Posted On: Jul 31st, 2014 By: Alissa Barry Tyler
What does it mean?
In Japanese, “Mitsu” means three. “Hishi” means water chestnut, but also means diamond shape. Put them all together, sort of, and Mitsubishi basically means 3 diamonds – hence the logo of three diamonds coming to a center point. Although, a logo of three water chestnuts would be cool, too.
Driving the Mitsubishi Outlander as a 5’4” woman
Ease of Entry/Exit I immediately noticed that getting in and out of the Outlander’s small SUV/Crossover frame, is as hassle-free as getting into a sedan. The last thing I want to do is jockey for position to get into the driver seat. But, the Outlander isn’t like some other SUVs where you have to mentally brace yourself, then jump up to get in and jump down to get out of the driver’s seat, after which you generally feel both a sense of disappointment and accomplishment for achieving the feat.
Seat position Making a deep “V” with the driver seat so that my butt is cradled and my knees are high is my favorite way to sit behind the wheel. This position eliminates road butt and is absolutely, positively, the most comfortable way to drive, regardless of the length of your trip. In the Outlander, the lowest setting on the driver seat, put my knees at 90 degrees to the floor, which is the highest I would want to sit behind the wheel. My coveted deep “V” position wasn’t possible for me in this car, resulting in the regrettably aforementioned road butt. For example, when I tilted the bottom seat up, my knees were too high and I couldn’t reach the pedal. Moving the bottom seat closer to the pedal to compensate, smooshed my knees against the steering wheel console, and who needs that? I returned to the original sitting position and left it at that. Sitting up straight with my knees at a proper 90 degrees made me think of proper things like putting my hair in a bun and drinking tea in fancy cups with pinkies pointedly-askew while speaking in British accents.
Forward Leaning Headrest Sans British accents, I did put my hair in a bun for work one day and noticed that this bumpy hairstyle made my neck jut-out against the safety-minded, forward-tilting headrest. When my hair was down, the headrest felt snug and comfortable against the back of my head and my neck felt fine.
Hairstyles aside, a headrest leaning forward helps prevent injuries from whiplash, so naturally this position is preferable. I wonder how practical it would be to manufacture and stow a secondary headset designed for high ponytail and bun days? Or maybe make the headset adjustable to tilt backwards for higher maintenance hair days?
Side mirrors Hurray for the side mirrors, which are nice and big, allowing tons of space to see around the blind spot area. As a naturally alert person behind the wheel, this fed my desire to see what’s going on all around me at all times. As a safety feature fan, I adore the indicator light on the side mirrors, too!
Here’s a bummer for us vertically challenged – being 5’4”my eye-line was right at the top of the driver’s side mirror, making it impossible to see over the mirror. In other words, it gave me a bit of an obstructed view, being that the mirror was right in my face. For a taller point of view, my fiancée, who is 5’11”, took the car for a spin and he had no problem with the placement of the mirror. For us shorter folks, placing mirrors a little lower is preferable. Maybe in the future, cars will have a toggle for moving the entire mirror up and down to suit whoever is driving. Super customized and stuff!
Zero ride-em-cowboy effect
Bumps and potholes are a stress-free situation with the 4-wheel independent suspension because you don’t have to brace yourself when hitting a hole. The wheel that makes contact is the only wheel that absorbs the hit. Lets face it, the ride-em-cowboy effect you get from hitting potholes in front end or rear end suspensions, gets old fast.
Paddler shifters on a small SUV
Why would an SUV need paddle shifters? Isn’t that kind of like encouraging a bull dog to wear running shoes? After commuting with the Outlander through rush hour traffic for a week, I was glad the paddles were there to keep the drive entertaining. The part of me that loves speed, is the same part of me that loved the paddle shifters. It’s not like one of those automatic shifters that upshifts for you if you space out for a second. You’ve got to do the work, pay attention and shift, and I appreciate that. Don’t treat me like I’m a suggestion behind the wheel. Let me at least, drive, you know? Mitsubishi understands that. I’ve redirected my initial scoff at the paddle shifters after experiencing that this roomy and peppy vehicle is very much a small, sporty SUV. Which makes it more of a Weimaraner wearing running shoes.
Rush hour commuting on major highway with construction
Sure, driving on Highway 36 from Denver to Boulder during rush hour can make me want to bang my head against the Outlander’s leather wrapped steering wheel. At one point, we were dead stopped in morning traffic. This gave me much needed time to look around the mess of construction in the middle of the highway, and ponder things like, I wonder how the construction workers like pooping in port-a-potties in the middle of the highway? Is it weird for them? Are they used to it? What if the door isn’t locked all the way and it flies open with traffic all around them? Do they ever think about that, or do they just go to the bathroom? I wonder if there are women workers on the job? Do they think about that? As traffic started moving again, I wondered how many other drivers were pondering the port-a-potties.
The Outlander is a small SUV/Crossover, so I took the opportunity to fold down the two back rows, stow my co-worker’s bike and take her home. Being more of a muscle car fan, I don’t ever have a huge need for folding my back seats down. Savvy SUV drivers may know that in order to fold the second row seats down, you take the headrests OFF, then pull the butt-part of the seat forward where it then moves onto the floor, then you smoosh the backrest part of the seat over everything. Not being a frequent SUV driver, I had no idea which thingie I was supposed to move first. My co-worker and I poked around and pulled some appropriate-looking levers for several minutes before I succumbed to properly looking it up in the manual. It was in this wise, all-telling book where I learned that ditching the headrest was an important first step for the entire process. Thank you manual. That’s one form of print that I don’t believe should ever be replaced digitally, is the manual.
Braking in stop-and-go traffic
The brakes on the Outlander are most excellent. My current car, a Pontiac Bonneville, has a low brake that I don’t much care for. The Outlander is quickly responsive without jolting me out of my seat from sensitivity. Creamy smooth brake pedal, that made a stress-free environment out of stop and go traffic.
4-door small SUV
Push button start
Rearview camera – shows alignment of sides of vehicle, weee!
Premium Package stereo – 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system w/ 9 speakers and subwoofer. In other words, it’s a damn party up in here.
Eco system mode
Lane Departure Warning – drifting off course? Beep beep your way back to lanehood.
26 mpg combined city/hwy
6.1 inch touch screen intuitivity*. I couldn’t figure out how to program a route on the nav system. I’m familiar with how the Garman GPS works, but I couldn’t figure this one out. Insert manual reference here.
(*Intuitivity isn’t a word. I just like to say it sometimes.)
WHAT: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE SUV
ENGINE: V6, All wheel drive
LIFESTYLE: Great for active types hauling a combination of people and gear, who don’t want bulky feeling of a mini van or larger SUV