I’m going to call Mitsubishi the Rocky Balboa of the automotive industry.
Once a player, then beaten to their knees in the downturn ten years ago, Mitsubishi is trending back up these days.
So….what do you do to get your “street creds” back after being off the radar for so long?
Well, Mitsubishi appears to be following the successful formula modeled by KIA. KIA was…well, let’s be polite here and just say somewhat “disrespected” when they hit our shores some 20+ years ago….and now they are topping the J. D. Powers customer satisfaction surveys. That’s quite a hill they climbed.
They did it with a strong warranty, and an ongoing focus on quality and value.
And that looks like the road that Mitsubishi is taking today.
They’ve got a 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year 60,000 fully-transferrable general vehicle warranty, and all Mitsubishis come with a 5-year unlimited mileage roadside assistance promise…..along with a lower price than most of their competitors. If that doesn’t make you feel secure, you may have issues that we just can’t help you with.
Then there’s the Japanese build quality. While excellent vehicles from China and Mexico now compete with established US, European and Korean manufacturers, there are those among us who still value the Japanese attention to detail.
And lastly, there’s “Daddy”….aka Nissan….who now owns 40% of Mitsubishi and controls their operations here. Those are deep and knowledgeable pockets who can be expected to do what it takes to insure that Mitsubishi succeeds.
The company is going to grow. How much and how fast are the only questions.
Right now, Mitsubishi’s focus is right in synch with the American public….on crossovers and SUVs.
We got to test Mitsu’s “Momma Bear”-sized Outlander Sport. This is their two-row, 5-seater that starts with a list price just under 20K….with a stick shift and a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder that’s rated at 30 Hwy MPG. Size-wise, the Outlander Sport is within an inch in any direction of Nissan’s new Rogue Sport….a slightly-downsized two-row-only version of their best-selling vehicle. This seems to be the hottest segment on wheels today. Big enough to hold four or five in comfort, quiet enough for a cross-country trip, small enough to easily squirt through traffic….with the utility that only five doors can give.
Our test Outlander was an almost top-of-the-line “Sport”, that came with a 168 HP 2.4 liter 4-cylinder and a continuously-variable automatic, ventilated leather, paddle shifters, 18” alloys, heated folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and a 140 watt audio system. Pretty much what everyone seems to want these days, except for a moonroof.
This version of the Outlander just touched $25,000….making the jump from the base model to this well-dressed “Sport” pretty much a no-brainer.
The leather, tho’, comes only in black. All black. If you want a lighter color, you’ll need to step down to an “SE” version….go with cloth…and save around $1,500. Suggestion, Mitsubishi: Add contrasting stitching to your leather. It’ll probably cost you an additional $20 per vehicle….and make it look a good thousand more expensive.
But whichever version of the Outlander Sport that you choose, you’ll have ample room for four or five, and around 50 cu ft of space behind the rear seat. The EPA rates the 2.4 engine at 23 city and 28 highway, which is right in line with what we recorded.
Again, in keeping with Mitsubishi’s strategy of delivering value, the Outlander Sport SEL pretty much gives you close to 30K in content at a five-thousand dollar discount. Not a bad way to re-launch a brand.