This edition of the Drivetime Road Test has us looking at what could be the most underrated SUV out there today… the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S with Super All-Wheel Control. It is real easy to overlook the Mitsubishi…the style hasn’t changed in a number of years, the company really does not do much advertising amid rumors that they may pull a Suzuki and stop bringing cars to the U.S. (they say that they are here for the long haul) and it doesn’t have a lot of the high tech bells and whistles that today’s modern  SUV has but the Outlander was a pretty darn good SUV in many ways when I reviewed last in 2010 and they have only made improvements to it.

The aggressive front grille is still there that sets it apart along with it’s cats eyes headlamp treatment make a clean attractive front end. From the side the Outlander has muscular wheel wells a lot of glass and an upswept rear quarter glass that gives it a sporty looking stance and a less slabby look. It also has a cool feature…a real rear tailgate. It splits 70/30 and the lower half is a real tailgate that you can sit on. Imagine that!

Inside the interior is nicely appointed with quality materials but somewhat plain…again is that a bad thing? Gauges are easy to read and the center information system kept you right on top of vehicle functions as well as what drive configuration you have the vehicle in. The nav system also has Bluetooth and simple amenities.  Seats were comfortable but the rear seat is just short of useless unless you are a small small person. Drop the rear seats and you get 72.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Big!

Under the hood the GT models boast a 230-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6  coupled to a 6 speed automatic that is quite peppy. The GT comes with shift paddles as well and they throw a fun factor into the driving. The engine is more than ample to supply power going up through the mountains as well as kicking it into passing gear and moving out around that trailer combo you are trying to pass on that mountain road. 0 to 60 times 8.3 seconds

The GT also gets the all-wheel drive system that is in the Evo and Ralliart models with a driver controlled traction program that gives you the choice between Tarmac, Snow, and Lock modes. It’s a solid well -heeled system that delivers an almost uninterrupted flow of torque around tight corners. It is also one of the better handling crossover suv’s out there with a sure footed road feel even in less than good weather conditions.

The 2013 Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC I drove stickered at $33,920 pretty loaded and EPA figures  rate it at 19 city 25 highway mpg with a combined of 21 miles per gallon. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Outlander G Grades on front and side crash tests but just an A for acceptable for roof strength.

The Mitsubishi Outlander GT was a real surprise. Although the design is long in the tooth it is not so outdated looks wise that you look out of place driving it. It carries itself well and when you take into account that it is one of the better driving and handling haulers out there it deserves a look and not an automatic cross off of your list. Do you always have to change something if it is good?

NOTE: A redesigned 2014 Outlander was premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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Reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Newsradio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.

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