Bottom line: It would have been a different story had the Outlander in question been a GT equipped with Mitsubishi’s 3-liter gasoline V-6, which delivers 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy would have dropped from a combined city-and-highway rating of 27 miles per gallon for the four-cylinder engine to 23 mpg for the V-6. But when you’re coughing anyway, you want a vehicle in hand with some zoom to mentally compensate for your infirmity.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Decent marks in all areas, especially for handling in foul weather. Hot-rod enthusiasts need not apply.
Head-turning quotient: “Aggressively homely” stays with me. It isn’t ugly. But it doesn’t work at being pretty.
Body style/layout: The new Outlander, in standard form, is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive compact crossover-utility vehicle designed for urban hauling of people and their stuff. It is available with all-wheel drive — recommended for people in snowy areas or who plan to do some modest off-road driving. There are three trim levels — base ES, mid-grade SE and upscale GT.
Engine/transmissions: The Outlander 2.4 SE S-AWC gets a 2.4-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing (166 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque) linked to a continuously variable transmission. GT models get a 3-liter, 24-valve gasoline V-6 with variable valve timing linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that can be operated manually.
Capacities: Seats seven people. Rear seats are adequate for small people only. Maximum cargo space is 63.3 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.6 gallons (regular-grade gasoline is recommended).
Mileage: Driving mostly on highways through Virginia and West Virginia, carrying no passengers and about 125 pounds of cargo, I averaged 26 miles per gallon.
Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.
Optional safety equipment: Collision, lane-departure, blind-spot and rear-parking warning systems are available.
Pricing: The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 SE starts at $25,795 with a dealer invoice price of $24,706. Price as tested is $32,295, including $5,470 in options and an $825 factory-to-dealer transportation charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $30,578.