The brand new Mitsubishi Outlander is introduced in 2003 with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It's less powerful than many of its competitors with 140 horsepower and 157 lb-ft of torque. With these numbers and just four cylinders, it's not clear that the engine could power through truly rough off-road terrain. The transmission is very responsive, but the sport-shift gate seems wasted with only four-cylinders. The unibody construction is a hit, however, making the car less noisy than similar models and with better body rigidity. The cabin is particularly comfortable with soft sturdy seats and lots of legroom, and the controls are both ergonomic and attractive with plenty of front seat storage. There are extras like cruise control and power windows and locks as standard. The XLS offers some very nice additional standard and optional features including keyless entry and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Particularly attractive are the reclining back seats and a fold-down rear arm rest with built-in cup holders. The exterior is striking with 16-inch wheels as standard, and upgrades like roof rails and a rear-spoiler add to the attractive appearance.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic with auto-manual gate
Models: Mitsubishi Outlander LS, Mitsubishi Outlander XLS
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander debuts as an all-new model.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander features a unibody structure with added reinforcements that keep out a lot of noise and increases body rigidity. The LS model has 16-inch wheels, and the XLS has alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and an optional sunroof. The look is striking, particularly with the added roof-rails and rear spoiler.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander LS has power windows, mirrors and locks, air-conditioning, and a CD player. The XLS has keyless entry, cloth upholstery, white-faced gauges, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Leather upholstery and seat heaters are optional on the XLS model. The XLS can be upgraded with a Mitsubishi/Infinity sound system, while both models have cruise control and tilt steering wheel. The LS offers an upgrade of keyless entry, roof rails, floor mats and cargo cover, and another package that adds tinted windows and alloy wheels.
Overall, The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander is well designed and ergonomic. The seats are very comfortable and the view from the driver’s side is excellent. There is plenty of legroom for adults in the front and back seats, and the high roof means no headroom problems. In fact, the back seat is very comfortable with its 60/40 split, reclining backrest, and flip-down center console with cup holders. The storage seems a little small, however, compared to its competitors like the Forester.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander comes in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models and both have the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The engine has ample power for city driving, but it seems to lose pace at around 70 mph. The torque is much better at about 2500 rpms when merging onto the highway. The handling is adequate but not that responsive. The braking distances are long, particularly without the optional ABS. Whether taking corners in the city or tackling something off-road, the independent suspension performs well. The all-wheel-drive models use a fully automatic center differential that splits power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels under normal conditions. It then automatically redirects power to those wheels with the most traction when driven in slippery conditions.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander's unibody construction adds to body rigidity. Meanwhile, a fully automatic center differential on the four-wheel-drive models shifts power to the wheels with the extra traction improving safety in slippery conditions. Front airbags are standard on both models, and side airbags are optional on the XLS. Also optional on the XLS is ABS and keyless entry.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mitsubishi Outlander two-wheel drive: 21/26 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Outlander four-wheel drive: 20/25 mpg city/highway
- Attractive, comfortable, and ergonomic interior
- Amazingly quiet cabin
You Won't Like
- High speed passing is mediocre
- Both models have slow braking time even with the ABS
For consumers who want extra storage with traction on slippery roads.
If You Like This Vehicle
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- Subaru Forester
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