry-level LS could be had with front-wheel 2WD only, but both models were also offered with 4WD. This particular 4WD system was called All Wheel Control (AWC) by Mitsubishi and was accessed via a floor-console-mounted dial. The 4WD mode is actually an all-wheel-drive arrangement, with power being electronically directed to the back wheels as needed, while the "Lock" mode distributes torque and engine power evenly between front and back wheels when things get nasty. Although, like the vast majority of compact SUVs, it's probably seen most of its duty in an urban environment, this was one sport-ute that really could be taken off-road.

Like all good urban vehicles, the new Outlander offered fairly abundant storage room. Fold down all the seats and you got 2,056 litres of total storage space. That was about par for this vehicle segment and compared to the Honda CR-V's 2,064 litres and the Hyundai Santa Fe's 2,213-litre capacity.

It also had a nifty little arrangement in the form of the "Flap-Fold Tailgate." When the bottom section of the rear door is dropped down, it reveals a completely flat floor and a fold-out tailgate similar to that found on a pickup truck. You can roll things like bicycles and heavy cargo straight into the vehicle or sit/stand on the back tailgate. And if you want to carry seven people, there's a "temporary" third-row seat that folds up out of the floor to carry two additional passengers. This feature was only available on the XLS model.

For its under-$26,000 starting price, the Outlander came well-dressed. Standard equipment included air conditioning, power windows, door and central locking; cruise control; antilock brakes, tire-pressure monitoring system and, for some reason, an odour-absorbing fabric headliner.

Options included leather interior, heated front seats, climate control system, hands-free Bluetooth capability, larger 18-inch wheels and tires and a hard-drive navi system. This last feature was part of the XLS' optional HDD Navigation/Entertainment package.

Just one safety recall to report from Transport Canada. It goes like this: if you have a vehicle not equipped with power front seats, the wiring harness put in place for those that do can short out if the carpet covering it gets wet from prolonged exposure to snowy/salty boots in the winter. This can, in turn, possibly cause a fire. Dealers will fix this, no charge, of course.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has this glitch on file, too, as well as a recall affecting a possibly flawed rear brake light. NHTSA also has 13 technical service bulletins for this vintage of Outlander, ranging from a balky gearshift lever that may not want to come out of Park, to a rough idle, to a hesitant engine, to an inefficient heater.

The 2007 Outlander earns a "better-than-average" report card from Consumer Reports. With the exception of some paint and exterior trim issues and assorted squeaks and rattles, it's good marks all the way, earning a "Good Bet" rating from this organization. Mostly positive reviews from owners, as well. Comments include: "Doesn't hold resale value like Toyota or Honda," "Second-row seats should be more comfortable," and "Lots of bang for the buck, better warranty than Honda, Toyota, etc."

Not a lot of love from market research firm J.D. Power, though. This generation of the Outlander gets "about-average" or below ratings in every category, garnering an overall below-average vehicle dependability grade from this group.

Expect to pay anywhere from the low teens to the low $20,000 range for a three-year-old Outlander, depending upon trim level; 4WD drive models typically go for around $1,000 more than their front-drive counterparts.

globedrive@globeandmail.com

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

Original Base Price: $25,498; Black Book Value: $16,425-$20,375; Red Book Value: $13,325-$16,175

Engines: 3.0-litre V-6

Horsepower/Torque: 220 hp/204 lb-ft

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel/four-wheel

Fuel Economy (litres per 100 km): 12.0 city/8.1 highway (FWD model); regular gas

Alternatives: Hyundai Santa Fe, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-7, Ford Edge, Nissan XTerra, Subaru Outback, Honda CR-V, Jeep Liberty

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