Since it debuted for 2003, the Mitsubishi Outlander has done a good job of blending both versatility and sportiness, within a very competitive compact crossover class. But Outlander continues to evolve, with the new 2010 Outlander GT. A still useful all-wheel driver, it’s now infused with a bit of the brand’s road rally character. But does that make sense? Well, let’s take a turn behind the wheel and find out.

While all Mitsubishi Outlanders get a new front end for 2010, the influence of Lancer Evolution road rally cars on the GT starts with a totally blacked-out trapezoidal grille, narrow Evo Ten-style bi-xenon HID headlights, and large foglights in the bumpers. Side sills feature an eye-catching silver strip that visually lowers the GT’s stance, though height is unchanged. Low profile tires on 18-inch alloy wheels add to that impression.

The GT shares its 3.0-liter V6 with the Outlander XLS, good for 230 horsepower, a bump of 10 from last year, and 215 pound feet of torque. A six-speed ‘Sportronic’ is the lone transmission. In Drive, shifts are smooth. Select manual-mode, or start flipping the column-mounted paddles, and shifts come crisp and quick. This particular drivetrain is a good fit for the Outlander, but it’s the GT’s rally-inspired Super All-Wheel Control system—S-AWC for short—that makes it exceptionally sure-footed.

S-AWC adds an active front differential to the Outlander's all-wheel drive, and electronically connects with the yaw, stability, and ABS controls to best distribute torque around the vehicle. Three modes - Tarmac, Snow, and Lock - can be selected by a dial on the center console.

At our track, the Outlander GT's rally traction went to work, scooting to 60 in seven seconds flat... fast for a compact crossover... and through the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. The V6 seemed a little overwhelmed by almost two tons of Outlander at first, but once underway, power was plentiful and shifts were well spaced.

In our slalom, the Outlander's advanced all-wheel drive delivered some fancy footwork. The active front diff directs torque to the outside wheel to quicken turn-ins, while the center differential shoots a bit to the rear axle. The over all feel is nimble and light. But, with a crossover's high center of gravity and heft, and despite the GT's lightweight aluminum roof panel, body roll is abundant, detracting from an otherwise spirited driving experience.

Brakes could improve. The pedal was soft and mushy, with an on/off feel. Fade also was an issue, as our 135 foot average from 60 to 0 left us somewhat disappointed. Still, out on the open tarmac, the Outlander GT was a better blend. Except for a little bump hop, it is quite civilized for such a steroidal crossover. And the GT's Hill Start Assist comes in handy on steep grades.

The GT is configured for seven in three rows. Outlander interior design is familiar, but now with softer, more upscale materials and French-stitching on the dash and optional heated leather seats. The handsome dash includes motorcycle-style gauge housings, with a new center color LCD display.

The GT adds aluminum pedals, a beefy three spoke steering wheel with redundant controls, and our tester came with optional hard drive navigation system with back-up camera. Rockford-Fosgate provided the GT's 710-watt sound system, including a thumping 10-inch subwoofer.

The 60/40 split second row, also trimmed in leather, reclines and slides, so legroom and comfort are not issues. The Outlander's small third-row jumpseat isn't very easy to get to, so when not in use, it folds and tumbles flat into the floor, allowing 36.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

Fold the second row for 72.6 cubic feet of cargo volume, more than the Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-7. Plus the split hatch, with a segment exclusive tailgate, makes for even easier loading.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18 city, 24 highway, both up one over last year. We managed a decent 22.1 mpg on Premium gas. The GT's Energy Impact Score of 17.1 annual barrels of oil, and its 9.2-ton Carbon Footprint, are also improved and compares well to other compact crossovers.

The 2010 Outlander GT's sticker starts at $30,015. Ours came to $33,015 with leather and navigation. The 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander has evolved, even if the GT is not a rally-bred Evolution crossover. And that makes sense to us. The extra road-holding talents of S-AWC are welcomed, making the GT a most entertaining compact crossover. So the new GT just makes the already versatile, responsive Outlander lineup, that much more appealing.


  • Engine: 3.0-Liter V6
  • Horsepower: 230
  • Torque: 215 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 7.0 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.5 Seconds @ 92 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 135 Feet
  • EPA: 18 MPG City/ 24 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 22.1 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 17.1 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 9.2 Tons/Yr