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The 2016 Highlander SEL is well worth a look

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 9/1/2015 Jon

I had done my research and test drove a few of the SUV's that I thought were worth my consideration and at first, Mitsubishi was not on my list. I've heard nothing but unkind things about the Outlander and Mitsubishi in general to even think about looking at them, but I'm glad I did. My list of vehicles were as follows: Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Buick Encore and even the Kia Soul. As you can see, the Outlander wasn't on my list. I just happened across an article while doing my research that mentioned the Mitsubishi had made over 100 updates to the 2016 model. My first thought was, "Of course they did, they had to to try and keep relevant in the market." So that made me go ahead and look into it. The reviews I came across were very mixed, some good some bad and some in between. So the only way to tell would be to go take a test drive and see it in person. At this point I had already test drove all the other vehicles on my list. A big plus for any of these vehicles was if they offered adaptive cruise control, backup camera, lane departure warning, blind spot alert and brake assist. Only a couple of these features could be found in any one of these vehicles and some had none of them or just a back up camera. All of the vehicles on my list are worthy of purchasing, but some more than others. They each had their own pluses and minuses, but when I had calculated features, comfort, mileage and price the Outlander came out as the victor. The Outlander didn't hit all the top marks, but it hit most of them and was never at the bottom of my scorecard. I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I really like the looks of the 2016 Outlander. The front grill is ok, but the rest of the vehicle to me is very well done. The Outlander as stated, did't hit the high marks on most of my list, but overall scored best. For exterior styling, I give it a 8 of 10, the interior has been upgraded, but still not going to blow you away, but it does well in my comparison test and I score it a 7 of 10. One of the places it did score high with me, was how you fold the seats down to extend the cargo space. It can't get any easier and all the seats (3rd row included) fold very flat for easy loading of whatever you need to load. The features that are available on the Outlander SEL level are great. Mitsubishi is one of very few car makers that have separated the safety tech you can buy from the sound/sunroof packages most cars bundle now. The 3 packages they offer are:Premium Package $1900-inc: SEL , Power Glass Sunroof, Power Remote Tailgate, Power Folding Side View Mirrors, Front Windshield Wiper De-Icer, Radio: AM/FM Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System 710-watt, 9 speakers, FUSE Handsfree Link system w/USB port, 6.1 inch touch panel display and SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month subscriptionSafety Package $1550-inc: SEL , Adaptive Cruise Control, Power Folding Side View Mirrors, Front Windshield Wiper De-Icer, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, Auto Headlamp Control, Rain Sensing WipersTouring Package $5,250-inc: SEL , Adaptive Cruise Control, Power Glass Sunroof, Power Remote Tailgate, Power Folding Side View Mirrors, Front Windshield Wiper De-Icer, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, Radio: AM/FM Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System 710-watt, 9 speakers, FUSE Handsfree Link system w/USB port, 6.1 inch touch panel display and SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month subscription, MMCS Navigation System, 2 annual Mapcare updates (replaces audio head unit), Auto Headlamp Control, Rain Sensing WipersI really only wanted the safety package, I use my phone for GPS and Music and I don't care for a sunroof, but of course since these cars are just rolling out, they didn't have one with only the safety package. So I got the fully loaded Touring Package, but I negotiated the $5,200 package down to $2,500. I will admit I do like the hands free tailgate feature that I wouldn't of had had I only bought the safety package.The Outlander drives well for its size. It won't win any races, but it moves along just fine. The 4 cylinder is pretty smooth considering it has a CVT (not a huge fan of them...yet) and it does have a "Sport" setting which holds the gears to a higher RPM, but I don't use it much. I've just turned the 1000 mile mark (I've owned it for two weeks) and I'm averaging about 27/28 mpg, not too bad for this size of vehicle. The cabin is quiet enough, I'd give it a 7 of 10 and the sound system once set up is a 8 of 10. The adaptive cruise control is excellent, 10 of 10 and the other tech all works well too. I really enjoy the comfort of the drivers seat although it lacks a lumbar support setting. Also, for a vehicle in this price range, I'd expect the passenger side seat to also be electric but it's not. Another thing that I would of added was heated and cooled seats, but you can only get heated.

Average Rating : 4

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